Streets surrounding two Whitestone schools will see some long-awaited traffic changes soon.
The following neighborhood streets around JHS 194 and Saint Luke’s School will undergo one-way conversions:
- 17th Avenue from Clintonville Street to Francis Lewis Boulevard
- 17th Road from 157th Street to Clintonville Street
- 157th Street from 16th Road to 17th Road
- 154th Street from Clintonville Street onto 17th Avenue
At their February meeting, Community Board 7 voted overwhelmingly in favor of the traffic flow changes proposed by the city Department of Transportation (DOT), with the exception of a proposal to completely close the 154th Street slip at 17th Avenue.
Members said the school and the surrounding residential community has been waiting years for relief. According to Transportation Committee Chair Nick Corrado, constituents reached out to Councilman Paul Vallone’s office about traffic concerns in the area. The lawmaker then reached out to DOT, which agreed to perform a study.
The narrow width of 17th Avenue makes it difficult for two opposing vehicles to pass each other, city officials said. School drop-off and pick-up conditions were another noted concern.
DOT recommended the changes on the grounds they would “improve safety and traffic conditions in the area.”
“It’s a huge concern for the safety of the kids. That’s basically what we’re talking about here,” Corrado said. “The school’s been waiting for this a long time.”
A total of 149 surveys were mailed out to residents in the surrounding area, with 21 replying in favor and four not in favor. The board received no response from the remaining residents.
“Honestly, the committee does not feel that people can’t get around and get to their house,” he said of the new configuration.
Residents who responded to the board also noted that truck traffic in the area is an issue.
“The trucks that are coming off Francis Lewis Boulevard now are not going to be able to turn in and have as much access,” Corrado said. “This is actually going to stop that, too.”