Tag Archives: Maura McCarthy

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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Now you can park on the ‘Sunnyside’ of the street


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently moved parallel to the parking demands of Sunnyside residents.

DOT Queens Commissioner Maura McCarthy joined Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer on March 23 to announce the creation of additional unregulated parking spaces in Sunnyside. Roughly 360 feet of parking – amounting to between 18 and 20 spaces – will be added to the north side of Barnett Avenue in an attempt to relieve traffic congestion in the community.

“Parking in the City of New York can be hard to come by, and for that reason I have continued to work with the DOT to find additional parking for residents,” said Van Bramer, who sent a letter to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in July of 2011 requesting the additional spaces. “I thank the DOT for responding to my request for more parking for Sunnyside residents and I will continue to fight for more parking.”

This is not the first parking alteration championed by Van Bramer, who also reduced 12-hour parking on Queens and Vernon Boulevards and pushed to end the morning ban on parking along Queens Boulevard.

“We are always willing to work with Councilmember Van Bramer and his colleagues across the borough to address community parking needs by modifying our parking inventory when feasible as we did here on Barnett Avenue,” McCarthy said.

Woodhaven street changes face roadblock


| mchan@queenscourier.com


While the city’s plan to change the direction of two streets in Woodhaven is still on the table, major feelings of opposition within the community have not been rerouted.

Residents remain angry at the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plans to convert 84th Street from one-way northbound to one-way southbound from Liberty to Atlantic Avenues and turn 89th Avenue from a two-way to a one-way street running eastbound between Woodhaven Boulevard and 97th Street.

However, at a public hearing held on February 1, agency officials told locals that the community will ultimately make the final decision on whether or not to implement the changes.

“Neither one of these proposals is mandated to improve because it is a high-accident location, so this can be voted up or down by the community,” said Maura McCarthy, DOT borough commissioner. “The DOT is not going to implement this over the objection of the community. We only do that if it’s a big safety problem. Neither of these locations are accident-prone locations, so this is really up to a community vote.”

According to the DOT, the request to convert 89th Avenue to a one-way operation came from Community Board 9 (CB 9) in 2008 due to the narrow roadway width — coupled with parking on both sides — while the westbound direction was recommended to foster the safe curbside drop-off of students.

“The DOT receives a lot of requests for traffic changes, whether it is adding a stop sign, traffic signal or changing street directions,” McCarthy said, “We take each request, analyze the request and then bring it before the community board to have a vote.”

Still, local leaders said the changes would severely inconvenience residents traveling back and forth between Woodhaven and Ozone Park. It would also cause some residents to be forced to go “at least six blocks out of their way” to get home.

“I think we’ve done everything we can to make sure our opposition is well known. I really don’t know what else we could do. We’re not going to lie down on the street,” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association (WRBA), who said he left the meeting feeling positive and productive.

CB 9 was slated to vote on the proposals during a public hearing on February 14 in Kew Gardens, though they recently postponed it due to complaints from the community about the meeting’s “inconvenient” date and time. They will now be meeting on March 13 to vote in Woodhaven.

“Every board member will vote how they feel is appropriate. We do whatever the community wants us to do because it’s their request, but half of the people are for it and half of the people are against it,” said Andrea Crawford, chair of CB 9. “It’s really up to the people who are directly affected.”

Short-term parking announced in Long Island City


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Steve Mosco

Fed up with commuters using their neighborhood as a parking lot, residents and community leaders of Long Island City banded together with the Department of Transportation, (DOT) and announced the reduction of 12-hour parking meters.

The new meter regulation, which accounts for 39 spots where Vernon Boulevard meets Borden Avenue, one block from the No. 7 Train, will now only allow two-hour parking from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said that this new parking rule will keep commuters from hogging the spots while they work in Manhattan.

“Long Island City is not a parking lot,” said Van Bramer. “It is a thriving community where thousands have come to live and where we are seeing many businesses open every month. For Long Island City residents and businesses this is a welcome announcement.”

Businesses along the thriving Vernon Boulevard made numerous overtures for DOT officials to review the neighborhood’s parking regulations, making the claim that long term parking was hurting business and a short term parking plan more suited the area.

“Long Island City is not just a commuter stop on the way to Manhattan,” said Sheila Lewandowski, executive director of The Chocolate Factory, a theater in L.I.C. “A lot of people come here to eat and to shop – these new regulations will help ensure that when people park here, they are spending their money here.”

Mike Del Rey, owner of Bricktown Bagels on Vernon Boulevard for five years, said that parking has been a constant headache for him and his customers since opening in the neighborhood. He said that these new rules will enable bagel buyers to run in and get a quick breakfast.

“L.I.C. needed this,” he said. “I’ve only been here for five years, and I’m sure we needed this long before then.”

Maura McCarthy, Queens Borough Commissioner of the DOT, said that the new regulations will be studied and reviewed, and more changes could be on the way.

“Adjusting meter regulations can go a long way toward increasing parking options for Long Island City residents, visitors and businesses,” she said. “We are glad to work closely with local elected officials to make parking easier.”

Van Bramer also announced short-term metered parking was being added and parking regulations were adjusted along Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside, making parking more accessible for motorists, especially to customers of local businesses lining the corridor.

Steinway Street goes Green


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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Astoria’s green initiative is also beautifying the neighborhood.

Councilmember Peter F. Vallone Jr., Senator Michael Gianaris, Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner Maura McCarthy and members of the Steinway Astoria Partnership united on September 15 for the unveiling of several environmentally-friendly additions to Steinway Street.

Among the improvements are new plants and flower baskets lining the street, and benches composed of recycled plastic that are replicas of those used during the 1964 World’s Fair.

“It’s fitting that the heart of Astoria’s shopping district, lined with both individually-owned shops and chain stores, would receive replica 1964 World’s Fair benches made of recycled materials,” said Vallone. “Steinway Street preserves small business values from a past era, with a modern twist.