Seek Road Redesign

CB 6 Eyes Qns. Blvd. Study

Community Board 6 members voted at its meeting last Wednesday, May 14, in Kew Gardens to ask the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) for a feasibility study on redesigning Queens Boulevard.

City Council Member Karen Koslowitz with Community Board 6 Chairperson Joseph Hennessy after being presented with a Whitepot Award at last Wednesday’s, May 17 Community Board 6 meeting.

John Dereszewski, chairperson of the Board 6 Transportation Committee gave the committee report to the full board that covered a recommendation from Department of Transportation (DOT) officials to eliminate northbound left turns at the intersection of Queens and Yellowstone boulevards, deemed “dangerous,” and a possible bus-only lane for Woodhaven Boulevard. No vote was taken on these measures.

The entire board also heard recommendations from the committee to approve provisions asking the DOT to conduct a study on the feasibility of redesigning Queens Boulevard, which were later voted on, and approved by the board.

The recommendations was based on reaction from a public hearing Board 6 held at its April meeting regarding potential changes to the thoroughfare.

For years, Queens Boulevard has been dubbed the “Boulevard of Death” in some circles because of its history of pedestrian fatalities, the last one occurring on May 3, just blocks away from where the board met last Wednesday. Chairperson Joseph Hennessy stated the road is a concern for every community board and all of Queens. Redesigning it along stretches in Forest Hills remains an issue for Board 6, he said.

The vote to approve the committees recommendations on Queens Boulevard meant the board is asking the city to conduct more safety and redesign studies for the road.

“Basically, this is saying to the city, basically Queens boulevard is an issue,” Hennessy said.

And a vote to approve the recommendations would let the city know board six is aware of the safety issues on the boulevard and that they realize “this is a serious problem, this is something we need to look at,” he added.

The entire board then voted on the committee’s resolution asking DOT to conduct a study on the feasibility of a redesign. The board also voted to approve a resolution to have DOT involve Board 6 in the planning and redesign of Queens Boulevard, should that ever happen. Both recommendations passed, but not without some debate from board member Chris Collett.

Collett stated he is concerned a comprehensive redesign could cause major problems on other streets, as Queens Boulevard is a major thoroughfare in the heart of so many Queens neighborhoods.

Collett mentioned some possible unintended consequences a redesign project would cause, and questioned if it was worth the headaches that will inevitably come.

Collett did vote to approve the recommendation, but believes Queens Boulevard should not be viewed in a vacuum, but in a larger holistic, context of traffic that affects almost all of Queens.

In his report, Dereszewski said he also met with DOT officials about possibly installing a bus-only lane on Woodhaven Boulevard, but nothing was decided. “It’s something, again we are looking at,” he said.

Whitepots awarded

At last Wednesday’s meeting, the board gave out Whitepot Awards to the 112th Precinct and City Council Member Karen Koslowitz.

“I’ve never met person so committed to the community. We’re very fortunate,” Hennessy said before awarding Koslowitz.

“I don’t think she sleeps well if there is a problem in the community, he said.

“She’s totally committed to the communities of Forest Hills and Rego Park. This woman is an exceptional woman,” Hennessy added.

“I get an award for something I love to do. I love what I do, I love my job, and I owe it to the people that work with me. I will continue to do the work of the people,” Koslowitz said upon receiving the award.

Capt. Thomas Conforti, commander of the 112th Precinct, was also honored with a White Pot Award for his service to the community.

“I love coming to he meetings to find out what the real issues are,” he said “Nothing replaces hearing from residents mouths to my ears.’

“I really do appreciate it and I want to thank everybody.”

Lt. Brian Goldberg of the 112th was also awarded. English settlers bought the land which is now Forest Hills from Native American tribes in exchange for three white clay pots, and the awards are named in this tradition.

The next Community Board 6 meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Jun 11, at 80-02 Kew Gardens Road, in Suite 202. Meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call the board at 1-718-263-9250.

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