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City saves Avella work, shortens Bell Blvd. median

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The city's Department of Transportation has chopped off the end of a traffic median in Bay Terrace that community leaders say caused cars to blow out their tires for nearly a year.

DOT spokesman Keith Kalb said the work was done at the end of December in response to community requests.

Kalb said the old median had been worn down into the ground by cars for several years and that drivers had grown accustomed to driving over it.

When the median was restored to its original design last spring, Kalb said motorists "were surprised."

The median, located in the middle of Bell Boulevard at the intersection of 212th Street, stuck out several inches into the busy crossing near the entrances to the Cross Island Parkway and Fort Totten.

As a result, cars turning around the median would mistakenly run into it, especially during wet weather when visibility was reduced.

"It was a very awkward turn," said Phil Konigsberg, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, a group that has been fighting for traffic improvements at the intersection.

"You could've gone right into the curb, so you had to veer left and then go around," said Konigsberg, who added that a resident of Bay Terrace had placed a traffic cone on the median to make drivers go around it before it was fixed.

Back in October, City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) threatened to take a sledgehammer to the median if DOT did not fix it in a timely fashion.

Konigsberg said his group was happy about the shortening of the traffic island, but the intersection still was problematic for other reasons.

"The alignment isn't very good," said Konigsberg, whose group is trying to get a left turn arrow for cars coming down 212th Street and Totten Road to turn onto Bell Boulevard.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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