2006-08-18 / Editorial/Opinion


Be Careful What You Wish For

The Department of Transportation added insult to injury last week by changing the 'No Parking" signs on the south side of Shore Front Parkway to "No Standing Any Time." That might seem like a benign change to those who live on the beachfront parkway, but to those who come to the beach from other parts of Rockaway and from steamier venues in the city, that change means that they can stop and unload their family members, but they cannot unload their beach chairs, coolers and other beach paraphernalia before searching for a parking spot elsewhere. In addition, on Tuesday, DOT crews painted no parking lines along the entire median that runs from Shore Front Parkway to Rockaway Beach Boulevard on Beach 73 St., further restricting parking in the area where thousands of new homes are being built and where thousands of new residents will one day soon seek parking spaces. Perhaps there are some, perhaps many, who are happy to make it harder on those who come to our beaches from other areas, but this has always been a beach community and we should make it easier for people to use our beaches, not more difficult. When we take away parking for beach-goers, we take away parking for residents as well. Access to the beach is only one problem that the DOT has created, however. Jonathon Gaska, the district manager for Community Board 14, who has been involved with the SFP redevelopment from the beginning, told The Wave that the agency "moved too quickly without really thinking about the ramifications of their changes. "[The DOT} really has to do a significant job of tweaking Shore Front Parkway in terms of handicapped access, turn-arounds and the width of the present bike path," he said. City Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr., has also added his voice to a call for the road to be redesigned. One major change has to be the reopening of the turn-arounds that lead to the high-rise housing complexes that line the roadway. While the DOT says that it is being proactive in stopping accidents at those turn-arounds before they happen, there have been no accidents of note at those breaks in the median for the past fifteen years. It is one thing to be proactive. It is entirely another thing to be paranoid about what might happen. Gaska adds that the present bike path is too narrow for two bikers to pass each other and that too many people park in the bike lane. All in all, the redevelopment of the roadway completed by the DOT last month lacks even basic thought and planning. When the community asked for two traffic lights to remediate the problem on the beach road, they did not ask for the complete and destructive redesign process that the DOT gave to them. The agency should meet with community representatives to hear all of the complaints and then it should go back to the drawing board. When dealing with city agencies, the mantra has to be, "be careful what you ask for, you might just get it, as well as lots that you did not ask for.

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