2010-05-14 / Top Stories

DOT Revises Boulevard Safety Improvements

Ulrich Allocates $375,000 For Project
By Miriam Rosenberg

The changes came in the wake of a number of accidents on Cross Bay Boulevard, some of them deadly The changes came in the wake of a number of accidents on Cross Bay Boulevard, some of them deadly As a result of suggestions made by members of Community Board 14 and Broad Channel residents, a plan to make safety improvements along Cross Bay Boulevard has been revised.

Maura McCarthy, the Queens Borough Commissioner for the Department of Transportation, detailed the changes that will be partially funded by a $375,000 allocation from Councilman Eric Ulrich, during this month’s Community Board 14 meeting on Tuesday evening.

McCarthy said the Deparment Of Transportation listened to suggestions made in previous meetings – first in front of the Queens Community Board chairs, district managers and elected officials and then in front of all community board transit committees.

“At each of those meetings I have attended we have made modifications trying to [propose fixes] for the comments we have received,” said McCarthy.

Maura McCarthy, the Queens Borough Commissioner for the Department of Transportation explains the changes to the Cross Bay Boulevard/Broad Channel safety plan to Community Board 14. Maura McCarthy, the Queens Borough Commissioner for the Department of Transportation explains the changes to the Cross Bay Boulevard/Broad Channel safety plan to Community Board 14. The new plan eliminates the street bike lane in the southbound direction leaving instead what McCarthy called “an off street bike and pedestrian walkway.” The northbound bike lane will be widened.

“In the future, we hope to have two lanes in each direction, a buffer on either side of the median, a buffer between the bike lane in the northbound direction and the elimination of the bike lane in the southbound direction.

“We would provide turning lanes [with] the opportunity to make u-turns where there are cut-throughs on the boulevard. The two lanes in each direction, we believe, would reduce speeding.”

McCarthy also announced that the DOT would be installing guardrails on the side of the road in the southbound direction.

“Your councilmember has funded it at $375,000,” she said.

While McCarthy said the DOT believes the changes would decrease speeding, many board members felt the agency’s plan would only choke traffic and other options such as enforcing traffic laws and installing lights and cameras would be more effective.

To relieve the ponding of water on Cross Bay Boulevard, McCarthy said the whole road would need to be reconstructed.

“It would be a major, major capital project and frankly we don’t have the dollars to do that right now,” she said. “When that road is reconstructed the ponding will be addressed, but it will not be addressed right now.”

McCarthy also said, “We will incorporate as much as [is feasible of] what I am hearing from the community into our project. We will do something. I don’t know what that something is. I do not believe we will be putting traffic signals in. I’m being very honest with everybody.

She added, “I don’t know what this final project is going to look like, but something is going to be done on Cross Bay Boulevard.”

Following McCarthy’s presentation, the board passed a motion proposed by board member Dan Mundy.

The board opposed the DOT plan and proposed that “the guardrail be installed on the western side on Cross Bay Boulevard to protect the people walking along the pathway, and that the study for traffic lights at 1st Road and other appropriate places along the boulevard to reduce the speeding be continued …, and to alleviate the flooding at 1st Road on both sides that the catch basins be cleaned out.”

Mundy told The Wave the connecting pipes to the catch basins are probably clogged.

“They [need to] be cleaned out or replaced as necessary so that the flooding conditions can be alleviated without going into a capital project like [McCarthy’s] saying.”

The Broad Channel Civic Association has also expressed their opposition to the DOT plan.

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