BY JON CRONIN
Some Glendale residents are opposing the reversal of traffic on 81st Street from northbound to southbound as part of the City Department of Transportation Vision Zero pedestrian safety program, despite supporting other aspects of the program.
“By and large it’s a good plan,” said Brian Dooley, president of the Glendale Property Owners Association, spoke before Community Board 5 last week.
He noted, “the street hashing and the stops signs are desperately needed at the intersection,” which he described as “basically kind of a dog leg turn.”
Dooley said with all the traffic restrictions on 78th Avenue due to the schools, “It’s pushed traffic on to 77th Avenue, which is largely unrestricted so people have been flying from 79th Place to 88th Street in Glendale.
It’s created a very hazardous situation along 77th Avenue.”
He believes the 81th Street change from north to south will be bad for safety along 78th Avenue because it’s going to cause traffic heading towards the Q29 bus route and come to a head right at that intersection of 78th Avenue and 81st Street.
Dooley added that the residents of that block are going to have to circle around to 79th Place, four or five blocks out of the way to get into their driveway.
He reiterated, “It’s a great plan,” but he’s hoping we can work with the CB 5 Transportation Committee and the DOT to find another solution to reserve the flow on traffic on 81st Street.
A DOT spokesperson later said the plan is for “DOT will implement pedestrian safety improvements later this month at 77th Ave at 81st St, including reverse the traffic direction to southbound only on 81st St between 77th Ave and 78th Ave; relocate the crosswalk across 81st St to the north side of 77th Ave; and add two new crosswalks on 77th Ave. The goal of this safety improvement project is to create safer pedestrian crossings, calm traffic, and clarify pedestrian movements in the area. DOT will monitor the area after implementation of this pedestrian safety project.”
Gary Giordano, district manager for CB 5 said, “We’ve been after them for a while to make traffic and safety improvement specifically at that intersection.” He said they applied for four way stop signs at that intersection, but had been denied at least two or three times with the DOT citing that there was not enough vehicular traffic for four way stops signs.
Rich Huber, a CB 5 transportation committee member, said at the meeting that these are unintended consequences of government actions. He doesn’t believe it will alleviate traffic but change traffic to another location. Grids are for continuity of flow.
He suspects that this change in the flow of traffic is actually a plan to bring traffic to the intersection of 77th Avenue and 81st Street to create the need for the four way stop.
Rosa Rizzo, a resident of 81st Street, said most of the resident would like to the road to remain the same. “The solution is not changing the direction,” she stated. She noted that on 81st Avenue drivers often speed and don’t anticipate a bend in the road heading towards 78th Avenue “I don’t think that was considered,” Rizzo added.
Some residents suggested a speed bump instead. Vinnie Arcuri, chairman of CB 5 noted that the blind spot under the 80th Street bridge creates a lack of visibility, which could not be solved with a speed bump.
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin