Residents living on a stretch of 84th Avenue have reason to rejoice.
Community Board 9 unanimously voted on Tuesday, October 9 in opposition to a Department of Transportation (DOT) proposal to convert the street between Myrtle Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard from a two-way to a one-way eastbound street.
“Let’s get a rational study by the DOT,” said Andrea Crawford, the board’s transportation committee chair, when introducing the vote.
At the board’s September meeting, 84th Avenue residents spoke in opposition to the proposal, saying the DOT had not conducted a proper study on the street. By becoming a one-way, they said, the street could become a thoroughfare for speeders and divert traffic to other streets. Several residents returned, along with new speakers, for the October meeting to ask the board again to oppose the block conversion.
DOT representatives were not able to respond to requests at press time regarding the next step. A spokesperson said in Septemberthat an analysis from the agency showed the conversion was feasible, but DOT was waiting for the board’s vote before moving forward.
Residents, on the other hand, didn’t seem to agree with the feasibility, and are happy their community took a stand against it.
Laurence Levy lives on 84th Avenue and spoke to the board last week about his unhappiness with the DOT’s proposal for the block.
“I felt that we were pretty persuasive at the meeting,” he said afterward.
Levy noted that by changing the street to a one-way, it would only divert traffic to other blocks, causing an even bigger problem for more residents.
Should the street have changed, drivers would feel more inclined to speed and threaten the families and elderly living on the street.
“It’s a safety issue number one. You would make a dangerous situation, now already dangerous, by increasing the speed of the cars coming up the road,” Levy said. “Basically we would be making it easier for everybody in South Richmond Hill, Ozone Park to get where they want quicker. The burden would be on us essentially by sacrificing a direction in the road.”
The reroute would have also pushed traffic to other surrounding blocks, he said, and not really offering a solution.
“All you would be doing is shuffling the deck,” he said.