The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is in the process of approving an Open Street in Middle Village, which would close a block outside The Lorraine Tuzzo Juniper Elementary School to vehicle access and parking for a large part of the day.
The Open Street would shut down 65th Drive from 69th Place to 70th Street.
In a letter to Queens Community Board 5, the DOT stated that the Open Street would operate from 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. on weekdays to promote safer pick-ups and drop-offs for students at PS/IS 128Q.
“We’re proud to continue building on this program with more locations, and we look forward to reviewing community feedback,” said DOT spokesperson Vincent Barone.
The department’s website states that the Open Streets program allows for “a range of activities that promote economic development, support schools, and provide new ways for New Yorkers to enjoy cultural programming and build community.”
As this proposed Open Street is intended to support drop-off and pick-up operations, it is unclear why it would be in operation for a large part of the day, closing the block off to vehicle access and parking for residents.
Gary Giordano, the district manager of Community Board 5, said that this was not at the request of Juniper Valley Elementary School.
“It was confirmed to me that the school only requested that the street be closed from 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. to facilitate drop-offs and between 2 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. for collections,” Giordano said.
Giordano received this confirmation from Albert Silvestri, the Queens deputy borough commissioner at the DOT.
Barone contradicted the letter sent to Community Board 5, as he told QNS that the Open Street “would be in operation during arrival and dismissal hours, with typical vehicular access during all other periods.”
The public review process for this Open Street is ongoing through the end of the month, by which time Community Board 5 can offer any comments to the Department ahead of its launch.