Tag Archives: DOT

Parents, officials demand DOT action following accident near little league field


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Alec MacFarlen, a seven-year-old from Rosedale, was crossing the street near his little league field when he was hit by a speeding car on Monday, April 22.

Although McFarlen survived, locals have had enough.

The community has requested a traffic advisory on 147th Avenue between Brookville Boulevard and 232nd Street for years. But community members claim the Department of Transportation (DOT) never followed up.

Rosedale Little League President Bernie Brown said she and other parents have petitioned DOT since 2006 to put “any sort of traffic advisory” on the stretch of road that she calls dangerous.

“These cars will not let people cross the street,” Brown said. “There are parks on both sides of the street. This is an area filled with children.”

Brown said that when she got the call that McFarlen had been hit, she ran to the spot of the accident. She said the little leaguer had blood coming from his forehead and dripping down his face. Brown added that the youngster had to get four stitches on his head and still has scrapes on his face as well as a bruised ribcage.

“Even as an adult, you can’t cross the street,” said Councilmember Donovan Richards. “It’s nearly impossible.”

Still, there were no fatalities in the area or any surrounding intersection from 2007 to 2011, the most recent years for which data are available. One pedestrian injury was reported at Brookville Boulevard and 147th Avenue in 2010.

Richards and Brown said DOT representatives have been to the area to survey the traffic, but that they come during off-hours. According to Brown, during baseball season the intersection is at its busiest Monday through Friday from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

A DOT spokesperson said representatives have been in touch with Richards and the little league about their concerns. The agency plans to re-examine the area to see if there are additional ways to enhance safety for everyone using the street.

The DOT studied the location for a traffic-control device and speed bump in 2009 and 2012, respectively, but the location did not meet the guidelines for installation, according to the spokesperson.

While DOT abides by federal rules, Richards suggested the city “reign in control” of the transportation organization as a possible solution.

“They’re going by federal regulations and we don’t have the pull we need to have them do better,” Richards said. “It’s really disturbing.”

Along with writing letters to DOT, Brown and parents have recently started to file complaints with 3-1-1 about the dearth of traffic devices.

“Set up a blinking yellow light, set up a ‘Children At Play’ sign,” she said. “We’re trying to do a sports program that will keep children off the streets and help mentor them. These kids need an outlet to get rid of some of their stress.”

“Thank god that this little boy—seven years old—has a strong body,” she continued. “He probably will heal, but this will be something he’ll remember for the rest of his life.”

 

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Push for slow zones in Jackson Heights


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo By Angy Altamirano

In December, 11-year-old Miguel Torres was struck and killed as he tried to cross the street on Northern Boulevard.

Now, leaders in Jackson Heights are calling for a slow zone to prevent more deaths.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm is leading the push that would lower the speed limit in the neighborhood from 30 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour on specific streets to stop drivers who speed through.

Last year, the councilmember applied to have a slow zone between 74th Street and 86th Street, from 37th Avenue up to Northern Boulevard. The application was denied by the Department of Transportation (DOT), as Northern Boulevard cannot be part of the slow zone because it is considered a major arterial traffic way, said Dromm.

But now Dromm hopes to reapply and focus on the side streets that meet Northern Boulevard.

“There is a very big problem in Jackson Heights on those side streets,” said Dromm. “We have to change the mentality of drivers that when they are coming into such a congested area, you aren’t going to get in and out fast. You need to slow down, calm down and take it easy.”

About two weeks ago, on the corner of 81st Street and 35th Avenue, a pedestrian was struck in a hit-and-run accident when a car was making a left turn. Another pedestrian was hit on 82nd Street and Northern Boulevard and is in critical condition.

Edwin Westley, president of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, said he is working with Dromm to bring the slow zone to the neighborhood.

“We need it for two reasons, one is the number of senior citizens in the neighborhood and the other reason is there are a large number of schools in the area,” Westley said.

A slow zone in East Elmhurst, on 25th Avenue from 69th to 83rd Street, was approved by the DOT and is nearly completed.

“Northern Boulevard needs to be a safe environment considering just how many schools sit right along it throughout Jackson Heights and into Corona,” said Serhan Ayhan, 26, a Jackson Heights resident. “We shouldn’t be playing a game of chicken waiting until a student is hurt while crossing the street to implement safer policies.”

