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Front Page July 19, 2012  RSS feed

SPLIT ON ONE- WAY

Glendale Plan Debated At Board 5 Meet
by Robert Pozarycki

Glendale residents were divided on whether to switch directions of a busy one-way street in their neighborhood during a public hearing held by Community Board 5 at their meeting last Wednesday night, July 11, at Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village.

Dozens of individuals turned out to hear and comment on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plan to convert a one-block section of Doran Avenue between Woodhaven Boulevard and 89th Avenue from a one-way westbound to a one-way eastbound. As explained by Maura McCarthy, the DOT’s Queens borough commissioner, the change was being considered based on concerns raised by residents of the block re- garding speeding traffic.

While many Doran Avenue residents were in favor of the plan, claiming that it would help reduce the number of accidents and increase the safety of their block, a host of neighbors from other nearby streets expressed concern that the change would add more traffic and vehicular hazards to their block.

Based on the comments raised at last Wednesday’s session, Board 5’s Transportation and Public Transit committees at their meeting on Tuesday night, July 17, recommended denial of the proposed one-way conversion on Doran Avenue and urged the DOT to consider other methods of controlling traffic, such as installing a stop sign at the corner of Doran Avenue and 89th Street.

Full details about the meeting will be featured in next week’s issue of the Times Newsweekly.

McCarthy stated that the one-way change was the result of a study of traffic conducted by the DOT of streets in an area of eastern Glendale bounded on the north by Doran Avenue, the south by 75th Avenue, the east by Woodhaven Boulevard and the west by 88th Street. The study was launched at the request of Board 5 and City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley after residents in the area requested speed bumps or other traffic control devices to slow down traffic in the area.

In its review, McCarthy said, the DOT confirmed that speeding has been a regular problem along Doran Avenue, which is a one-way westbound from Woodhaven Boulevard to 88th Street. On average, vehicles were traveling at 32 mph, two miles over the posted speed limit.

The DOT had considered installing a speed bump along the stretch of Doran Avenue, but no suitable location could be found, according to the borough commissioner. She stated that this was the result of a large number of driveways on the residential block.

In addition to changing the direction of one-way Doran Avenue between 89th Street and Woodhaven Boulevard, the DOT has also suggested instituting “daylighting” (no standing regulations) at the corners of Woodhaven Boulevard and Rutledge, 74th and 75th avenues. This is designed to give drivers and pedestrians greater visibility, McCarthy stated.

No other changes are proposed for Rutledge, 74th and 75th avenues in this plan, but McCarthy noted that the DOT will speed bumps along either of the roadways should speeding increase after the change to Doran Avenue is implemented.

“We have already surveyed those streets,” she said. “They do not have the same number of curb cuts and driveways. So if we did find speeding on those blocks, we will have the opportunity to explore a speed bump.”

Board members quizzed the borough commissioner about alternate ideas to slow traffic down on Doran Avenue.

Michael O’Kane asked if the DOT considered installing an all-way stop sign at the corner of 89th Street and Doran Avenue. McCarthy stated that the DOT had studied the idea three previous times, but the agency determined that the intersection did not meet the standards for receiving such a traffic device.

Patricia Grayson questioned why the DOT had not considered changing the entire direction of Doran Avenue. McCarthy stated that the DOT believes the partial change would provide greater circulation of traffic in the area and more options for drivers on 89th Street to turn.

Kathy Masi, a board member who also resides on Doran Avenue, pointed out that the DOT had previously placed a speed bump on 69th Place in Middle Village on a block with a “lot of driveways.”

“Believe me, if I could have put a speed hump [on Doran Avenue], I would,” McCarthy replied.

Doran likes it

Neighbors of Doran Avenue spoke in no uncertain terms that they believe the one-way change to their block is needed to prevent a future tragedy.

“I sit on my stoop with my relatives and we cannot believe the speed those cars get,” said Regina Crowley, who argued that some cars are going even faster than the DOT’s findings. “I want a little tranquility and peace for the kids.”

