2011-09-09 / Community

Safe Streets For Goldie Maple

By Miriam Rosenberg


RBA Group consultant Randy Ide describes the median that would be built from Beach 56 Street to Beach 57 Street on Beach Channel Drive. RBA Group consultant Randy Ide describes the median that would be built from Beach 56 Street to Beach 57 Street on Beach Channel Drive. In a second go-around to bring a safe streets project to the Rockaways, members of Community Board 14’s Transportation Committee heard a new presentation of a project that would improve pedestrian safety around the Goldie Maple Academy.

On August 22, representatives for The RBA Group consulting firm explained the changes proposed for the Beach 56 to 57 Streets area as part of the New York City Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School program.

“The focus is improving safety for schoolchildren and pedestrians,” said Joseph Menzer of RBA Group.

The following are some of the suggested improvements: a median, with a cutthrough to provide safety if a pedestrian is stuck in the middle of the intersection, is proposed from Beach 57 Street to Beach 56 Street on Beach Channel Drive; the roadway on Beach 56 Street and Beach Channel Drive would be realigned; two smaller curb extensions or neckdowns would be installed on Beach 57 Street; on Beach 54 Street and Beach Channel Drive raised medians and neckdowns will be situated on all four corners; a neckdown on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 56 Place; and a series of improvements from the south curb line of RBB to the north curbline at Arverne Boulevard and Beach 56 Place.

“I am very pleased that the D.O.T is bringing back a revised plan to present to the Community Board,” said Danny Ruscillo, the chair of the Transportation Committee. “This will give the entire Community Board the opportunity to make a decision on the revised plan.”

Delores Orr, the chair of CB 14, said, “It’s something that is necessary. I voted in favor of it in June and will again.”

Milan Taylor, the youngest member of CB 14, said, “I’m very pleased to see the city take a proactive approach on child safety rather than waiting for an incident to occur. I will be voting in favor of the proposal if DOT considers the board’s recommendations that were made.”

Zandra Myers said, “I see it as an improvement to the ‘look’ of the community.” Myers said she had reservations about the project when it was tied to fatality stats because she didn’t think those numbers warranted the changes. But she added, “Any fatality is a shame and if this can help stop any hazard, I’m for it.”

A 2006 report by the RBA Group and Urbitran Associates studied Beach 56 to 59 Streets and made suggestions for improvements. It took its data from the state DMV and the NYPD. Between 1998 and 2000 there were 94 accidents, two school related and none fatal, according to the DMV.

NYPD numbers show that between 2001 and 2004 there were 87 accidents, four school related and none fatal.

The project will be presented to Community Board 14 on September 13. It is expected that Queens DOT Commissioner Maura McCarty would give the presentation.

The Safe Routes to School initiative focuses on safety improvements at city schools with the highest accident rates.

Of 1,471 elementary and middle schools Goldie Maple Academy was named one of the 135 “priority” schools identified by the DOT’s Office of School Safety Engineering.

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