Turning four small streets in Ridgewood, Glendale and Middle Village into one-way thoroughfares should reduce accidents and improve quality of life along those roads, local residents and members of Community Board 5 contend.
At its Aug. 13 meeting, the board voted to approve the one-way designations and also gave the go-ahead for the city Department of Transportation's planned renovation of the Metropolitan Avenue bridge over the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Middle Village.
The proposed street traffic changes, which were approved by the board, would make Doran Avenue one way westbound between 88th and 83rd streets, 65th Drive one way eastbound between 69th Place and 70th Street, Ricard Street one way eastbound between Harman Street and Greene Avenue and Tonsor Street southbound between Metropolitan Avenue and Himrod Street.
The proposed changes originated with local residents, said CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano, after which DOT studied the feasibility of the conversions. All were adopted Aug. 13 by the full board, which represents Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village.
"Part of it is a safety issue," Giordano said. "And part of it is ... to reduce congestion and to keep trucks out."
All the streets in question are technically closed to trucks, but enforcement of those restrictions has been difficult. The conversions, Giordano said, should take away some of the truckers' favored illegal short cuts.
Doran Avenue, residents said, was a shortcut not only for trucks but also for all drivers trying to beat the traffic light at Cooper Avenue and 88th Street.
"One of these days, someone is going to get killed by someone trying to beat that light," said one angry resident at the meeting.
Since DOT has already studied the changes, they can be implemented as soon as DOT is ready, Giordano said.
The board also approved DOT's request to acquire a section of the Metropolitan Avenue bridge over the LIRR tracks that now houses a Mobil station, as well as an 18-foot easement on the property of Meyer Chevrolet on the northwest corner of the intersection.
The land acquisitions are necessary for the two-year, $17 million renovation of the crumbling bridge.
But the project, though necessary, will likely be a headache for the community when it begins in 2005, Giordano said.
"The biggest problem will be the traffic," he said. "We'll do the best job we can at detouring traffic and giving people alternative routes. And that's not an easy place to give people alternative routes."
The renovation work will be done in two phases, Giordano said. First one half of the Metropolitan Avenue roadway will be closed and the remaining side kept open for only one lane of traffic each way. When that phase is done, work will commence on the other side.
It means for the better part of two years, one lane of traffic in each direction will be forced to squeeze through an intersection that is among the borough's most congested under normal conditions.
"We're going to have our hands full," Giordano said.
Reach reporter Alex Ginsberg by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2003 Community News Group
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