Another resident stated that the block was looking for a viable solution to its speeding problem without “dumping” on neighboring streets.

“We don’t want a child or a senior citizen to get hit or killed on that block,” he said.

Anne Marie Radke echoed those sentiments, noting that her threeyear old child was nearly hit by a speeding car on Doran Avenue two weeks before the meeting.

“It’s a really rough situation for everyone involved,” Masi added. “The idea is not to fix Doran and break something else.”

Rutledge hates it

Residents of Rutledge Avenue and other nearby streets, however, said that the proposed change to Doran Avenue would prove detrimental to traffic in the area, as other cars heading eastbound would be displaced onto their blocks.

“I don’t want the traffic from Doran Avenue added to my block,” said Kathleen Hayden. “This only serves the residents of Doran Avenue.”

Toby Sheppard-Bloch added that the change would inconvenience area residents who would need to travel extra blocks around Doran Avenue, but also customers at the Chase bank branch located at the corner of Metropolitan Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. The only entrance into the bank is located on Doran Avenue; vehicles are not permitted to enter from Metropolitan Avenue.

Another Rutledge Avenue resident, Margot Rose Hutchinson, claimed that she was nearly hit by a speeding car on her block and feared that the one-way switch on Doran Avenue would only add to speeding traffic elsewhere.

Also speaking against the oneway proposal was City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, who suggested that the DOT go back tot he drawing board and “come up with a plan the community board can accept and the surrounding streets can also agree with.”

“I understand the plan currently proposed looks like would just push vehicular traffic from Doran Avenue onto” neighboring streets, Crowley added. “As far as I’m concerned, this has been going on far too long. I would like to see an all-way stop at the location. I understand that it doesn’t meet the federal guidelines. However, if not a stop sign, then a speed bump.”

Other news

Following the suggestions offered by the Transportation and Public Transit committees, the board overwhelmingly recommended approval of plans by the DOT and the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation (RLDC) to create a new public plaza at the Glendale Memorial Triangle, at the corner of 70th Street and Myrtle and Cooper avenues.

As noted, the recommendation came with a bevy of conditions set by the committee. They included installing a drinking fountain provided that the DOT installs equipment to water plants in the plaza, installing electrical outlets at the plaza for sound and lighting equipment for the annual Memorial Day parade and Christmas tree lighting, installing a traffic signal at the corner of 68th Street and Cooper Avenue and retiming traffic signals at 69th Place and Myrtle Avenue and resynchronizing traffic signals in the area to accommodate changes in traffic movement.

The board also recommended approval of the proposed creation of a temporary public plaza along 71st Avenue between Myrtle Avenue and Stephen Street in Ridgewood. This project, which will be discussed further at a September public meeting, is backed by the DOT and the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District.

Demolition notices

Board 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri announced that the board has received demolition notices for garages at 53-25 66th St. and 62-27 59th Dr., both in Maspeth, and for a property at 1611 Norman St. in Ridgewood. Board members were advised to monitor work at each location and to report any questionable activities.

Liquor licenses

Board 5 also received the following applications for liquor licenses for its perusal:

• a new liquor license for O’Neill’s Maspeth Inc., 64-15/23 53rd Dr., Maspeth;

• a new wine and/or beer license for Teddy’s Market, 71-08 Fresh Pond Rd. in Ridgewood; and

• wine and/or beer license renewals for La Cabana Jarabacoa Restaurant, 65-13 Fresh Pond Rd., Ridgewood; JCM Pizza Ltd., d.b.a. Corato II Pizza, 60-91 Myrtle Ave., Ridgewood; Buon Gelato & Euro Bar of NY Corp., 74-02 Eliot Ave., Middle Village; and Rene Nunez, d.b.a. La Morena Restaurant, 861 Wyckoff Ave., Ridgewood.

Those who wish to comment on any of the above applications may do so by calling Board 5 at the number listed at the end of this article.

Community Board 5 is not scheduled to hold an August meeting. Their next session will take place in September. For more information, call Board 5’s Glendale office at 1-718-366-1834.