By Bill Parry
One of the most dangerous streets in Long Island City will begin to change July 7.
The city Department of Transportation will start a project that will change 5th Street into a one-way road, following a year and a half of complaints from elected officials and residents.
“The DOT analyzed 5th Street between 46th Road and 50th Avenue for conversion to one-way southbound traffic and found it feasible,” spokesman Nicholas Mosquera said. “This will be completed in early July, weather permitting. The agency also found speed bumps on the corridor to be feasible, and these will be implemented in the summer.”
The news follows years of town hall meetings and community board pressure.
“Fifth Street in Long Island City has been plagued with reckless driving and speeding for far too long,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said. “Improving traffic safety for the residents of the 26th District continues to be a top priority for my office. I am proud to have fought for these much-needed improvements. The one-way conversion and addition of speed bumps along 5th Street will make this residential strip safer for all local residents, families and children who live in Long Island City.”
Fifth Street is a narrow road, and when cars are parked along both sides, there is only 16 to 18 feet of clearance for two-way traffic.
“It’s been a long time coming,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said. “It speaks to how rapidly Hunters Point is growing, but our traffic infrastructure is not keeping up with the rapid development and the influx of new people.”
The senator added that he would like to see the DOT introduce traffic safety measures on Center Boulevard next. Earlier this month, the two leaders led a rally of 250 residents where children drew their own crosswalk with chalk on the dangerous stretch of road that runs beside the luxury high-rise apartment buildings and the waterfront parks along the East River.
A recent NYPD Motor Vehicle Collision Report found Center Boulevard experienced five serious vehicular collisions during the first four months of the year.
“What we really need here is a comprehensive study for all of Hunters Point,” Gianaris said. “This is a grid that was set up years ago, long before all these buildings went up and the population grew so rapidly. We need several of these streets redone with traffic calming measures. Most importantly, we need traffic that flows safely.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.