Queens officials back residents’ call for a traffic study of Penelope Avenue in Middle Village to combat Waze-driven traffic woes

Photos courtesy of Google Maps, Paul Frangipane and QNS

An 80-person petition calling for a traffic study of Penelope Avenue in Middle Village is gaining support from Queens elected officials after residents say the Waze mobile app is the cause for a dangerous increase in traffic along that stretch and in the neighborhood.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. and Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi penned a letter to the Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez on Jan. 8, calling for a review of the traffic conditions on Penelope Avenue based on the complaints from Middle Village residents.

In their letter, the Queens elected officials say the narrow two-way street is being overly used as an alternative route by drivers using the Waze app to avoid the normally busy roads of Juniper Valley Boulevard and Metropolitan Avenue.

The issue has progressed to the point where the Queens Borough President chimed in on the matter.

“The recent influx of traffic along Penelope Avenue is extremely concerning and is a serious potential safety hazard,” says Richards.

The Queens lawmakers, in their letter, say intervention from the DOT could ensure the traffic safety issue is solved with a permanent change to the avenue.

The call for action from lawmakers comes after their offices were presented with a petition signed by more than 80 Middle Village residents, requesting Penelope Avenue change from a 2-way street, into a one-way road, with traffic directed westbound towards 69th Place.

Addabbo urges the DOT and Waze to take residents’ concerns seriously and work toward finding a solution in the joint letter.

“Converting Penelope Avenue from a 2-way street to a one-way road with traffic directed westbound towards 69th Place could help alleviate the current issues, and work towards preventing possible future, accidents or fatalities instead of reacting to them,” Addabbo said.

In addition to the DOT request, Hevesi’s office also requested Waze review the route patterns that continue to direct traffic to Penelope Avenue.

“Just because a road can accommodate two-way traffic, doesn’t mean it should be treated as a thruway – especially when it’s tightly lined with parked cars and family homes,” said Hevesi. “If traffic is being routed as we’re told, Waze should correct it as quickly as possible.”

The DOT says the request from Queens elected officials are being reviewed.

QNS has reached out to Waze for comment and awaits a response.