Along with the slow zones, Dromm also hopes to implement other traffic measures including bike racks and extended curbs to get drivers to slow down. He is also working with the NYPD for additional enforcement on the north and south ends of Northern Boulevard to decrease fatalities and hit-and-runs.

The DOT did not respond as of press time.

 

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Pilot program launches pay-by-phone parking, spot availability map


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via Google Maps/NYC DOT website

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

The future is here.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with the Department of Transportation (DOT), announced plans to create a new program that would allow drivers to pay parking meters remotely, as well as launching a real-time parking availability map.

“Today, we’re launching a pilot pay-by-phone parking initiative along 18 metered blocks in the Arthur Avenue Business Improvement District as well as an online parking availability map for the area that motorists or passengers can see on the web and on their smartphones,” said Bloomberg. “These new initiatives are just the latest examples of our work to bring parking and driving in New York City into the 21st century.”

Drivers can pay for their spots without the hassle of using money or a credit card at the meter via  a smartphone app called PayByPhone. To register, motorists must first sign up on the PayByPhone website, then enter their license plate numbers and credit card information. The app will send a text or email when the allotted time is about to expire, allowing the driver to add more time up to the allowed limit.

PayByPhone has already partnered with other cities, including San Francisco, Miami, London and Vancouver.

The parking availability program will use sensors embedded in streets to create a map accessible by any web enabled device, which will show when any spots are opened up. The mayor’s office hopes this program will cut down on the time motorists spend on hunting for spots.

Both pilot programs will be tested out across 264 spaces along 18 block faces near Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, as well as at the Department’s Belmont Municipal Parking Field.

 

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Op-Ed: Putting Woodhaven Boulevard on the fast track


| oped@queenscourier.com

BY COUNCILMEMBER ERIC ULRICH

For the past decade, Woodhaven Boulevard has been a traffic nightmare. The daily commute during the morning and evening rush hours is sluggish at best. Whether you’re in a car or on a bus, the slow and painful crawl up and down Woodhaven Boulevard is sure to make your daily commute even more stressful and time consuming.

Since taking office, I have been working with the Department of Transportation to alleviate traffic congestion along Woodhaven Boulevard and have suggested a number of measures which I believe would make a big difference. Here are just a few:

  • I am committed to bringing the deployment of Transit Signal Priority (TSP) to this corridor. TSP will improve travel time for all vehicles by optimizing overall traffic signal coordination, resulting in a 5%-10% decrease in overall travel time. This system can, for instance, hold the green light a little longer to allow buses and cars to proceed through an intersection before the traffic signal turns red. TSP is already operating in Staten Island, the Bronx, and Manhattan. I am fighting to bring it to Queens.
  • Implementing Select Bus Service (SBS) along the 3.2 mile route would also have a significant impact. This is a bold initiative that would establish a dedicated bus lane for express and local buses only. It would speed up the average commute time for bus riders by 15-20% and prevent the bottlenecking situation that occurs at almost every major intersection along the boulevard. SBS is more commonly referred to as Bus Rapid Transit and already exists on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island, First / Second Avenues in Manhattan and Fordham Road in the Bronx. Woodhaven Boulevard is ripe for this proposal and I am looking forward to the day it comes to Queens.
  • Site specific improvements at certain intersections are long overdue. There are turning lanes that need to be widened or extended and others that need to be eliminated altogether. This is a delicate process that will require the advice and consent of the local community. Nevertheless, it is one that must be part of our overall strategy to make Woodhaven Blvd. safer for drivers, mass transit users and pedestrians alike. When done correctly, modifications such as these can reduce traffic related injuries dramatically and help the overall flow of traffic.

The DOT has already made some progress by incorporating some of the above-mentioned ideas into the Citywide Congested Corridor study. In fact, data has been collected, traffic patterns and accident prone locations have been analyzed and several public meetings have been held to discuss possible solutions since the study first started in 2008. Some of these proposals are common sense and easy to implement while others are all but certain to raise controversy.

But the fact remains that people have been sitting in traffic for far too long and Queens is entitled to what every other borough already has. If we’re serious about addressing the traffic nightmare on Woodhaven Boulevard once and for all, we must take the necessary steps to put this plan into action.

Eric Ulrich was elected to the New York City Council in 2009, as the representative for District 32, serving Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, South Richmond Hill, and Woodhaven.

City Council passes resolution calling for speed cameras


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Local lawmakers are telling drivers to slow down.

