The Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic and the Civic Association of Utopia Estates is bisected by 73rd Avenue. At the December Community Board 8 meeting Joan Hausmann, from the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association spoke for the installation of a traffic light at the corner of 73rd Avenue and 179th Street.Last year a driver was killed at 181st Street and 73rd Avenue. The driver apparently ran the stop sign at 181st Street and a car heading west on 73rd Avenue smashed into his car killing him. I don't know if it was the fault of the driver who missed the stop sign or if tree branches obscured the stop sign. We have too many north/south streets along 75th and 73rd avenue where trees are planted too close to corners and not pruned for many years so branches obscure stop signs. The city now has a 10-year tree-pruning schedule which they hope to get down to seven years. Wow!Due to the requests from the civic Queens DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy reported to the Transportation Committee of CB 8 and proposed several solutions to traffic on 73rd Avenue. One proposal is to change the entire traffic pattern from 164th Street to Francis Lewis Boulevard. They are suggesting narrowing 73rd Avenue by putting in a seven-foot painted median or eliminating parking along the whole stretch on the north side of 73rd and putting a bike lane along the curb or narrowing the roadway by installing three-foot buffers adjacent to the existing bike lanes on both sides of the avenue or making the one block of 179th Street from 69th to 73rd Avenues one-way northbound or blocking off the exit from 179th Street into Jewel avenue, making it a dead end. The civic says: "Why not (just) a traffic light?"One should understand that 179th Street is the only crossover through the center island along Union Turnpike from 188th Street to Utopia Parkway. Patrons use 179th Street as a way of getting to the stores on the south side of Union Turnpike. Driving the couple of blocks up to Utopia Parkway to make a left turn onto the south side of Union Turnpike would make the intersection of Utopia Parkway and Union Turnpike even more congested than it is now. I don't know if the Union Turnpike Merchants Association knows of this proposal to make 179th Street northbound. I am sure they will have something to say about it at the public hearing.There is concern that any zebra stripes on 73rd Avenue will cause backups of traffic when people make lefthand turns, unless a long left turn lane is built into the zebra stripes. Also, that little triangular park at 73rd Avenue and 179th Street is being made handicapped accessible. The Orthodox community uses it in nice weather on Saturdays and holidays. People use it as a neighborhood park and walk there. The neighborhood made sure that there is no comfort station because they want it as a neighborhood park for people who can walk home. Why not a traffic light to facilitate their walk? But since a traffic light costs about $150,000 the city may not want to spend the money.A separate addition to the mix is a proposal to run a bus along 73rd Avenue. A member of the Transportation Committee of Community Board 8 has proposed extending the Q64 bus route, which currently ends on 71st Avenue and 164th Street along 73rd Avenue. If there are any road changes on 73rd Avenue, then it doesn't seem feasible for a city bus to run on that Avenue. Even if there are no road changes, the residents along this residential street may not want a big bus on their avenue.In addition, the residents along 73rd Avenue may not want to lose parking spaces in front of their houses. There are also several houses of worship along 73rd Avenue west of Utopia Parkway which may be concerned about fewer parking spaces and a bus line rumbling along the Avenue.At some time, probably in February, the Area Committee of Community Board 8 and/or the Transportation Committee will hold a public hearing on these issues. Where and when is yet to be decided. There residents can listen and then express their views. Eventually CB 8 will vote on the issue. Call CB 8 at (718) 264-7895 for current information.GOOD AND BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: In the past year the city gave about 300 of the world's richest companies and non-profit groups $100M in tax rebates. The program is called PILOT (Payments in Lie of Taxes). The city uses these deals as a way to keep large corporations here. There are no uniform standards. Is it worth it? Perhaps!
©2008 Community News Group
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