BY JON CRONIN
Community Board 9 members and Kew Gardens residents who live along 116th and 118th streets are in vehement disagreement regarding one-way conversions and speed humps on those respective streets.
MK Moore, a resident of 116th Street, displayed a petition with 329 signatures of 116th and 118th Street resident signatures that supported one-way conversions on those streets and speed humps on 116th Street, citing narrow passage and excessive speeding as problems.
J. Richard Smith, CB 9’s new chairman, stated that he had no problem with the conversion of 116th Street, but he could not find anyone “in person” to say that they wanted the change on 118th Street. Smith added that the residents should include their names and addresses on the petition.
Moore stood up and reiterated that he had 329 names and addresses on his petition, prompting Smith to respond, “Sit down, Mr. Moore, sit down.”
Smith said he believed that if the board voted to move forward with the implementation and the residents didn’t understand the situation, CB 9 would be blamed for the change.
“As far as the street changes, I would vote neutral,” he said. “Not ‘yes’ and not ‘no.’”
CB 9 received letters from Nicole Garcia, the city Department of Transportation’s Queens borough commissioner, that recommended safety and traffic circulation capability, a one-way conversion on 116th Street and a reverse of the direction of 118th Street to create a north-south pairing for the streets. The conversions would be between Metropolitan Avenue and Curzon Street.
Garcia wrote in her letter to Lisa Gomes, the district manager of CB 9, that “the conversion will help alleviate opposing vehicle friction due to the narrow width of 116th Street.” She added that it would also reinstate parking on the narrow roadway.
In another letter from March, Garcia wrote to Gomes that the DOT also recommended speed humps on 116th Street between Curzon Road and 84th Avenue as well as between 84th and 85th avenues.
Kenichi Wilson, the chairman of CB 9’s transportation committee, stated at the May 8 CB 9 meeting, “The illusion is [that] we’ve already taken a vote to turn down the conversion.”
During the transportation committee’s April meeting, board members voted against the speed-humps proposal.
“Even though we voted it down, I’ve continued to do public outreach,” said Wilson.
He added that at the transportation committee meeting on May 22, the board will reveal the outcome of public outreach regarding the conversion and the speed humps.