On Wednesday, March 20, the City Council approved a resolution calling on the state Legislature to pass a law allowing New York City to set up a speed camera pilot program. It would test 20 to 40 speed cameras installed at high-risk locations across the city for five years, according to the Council, which said one in four traffic deaths in the city is caused by speeding.

“The speed cameras would not photograph the driver or disseminate the license plate number of the vehicle,” the Council said in a release.

Fines would range from $25 to $50 for speeding between 10 and 30 miles above the speed limit and $100 for driving more than 30 miles above the speed limit.

“If we can save the life of just one child by reducing the speed of vehicles in our city, this pilot program will have served its purpose,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who sits on the Council’s Transportation Committee and helped spearhead the resolution. “We are obligated to protect the lives of our city residents and introducing a speed camera pilot program in New York City will help reduce excessive speeding in areas that have been plagued by drag racing, excessive vehicular crashes and pedestrian collisions.”

One accident where speed may have been a factor is the death of a nine-year-old Sunnyside girl, Hallie Geier, who, in 2004, was hit by an SUV in front of Van Bramer’s home.

Following the incident, Van Bramer and the Council worked to have the Department of Transportation (DOT) install speed humps on the block.

But more needs to be done according to the Council, and the DOT agrees.

After releasing 2012 traffic safety statistics this week, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is calling for “swift state authorization for the city to use speed-camera enforcement for the first time, with a priority given to streets near schools with documented speeding.”

Although the city experienced historic lows in annual traffic deaths last year, “fatal crashes overwhelmingly involved speeding (increasing from 49 in 2011 to 81 in 2012),” and were “the greatest single factor in traffic deaths.

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly is also behind the speed camera plan, according to reports, and sent a letter to state legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo expressing his support.

But the New York City Police Benevolent Association (PBA) strongly disagrees with Kelly, and believes money for the program would be better used for other speed mitigating measures.

“Speed cameras are no substitute for live policing. Many speeders are unlicensed, some are operating under the influence and sometimes they are fleeing crime scenes or carrying weapons,” said PBA president Patrick J. Lynch. “Cameras let all those dangers slip by. Money spent on speed cameras would be far better used to improve public safety by hiring more fully trained police officers to interdict speeders.”

Photo courtesy of DOT

Anger over parking rate hikes


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

The Department of Transportation (DOT) could be taking extra money out of commuters’ pockets this summer.

The organization made a proposal to increase fares up to 233 percent for municipal lots, and residents aren’t looking to pay up.

Councilmember Donovan Richards held his term’s first press conference outside one of those lots at the Rosedale Long Island Railroad (LIRR) train station, where commuters travel day in and day out, paying to park in the lot.

“This is attacking our pocketbooks, our expenses and this is just something that we cannot tolerate,” said Alfred Osbourne, Rosedale resident and permit holder at the LIRR lot, who is still recovering from Sandy. “I have other bills, and now to get hit by this? It’s unsustainable.”

Richards said that this increase is “unwarranted,” and “nothing but greed.” Although no numbers are finalized, the increase would go up from the current $110 monthly rate for parking, said Osbourne.

“We cannot afford these steep increases that they are proposing,” said Richards. “Considering the current economic climate facing working families in my district, this . . . increase would disproportionately affect residents.”

State Senator James Sanders, Richards’ former boss and mentor, also attended the press conference to voice his support for his prior chief-of-staff and opposition to the proposed increases.

“What will this increase result in?” he asked. “A better maintained area? Will it be safer? [Is the DOT] putting up signage or walkways? I would argue no.”

Sanders said he will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Richards on this issue. The two suggested alternative means for the city organization to get the money it needs, such as cutting from corporate subsidiaries.

“Look at them before forcing everyday citizens to take it out of their pockets,” said Richards.

However, a DOT statement said that the parking rate adjustment is the first at the Rosedale lot in many years.

“Bear in mind that there are only 12 permit holders at this lot, and that their effective daily parking rate is increasing from approximately $1.15 to $1.40, still well below the market rate for parking in this area,” said the statement.

The DOT also said it received no comments on the rate from Rosedale permit holders.

 

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After fatal accident, community calls for safety


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

It didn’t have to end in tragedy.

Following the death of 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak, mowed down by a minivan outside LaGuardia Community College, students and residents asked the Department of Transportation (DOT) for what they say are much-needed street safety enhancements.

