Monday, May 10, 2010

New Traffic Plans for Southeast Queens by Tonia N. Cimino - The Queens Courier

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If you live, drive, or shop on Liberty Avenue or Rockaway Boulevard, big changes may be coming soon.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has released its findings – and its suggested improvements – for both the Liberty Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard intersections following its “Congested Corridor” studies of the areas.

At “the complicated intersection where Woodhaven Boulevard, Liberty Avenue,
Rockaway Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevards meet,” according to the DOT, the agency is planning to install sidewalk extensions and medians to shorten crossing distances and improve current bus stop locations.

With a proposed implementation planned for September, traffic patterns will be redesigned and signal phasing will be modified. The DOT is also proposing to close Liberty Avenue between Cross Bay Boulevard and 95th Street and expand the Greenstreet that currently exists.

Along Rockaway Boulevard, where the DOT says speeding is common and there were 14.2 average pedestrian injuries per year from 2004 to 2008, they may remove one lane of traffic west of 104th Street and two through travel lanes east of 104th Street (except at junctions with the Van Wyck Expressway, Liberty Avenue, and Woodhaven/Cross Bay Boulevards).

With a proposed start date of August, center medians with left turn bays will also be installed to make turning easier and improve traffic flows.

The DOT also has a plan to help alleviate speeding along Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel.

DOT representatives will be at the June 3 Community Board 10 meeting, according to CB 10 District Manager Karyn Petersen.

“So much was involved, we knew the community had to be involved,” said Petersen, who noted there will be an “extensive public review process” and comment period.

The DOT has said the plans won't be publicly available until after they are presented to the Community Boards.

Assemblymember Audrey Pheffer, who has said the areas’ traffic patterns need improvement, noted that one concern of hers is the potential loss of parking spaces – and the impact on area businesses.

“We have a thriving area there,” she said. “We don’t want to hurt people’s businesses or see people get hurt.”

Pheffer is pushing for a walk-through with the DOT.

“There’s some of it we like, some of it is a little extreme,” she told The Courier. “We want them to explain to us and see what its like in the car.”

The next meeting of CB 10 will be on June 3 at 7:45 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, 135-45 Lefferts Boulevard.