Today’s news:

City DOT shuts down Doug street

For years residents of Douglaston’s 248th Street have watched drivers crash as they failed to negotiate the sharp turn between the Long Island Expressway service road and their quiet residential street. The dismayed onlookers wondered why the street was open at all.

Now, thanks to state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose), the intersection of 248th Street and the LIE will be permanently shut down after the longtime politician reached an agreement last week with the city Department of Transportation to do so.

“I am pleased that they’ve finally agreed with us to dead-end 248th Street, effectively cutting off access to the neighborhood north of the LIE,” Padavan said.

Community Board 11 Chairman Bernard Haber said the closure would protect the neighborhood north of the LIE by restricting extra traffic in the area.

“The community has been working for over two years to close that street,” he said.

Eliott Socci, president of the Douglaston Civic Association, which has joined forces with the residents to get the street permanently shut down, praised the news last week.

“That’s great, especially for the people who live there,” he said.

248th Street in Douglaston is a quiet, two-way residential street which runs into the northern side of the Long Island Expressway service road. In the past drivers entered and exited the service road by using the street to cut through the neighborhood.

But the shortcut created problems in the area, including speeding cars and extra traffic. One of the biggest difficulties was the intersection of 248th Street and the LIE itself.

Residents of 248th Street said drivers trying to go north from the LIE by turning onto their street from the service road often failed to negotiate the sharp curve and many motorists have crashed into homes that line the intersection.

When the LIE-Cross Island Parkway project began last year, conditions at 248th Street worsened, residents said. The project includes the reshaping of the interchange between the two highways and has created extra traffic throughout Little Neck and Douglaston.

The increased congestion caused more drivers than before to use 248th Street as a shortcut off the Long Island Expressway. With accidents and residential concerns on the increase, the state DOT eventually agreed to close the intersection for the remainder of the project. Residents have been lobbying for more than a year to have the street closed permanently.

Padavan said in a news release the city DOT would forward plans for the closure to the state by the end of this month and work to permanently block the 248th Street-LIE intersection would begin in the spring.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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