Drudak, a student at Applied Communications High School inside LaGuardia Community College’s building, died after being struck by a minivan that lost control and mounted the sidewalk at the intersection of Thomson Avenue and 30th Street in Long island City. Four of the other five pedestrians hit were students from LaGuardia.
Public officials, students, school administrators, staff members and concerned residents gathered Thursday morning, March 14 in front of Drudak’s memorial at the intersection to voice their concerns and ask the DOT to take another look at the busy street and its safety conditions.

“No one should have to fear getting hit by a car on their way to school or work,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “We need answers and we need solutions to make this place safer.”

Students at LaGuardia Community College started the “Petition to act on a safety concern with traffic issues” last July and sent it to the DOT with close to 500 signatures. According to Shah Amanat, president of the LaGuardia Community College Student Government, the DOT replied in November saying all signals were operating as designed and no changes were needed at the time.

“Please do something. We need safety. We need safety for the students, we need safety for the community, we need safety for staff and faculty members,” said Amanat.

Those in attendance asked the DOT to conduct a comprehensive safety and traffic study of Thomson Avenue and all side streets, put up additional barricades/barriers on the sidewalks and the adjustment of the timing of the street and crossing lights.

“We need them to come back and not say ‘everything is fine here,’” said Van Bramer. “We need the DOT to do this and do it now.”

Friends of Drudak also gathered to show their support for the street safety improvements and to remember their lost friend.

“I couldn’t believe it at first,” said Tenzin Samphel, 16, a student from International High School who best remembers his times beatboxing while Drudak rapped.

According to a DOT spokesperson, the fatal crash was the first at the location in at least six years and the safety enhancements that are under consideration include sidewalk extensions at the intersection and other “significant improvements.”

“Safety is always DOT’s first priority and the agency was already working with LaGuardia Community College to improve pedestrian safety and access at this location as part of the college’s planned expansion,” said the DOT spokesperson.

 

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Dangerous Whitestone intersection made safer


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

A dicey intersection near a Whitestone elementary school just got a little safer.

The city installed a four-way stop on 154th Street at the intersection of 11th Avenue after residents petitioned for more controls. The accident-prone school crossing is half a block away from P.S. 193.

“This has been a problem location going back to my days in the City Council, and the community has been very vocal on the need for additional traffic controls at this location for years,” said State Senator Tony Avella.

“Ensuring the safety of our children as they go to school should be one of our top traffic priorities.”

Before the change, there were only two stop signs for vehicles going east and westbound. Residents said cars constantly parked illegally in a “No Standing” zone impaired the vision of drivers trying to go straight on 11th Avenue or make a right turn, The Courier reported last September.

Having to slowly inch up halfway into the intersection, they said, makes them sitting ducks for speeding cars zooming down 154th Street.

There were no reported injuries at the location between 2006 and 2010, said a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT). There was only one crash in 1996, which resulted in one injury, according to crashstat.org.

But Devon O’Connor, president of the Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association, said he witnessed at least four collisions there last summer. The intersection, he said, has been a problem for over a decade.

Support for the traffic controls came from the school, parents, elected officials and Community Board 7, O’Connor said.

“It’s definitely going to reduce speeding and car crashes,” he said. “I stood there for a while watching [the intersection with the new stop signs]. You can definitely tell it’s a whole different vibe.”

 

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LIC residents blame parking problems on Manhattanites


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

Long Island City dwellers have circled the block for the last time.

Residents of the rapidly-developing district, sick of searching for scarce parking, blame Manhattanites for using the neighborhood with lax street-side laws as their personal parking lot.

“It’s a convenient place for those living or working in Manhattan to leave their cars for the day or weeks,” said Peter Johnson, a Long Island City resident who claimed the problem has persisted for years.

One Manhattanite who works for Citicorp left her car parked at the edge of Johnson’s house for several months. She told him she occasionally stopped by during her lunch break just to turn the car on to recharge the battery.

“[She had] no qualms about taking the parking that should be for residents,” said Johnson.

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), street storage of vehicles is prohibited. On streets that are without regulations for alternate-side parking, including residential neighborhoods, cars are not allowed to remain in the same spot for seven consecutive days.

Johnson suggested resident parking stickers as a possible fix to the parking problem. The DOT said residential permits are not under consideration as the agency does not have the authority or funding to implement a system.

