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CB 11 OKs street name changes in Douglaston

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Community Board 11 approved a plan this week to change the names of seven Douglaston streets back to their original names after the city gave them numerical designations more than 80 years ago.

The board voted 26−17 in favor of restoring the street names at its meeting Monday, despite some concern from the 111th Precinct and several board members that the new names could make it difficult for emergency responders to find homes.

“I understand people’s concerns, but the people in that area really want it,” CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said. “It’s an historic area. If the powers that be in the NYPD and Fire Department don’t think it will cause confusion, I don’t think it’s an issue.”

A spokesman for the 111th Precinct had previously said that several of the restored names were duplicates of other borough streets, which could cause confusion for officers responding to an emergency.

Iannece said the street names could be restored by early next year if City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside), the Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg also approve the changes.

Under the proposal, 235th Street between the north and south side of Douglaston Parkway along the Long Island Rail Road will become Main Avenue, while 240th Street between 43rd Avenue and Depew Avenue will be changed to Prospect Avenue.

In addition, 242nd Street between 43rd and 44th avenues will become Hamilton Avenue; 243rd Street between 44th Avenue and Depew Street will change to Orient Avenue; 44th Avenue between Douglaston Parkway and 244th Street will be Church Street; 43rd Avenue between the intersection of Douglaston Parkway, 240th and 243rd streets will change to Pine Street; and 42nd Avenue between the LIRR’s dead end and 243rd Street will become Poplar Street.

Bill Sievers, vice president of the Douglaston Historical Society, said that 61 out of 86 properties in the affected area of Douglaston had sent letters of support for the proposal.

“That represents 74 percent support,” he said.

But some board members said they thought the proposal was a bad idea.

“This proposal is wrong,” said Frank Skala, who is also the president of the East Bayside Homeowners Association. “In 1905, the city gave Queens numbered streets for a very good reason and it has worked for over a century.”

The Council voted to restore the names of six roadways in the neighborhood last fall. The city had changed the streets’ signs to numerical names in the 1920s to put them in line with the street grid, but in the 1970s returned them to their original names.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 6:33 pm, October 10, 2011
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