Tag Archives: Community Board 5

Traffic plan divides Glendale


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Glendale neighbors are at odds over a plan that will divert one block’s traffic to neighboring streets.

For years, residents and officials have pleaded with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to put the brakes on vehicles speeding down Doran Avenue.

Though DOT studies determined that cars were in fact speeding down the block, speed humps were unable to be installed due to the prevalence of driveways and utilities.

At the Community Board 5 meeting on Wednesday, July 11, Queens Borough DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy presented a plan to curb the speeders — reverse the direction of Doran Avenue between Woodhaven Boulevard and 89th Street.

“We believe by splitting it in the middle, it will give the community better circulation to get to their homes,” McCarthy said.

Currently, the street runs westbound from Woodhaven Boulevard, and residents complain drivers rush down the block to beat the light situated on 88th Street.

“We have a problem on our hands, I see it and I live it every day,” said Regina Crowley, who lives on Doran Avenue and is the sister of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

More than a dozen locals spoke at the meeting that had more than three times as many attendees as normal. The speakers were split nearly 50/50 on the plan.

“The proposal flies in the face of basic equity,” said Toby Sheppard Bloch who lives on Rutledge Avenue. “These changes will cause more traffic on Rutledge and 74th Avenue than is currently on Doran Avenue.”

Traffic that now travels on Doran would be diverted to the neighboring two-way streets, Rutledge and 74th avenues.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley agreed that the burden of traffic should not be dumped from one block to another.

“What we do need is to come up with a plan that the community board can accept and the surrounding streets can also agree with that will help decrease the speed of vehicles coming down Doran Avenue,” she said.

McCarthy said that the DOT anticipated residents on other streets would be concerned about increased traffic as a result of the change. The department surveyed the surrounding streets and found speed humps can be installed, but the blocks would have to wait for studies to be done after the plan is put into place.

“We don’t put a speed hump on a street unless there is speeding,” McCarthy said.

The plan went before the community board’s transportation committee, which met after the paper went to press.

 

Pedestrian plaza proposed for Glendale


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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A proposed pedestrian plaza may be placed in Glendale, but not before plans are processed by pols and the public.

The proposal from the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation would turn 70th Street between Myrtle and Cooper Avenues into a pedestrian plaza. The street runs next to famed German restaurant Zum Stammtisch — which said it would maintain the outdoor seating area and provide camera security, according to the DOT — and adjacent to the Glendale Veterans Triangle.

As is often the case when a street is closed, traffic was one of the first issues broached by locals.

“This street is dangerous as it is, I’m not sure how closing it would help,” said local Maureen Wiles.

Potential traffic is also among the concerns of the local community board.

While Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano said the plan is still very early in the process, he wants to see traffic counts for 70th Street and determine if emergency vehicles’ response time would be affected by the street closure. These two questions must be resolved before the community board supports the plan, he said.

Before any plans, which are still in the review stage, are finalized, the area’s councilmember also wants to make sure residents’ concerns and opinions are heard.

“The creation of a new plaza in Glendale must include public input and be welcomed by the community,” Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said. “As future plans for the plaza are discussed, I’ll continue to work closely with Ted Renz of the Ridgewood Local Development Corp. and the Department of Transportation to ensure that any concerns from the Glendale community are answered.”

The DOT assured that there will be workshops and other opportunities for the local community to provide feedback, according to a spokesperson.

Renz and the local business group proposed the plan, which has yet to be rendered. Renz could not be contacted as of press time.

Some locals are already imagining the space’s potential.

“As long as it would not disrupt the traffic in the area, I think it’s a great idea,” said resident Mark Potts.

Senator Joseph Addabbo also supports the plaza, calling it a “wonderful addition to this community,” in a letter to the DOT.

“An outdoor space seems like it would liven up the area, especially on nice days” said Vic Owens, a Ridgewood resident who frequents the neighborhood. “I’m for it.”

Community Board discusses hydrofracking, new gym


| dbeltran@queenscourier.com

There were several important issues brought up at Community Board (CB) 5’s first meeting of the new year, but none drew as much attention, or speakers, as the issue of hydrofracking.

In the process of hydrofracking water, sand and chemicals are shot into the ground to push out natural gases. One of the many problems, Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5, said, is that there is no filtering process to clean out contaminated water that comes back up. This increases the possibility of drinking water being contaminated, he said.

According to officials, no one knows what chemicals are going into the ground. Officials also pointed out earthquakes that were pin-pointed back to the area of the hydrofracking.

“There are numerous stories in other states where this process has backfired and contaminated drinking water,” said Giordano. “I just hope hydrofracking never happens in New York State.”

A public hearing was also held about whether to allow Retro Fitness to open a gym at 65-40 Otto Road in Glendale. One major issue was parking. While the owners of the gym said they could fit 70 parking spots and probably be able to build more, board members said they wanted that guaranteed in a lease. The owners also agreed to pay for a stop sign and maintenance of the property, as members said there is constant graffiti in the area.

Two board members then spoke about an abandoned factory in Glendale that is being torn apart. They claim that it has asbestos, preventing their families from being outside in their yards. According to the members, the owner works with no permits and even though the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has placed stop orders on the site, they continue to work.

“The Community Board has been involved in this since 2003. We protested the application for alteration,” said chair Vincent Arcuri. He added that test results from the DEP for asbestos came back negative.

Ridgewood park honors Anthony Venditti


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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At Detective Anthony J. Venditti Memorial Plaza’s rededication in 1995, a passage from the book of Ecclesiastes was quoted. Paul Kerzner of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation echoed the same sentiments on Sunday, October 16 at the plaza honoring the slain police officer.
“I have seen all matter of things; a just man perishing in his justice and a wicked one surviving in his wickedness. Be not wicked to excess and be not foolish,” Kerzner said. “Now 16 years later we ask again; why should you die before your time?”
Twenty-five years after being killed in the line of duty, the Ridgewood park memorializing Venditti was rededicated recently with family, local leaders and fellow police officers — even Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly — in attendance.
“Besides rededicating this plaza, we’re here to celebrate Anthony’s life,” said Vincent Acuri, chairperson of Community Board 5.
Over 150 people attended the dedication of the square on the corner of St. Nicholas and Myrtle Avenues.
“Memorials are designed to commemorate great events, special people, great victories, great tragedies,” said Monsignor James Kelly, pastor of nearby St. Brigid’s Church. “This memorial park recalls a great tragedy, a good man and the dedication of New York City’s police personnel to law and order.”
Venditti was killed while on an undercover assignment on Myrtle Avenue in front of the then-Castillo Diner, steps away from where his memorial now stands. He was 34. The square was renamed after the slain officer in 1989 and the memorial plaque was added at the 1995 rededication.
“We will never forget Anthony’s service or his sacrifice, said Kelly. “Today we celebrate his life and honor his memory,”
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani sent along his best wishes.
“This rededication ceremony keeps [Venditti]’s legacy alive for his loved ones and the community he dedicated his life to protecting,” he said.
Bouquets were presented to Venditti’s wife Patricia and mother Anna before 60 white carnations were placed on the memorial honoring Venditti which reads: “Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself; who is neither tarnished nor afraid.”