“We do know that people are leaving their cars on the streets for long period of time,” said Community Board 2 Chair Joe Conley.

In May of 2012, board members conducted an impromptu experiment, scrawling dates and times on cars in dust along 47th Avenue and 48th Avenue to track their movement. Cars didn’t move for several weeks.

As part of a separate cleanliness initiative, Community Board 2 reached out to the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) in hopes of bringing street cleaning to the neighborhood. Conley believes the parking regulations necessary for street cleaning will alleviate some traffic tension.

“Throughout the rest of the district we have alternate side parking so cars have to move,” said Conley. “In Hunters Point we don’t have restrictions so cars can stay there forever.”

Conley also believes the area’s booming population and residential upswing has attributed to parking woes. The formerly industrial neighborhood, which mainly saw circulation increase during week days, is now subject to seven straight days of traffic. Conley added that while LIC has always suffered from a serious parking shortage, turnover of parking is essential to residents and businesses in the neighborhood.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast. Fog early. High of 54. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the East in the afternoon. Chance of rain 20%. Tuesday Night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 41. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Queens Public Library book event with NYT author Carl Weber

Carl Weber is a Queens native and a New York Times bestselling author. Join him as he celebrates the release of his latest book, “The Man in 3B,” with refreshments and big fun at the Queens Central Library on January 29 at 6 p.m. Free and open to the public. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

MTA delays new system that will replace MetroCards with ‘smart’ debit or credit cards

The MTA is delaying implementation of a new fare-payment system that will replace the MetroCard. Read more: New York Daily News

More non-union school bus drivers spark heated protests

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State seeking suitors to build new Kosciuszko Bridge

State officials are creating a short-list of suitors that will get a chance to reshape a vital link between Brooklyn and Queens. Read more: New York Daily News

New FEMA flood maps double number of local at-risk homes

Some New Yorkers who saw their homes badly damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy will have to rebuild three to six feet above their house’s current level. Read more: NY1

Ex-Mayor Ed Koch re-hospitalized after 2 days

he spokesman for former New York City Mayor Ed Koch says he’s been re-admitted to the hospital two days after he was released. Read more: ABC New York

Some New York City restaurants ban food photography by customers

If you’re one of the thousands of people who snap pictures of your food and instantly share them on social media, you might be surprised to learn that some restaurants are now banning photos of their food. Read more: CBS New York

Obama launches push for immigration overhaul

Seeking swift action on immigration, President Barack Obama on Tuesday will try to rally public support behind his proposals for giving millions of illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship, as well as making improvements to the legal immigration system and border security. Read more: AP

Kosciuszko Bridge connecting Queens and Brooklyn to be replaced


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Kosciuszko Bridge will soon be falling down — and an entirely revamped bridge will be built in its place.

“The bridge is over 70 years old,” said Adam Levine, spokesperson for the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT). “It’s in constant need of repairs at this point.”

Those who use the bridge connecting Queens to Brooklyn are familiar with its heavy traffic. Built in the 1930s, the bridge was constructed at an elevated level to allow tall-masted ships to pass under it via Newtown Creek. Those ships don’t typically operate anymore, according to Levine.

“The bridge is really just higher than it needs to be,” he said.

The heightened structure is hard for trucks to accelerate and decelerate, creating a build-up of traffic. A new and efficient structure, 45 feet lower than the original, is on its way.

For Phase 1 of the project, a new cable-stayed Queens-bound structure will be built parallel to the existing bridge, with adequate width to accommodate all traffic. Phase 2 will see construction of the Brooklyn-bound side, and the original Kosciuszko Bridge will be torn down. Connections to local roads and the Long Island Expressway will be included in the new design as well.

Project development began over a decade ago, and members of the Kosciuszko Bridge Stakeholders Advisory Committee, the DOT and other community organizations have finally been granted approval to operate on an accelerated schedule. A design-build team should be contracted by spring of this year – a full 18 months earlier than expected – under the NY Works program.

More information on the project can be found at dot.ny.gov/kbridge.

 

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Queens DOT commissioner retires


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens Borough President’s office

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Queens commissioner has retired. Maura McCarthy has stepped down from her post after six years of service on Friday, January 11.

The lifelong Queens resident oversaw transportation services in the borough, serving as the community liaison for the agency and working with police to identify accident-prone locations, especially those near schools, according to the city DOT’s website.

