The Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing to convert a number of two-way streets to one-way traffic operations in the Myrtle Avenue area, as presented to Community Board 5 during its monthly meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
The proposed changes would see 60 lanes converted to a one-way northbound operation from Cooper Avenue to 75th Avenue; 75th Avenue to a one-way eastbound operation from 60th Lane to 64th Street; 64th Street to a one-way southbound operation from 75th Avenue to Cooper Avenue; and 64th Place to a one-way northbound operation from Cooper Avenue to Cypress Hills Street.
The community board, on behalf of residents living on 64th Street and 64th Place, requested both streets be converted to one-way traffic operations in December 2021. It also requested that the DOT study the areas bounded by Myrtle Avenue to the north, Cypress Hills Street to the east, Cooper Avenue to the south and 60th Lane to the west for potential area-wide traffic direction changes.
Between January and June of this year, the DOT conducted field operations, collected traffic volumes and reviewed crash data.
The study found that many of the streets were narrow two-way residential streets with parking on both sides, resulting in some vehicles having to pull over to allow oncoming traffic to pass, especially in the case of buses or trucks. There was also potential for sideswipes of both moving and parked cars and the study also found that cars were being partially parked on sidewalks to avoid sideswipes.
The community board received a number of statements from residents of the area in support of the proposed changes.
Adam Suffern, a 64th Street resident, wrote that he supported the conversion of the streets into one-way operations.
“This will eliminate more than 80% of the unnecessary traffic that comes down to our dead-end block,” Suffern wrote. “This conversion will also eliminate all the accidents caused by sideswiping, and broken mirrors, as it is a tight two-way street.”
John W. Taylor, a 64th Street resident for 35 years, wrote that while he supported some of the proposed changes, he would like to see 75th Avenue kept as a two-way operation because, in the case of emergency, there would be another way out for emergency vehicles.
Christian Wittman, a 64th Place resident for 49 years, wrote that the conversion would improve working conditions for sanitation workers in the area, who are often obstructed by the parked vehicles.
“The changes will help reduce traffic and improve safety on my street,” Wittman said. “It will also let sanitation vehicles and workers pass through and do their work without damage to parked vehicles which are often sideswiped.”
There were some concerns from community board members.
Margaret O’Kane asked how will the bus routes would be affected by the changes. Eric Butkiewicz, from the community board’s transit committee, said that O’Kane’s concern was valid and one that was shared by others on the committee.
Butkiewicz said that the transit committee wanted to wait until after the public hearing to share its judgement.