Traffic fix proposed for Lefferts Blvd.

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The Department of Transportation (DOT) is planning to remove a lane of traffic from each side of Lefferts Boulevard between 135th and 149th Avenues.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is planning to remove a lane of traffic from each side of Lefferts Boulevard between 135th and 149th Avenues.

Slow down, folks.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is planning to remove a lane of traffic from each side of Lefferts Boulevard between 135th and 149th Avenues.

This one-block stretch of Lefferts has been plagued with traffic problems, including up to 20 accidents, double parking and speeding, said Nichole Altmix, a DOT project manager, at the Thursday, October 4 Community Board 10 meeting. By narrowing this stretch of the pavement to a single lane each way, DOT officials believe drivers will be less inclined to speed, Altmix said. The lanes would not be physically eliminated, Altmix added, but instead painted over with yellow striping.

Although the number of lanes would be halved, Altmix said the single lane can carry close to 500 cars per day without backing up.

“One lane can carry 495 vehicles very easily,” she said.

Parking lanes on either side of Lefferts would be expanded from seven feet to 14 feet as a means to combat double parking. DOT Queens Commissioner Maura McCarthy acknowledged that, while it is illegal to double park and is strongly discouraged, drivers and shoppers will block in other cars and hold up traffic. By doubling the width of the parking lane, inevitable double parkers would not block an entire lane of traffic.

Some community board members who live near, or travel on, this stretch are wary, however, that this proposal will really fix the problem.

Peter Granickas disagreed with the DOT’s current plan, and likened it to the recent changes at the intersection of Rockaway Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard.

Other board members suggested alternatives to the striping — as drivers will sometimes use it as a thoroughfare during backed up traffic.

Community Board 10 cannot vote for or against the suggested changes, according to chair Elizabeth Braton. The presentation was to get feedback from residents on what can or cannot work for this project.