McCarthy was employed by several city agencies since 1979, beginning as a 9-1-1 operator for the NYPD.

Borough President Helen Marshall honored McCarthy with a citation one day before her retirement, thanking her for her “invaluable” service and “legacy of care.”

The DOT did not immediately comment.

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DOT unveils new, easier to read parking signs


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DOT

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is hoping that newly designed signs will simplify parking in New York City.

On Monday the DOT unveiled the easy to read and see parking regulations signs, which will initially replace 6, 300 in Midtown Manhattan through this spring, then in other parts of the city.

The problem with the old parking signs was that they had differing colors, typefaces, font sizes and confusing phrasing, said the DOT. The new standardized two-color signs are phrased and formatted so they are easier to read.

“New York City’s parking signs can sometimes be a five-foot-high totem pole of confusing information,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “Parking signs play an important role in setting the rules at the curbside and these changes will make regulations easier to read and take the stress out of figuring out where and when you can legally park.”

 

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DOT to study dangerous intersection


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

The Department of Transportation (DOT) will conduct a full traffic safety study of the area around a dangerous intersection after a community request in the heavily residential neighborhood.

DOT officials, residents, elected officials and representatives from the mayor’s office met on Monday, October 15 to survey a traffic triangle in Lindenwood intersected by 88th Street and 153rd Avenue that has long been a concern in the area.

At September’s Lindenwood Alliance meeting, a number of people brought up concerns about the intersection, particularly that it threatened the safety of children and elderly trying to cross the street.

As a result of the October 15 meeting, the DOT has agreed to comb the entire area, said Claudia Filomena, the Queens director for the mayor’s community affairs office. The study will take roughly six months, she said, and will particularly examine morning and afternoon hours when children are entering and leaving nearby P.S. 232 The Walter Ward School, as well as weekends.

Filomena said DOT representatives were not sure if the intersection could meet the need for a traffic light, but other options — such as stop signs or reshaping the intersection into a cul-de-sac — were being explored.

“DOT is going to be undertaking a safety study for the entire area and looking at any number of different traffic calming measures,” Filomena said.

In the meantime, petitions will be collected to request a school crossing guard in the area. By doing so, Filomena said, drivers will be less inclined to speed when seeing a guard and help stop concerns about children potentially being hurt.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, who has pushed since earlier this year for better traffic safety at the site, said he planned on reaching out to federal officials about some regulations the city is required to follow to amend traffic control.

Flood relief may be on way for Springfield Gardens


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Officials are hoping that relief is on the way for Springfield Gardens residents, who have long suffered from the deluge of downpours.

On Tuesday, October 16, city and local officials broke ground on the fourth phase of a project to upgrade sewer and water infrastructure in the southeast Queens community.

“For years, heavy rain in Springfield Gardens meant flooded roads, damaged homes and thousands of dollars in repairs for residents,” said City Councilmember James Sanders, an advocate for the project. “With this … neighborhood upgrade under way, relief is coming soon for Springfield homeowners who have been under assault from Mother Nature for far too long.”

This most recent installment of repairs, totaling $69 million and funded by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), is part of a larger $175 million project dedicated to improving Springfield Gardens storm management.

In this phase, the area bounded by South Conduit Avenue to the north; 149th Avenue to the south; 145th Road/146th Avenue/225th Street on the east; and Springfield Boulevard to the west will receive roughly 2.8 miles of new sewer lines, nearly 3 miles of water mains, and 84 catch basins, along with new streets and sidewalks.

“Low-lying streets in Springfield Gardens will get a lift with completely reconstructed streets and sidewalks, addressing the area’s flooding and making the neighborhood greener and more inviting,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Residents are overall pleased with the work being done.

Elizabeth Simms, who lives nearby in an area that was part of an earlier phase, has seen a significant improvement in flooding around her home.

“New drains, new sewers, remaking the street has worked great. Before it was a problem, but now everything goes right down and the street is clean,” she said.

Also part of the project is the creation of a Bluebelt, a wetland that both stores and treats water runoff. This will allow stormwater to be collected in the new catch basins, and discharged into wetland systems where the water will be naturally filtered. The wetlands will store the water, allow any solids or debris to settle and excess nutrients to be absorbed by vegetation. The filtered water will then be discharged into the nearby Springfield Lake and existing streams into Jamaica Bay.

Dredging for the project is set to begin in the spring, and will be managed by the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Completion is estimated for 2014.