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Updated on April 9 at 4:15 p.m.

The Lindenwood Triangle in Howard Beach may soon be getting the safety upgrades that local residents have spent years lobbying for after the Department of Transportation (DOT) recently presented its plans for the intersection to local representatives.

The DOT held a stakeholders’ meeting on April 5 and explained that it plans to turn the dangerous triangle into a mini roundabout to reduce speeding and shorten pedestrian crossings. According to Joann Ariola, president of the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association, the project is at least six years in the making and she was very impressed with the DOT’s plan.

Every suggestion we gave was utilized,” Ariola said. “They really took the community into account when planning this, and everyone agreed and applauded what DOT designed.”

As presently designed, the three-way intersection has soft turns that allow drivers to speed through. Combine that with a single crosswalk in the intersection that is 90 feet long and it’s only a matter of time until a pedestrian gets struck, Ariola said.

In fact, she noted, there have been multiple accidents at the intersection and it is the street most utilized by children heading to P.S. 232. The DOT put up new signage in the past to see if it would help drivers be more cautious, but Ariola said the signs would get run down on a weekly basis.

“We would rather it be the signs than a pedestrian, but we knew that was coming next,” Ariola said.

Image courtesy of Joann Ariola

Image courtesy of Joann Ariola

The plan to add a mini roundabout to the middle of the intersection would calm traffic on all approaches to the intersection, reduce speeding by narrowing the travel lanes with painted parking lanes and flush medians and create crosswalks on all three sides of the intersection that are no more than 38 feet long, according to the presentation.

There will also be painted “refuge islands,” curb extensions, yield signs and pedestrian warning signs installed at all entrances to the roundabout, and there will only be a net loss of two parking spaces.

The best part about the design, Ariola said, is that the DOT plans to install it as a pilot program for the first six months. In other words, the initial design will be subject to changes based on observations of what’s working and what’s not.

Once some adjustments are made if necessary, Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilman Eric Ulrich will put up the funding to make the changes permanent, Ariola said.

Image courtesy of Joann Ariola

Image courtesy of Joann Ariola

Community Board 10 has already unanimously voted in favor of sending a letter of approval for the project, but Ariola said the presentation will be given at a Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic meeting as soon as DOT representatives can schedule a visit. The next step in the process for the DOT is deciding what material to use for the circle at the center of the roundabout, Ariola said.

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, whom Ariola said joined in the fight to make the intersection safer as soon as she took office, was also pleased with the DOT’s plan, she said.

“The proposed changes coming to the Lindenwood Triangle are well over due and will go a long way in improving safety and quality of life for everyone,” said Pheffer Amato in a statement. “I was impressed by DOT’s innovative ideas and would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and dedication in working to make this a reality!”

According to Ariola, the DOT has said the pilot project can be completed in September 2018 before school starts.


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