CB 14 Approves Safe Streets Plan
Following a second presentation by the Department of Transportation, on Tuesday Community Board 14 approved a plan that would improve pedestrian safety around PS 333, the Goldie Maple Academy, located on Beach 56 Street.
CB 14 revisited the school safety plan, which was originally presented to them last June, when it came together for its first meeting of the year on September 20.
As reported at the beginning of this month, some of the suggested improvements include a median on Beach Channel Drive, from Beach 57 Street to Beach 56 Street. That median would include a cut-through to provide safety if a pedestrian is stuck in the middle of the intersection. The median, or ‘green refuse island,’ will be six inches in height and include trees planted on it.
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.
Joseph Menzer, of the consulting firm the RBA Group, explained that neckdowns “shorten the crossing distance and slow [down] vehicles.”
During normal times, there will continue to be one lane of traffic going in each direction plus bike paths on Rockaway Beach Boulevard. In an emergency, such as cases of evacuation, there will be two lanes on each side of the median. According to those making the presentation, the FDNY and NYPD have signed off on this plan.
As per a request from the board, the DOT will conduct a study examining the need for a left turn signal on Beach 56 Place. The results of the study should be known by February or March. Maura McCarty, the Queens Commissioner for the DOT, told the board that requested countdown signals in the area “will be considered in the next contract.”
While the board did address decorative fencing for the median, the issue was not resolved, but Menzer cautioned against it.
“The reason we do not recommend fencing is that people still cross mid-block and get stuck,” Menzer said.
The project finished its final design phase this summer. “It will be advertised this winter and begin in the spring,” said Menzer.