The City Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) has begun a comprehensive $5.7 million project to rehabilitate the retaining walls of the Cooper Avenue underpass in Glendale, but a proposal to convert 74th Street one-way northbound has drawn criticism from the community. The street is currently one-way southbound.
Council Member Elizabeth Crowley (D-30, Queens) opposes the proposed street conversion and wrote a letter to DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Maura McCarthy asking the department to reverse its decision.
“I strongly urge the DOT to listen to the wishes of the community and postpone the proposed change for 74th Street,” said Council Member Crowley. “The attempt to calm traffic and improve safety is admirable, but the DOT is using outdated numbers.”
“This plan does not best represent the needs of the community. Local businesses have been operating under the current configuration for two or three generations and they have voiced their opposition to this plan,” said Assemblyman Mike Miller. “Residents have circulated a petition against this proposal. Any street conversion, such as this one, should be brought to the attention of the community for more intensive scrutiny. The local residents are opposed to this plan. The plan is seeking to remedy a safety situation that may not even exist once P.S./I.S. 119 is converted. I am calling on the DOT to cancel this planned conversion.”
“The current plan to reroute 74th Street will be detrimental to the small businesses that have been operating in the community for generations,” said State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. “It will also increase traffic volumes on the surrounding streets making them more dangerous for the pedestrians and school children that use those streets on a daily basis. I strongly urge the DOT to reconsider this proposal and yield to the community of Glendale by not disrupting their safety and quality of life.”
The DOT’s traffic study determined there was a dangerous conflict from drivers turning left off Cooper Avenue to 74th Street at I.S. 119. However, the study was conducted two years ago when the school acted as the middle school for numerous elementary schools around Glendale and Middle Village.
With the recent conversion of I.S. 119 to a locally zoned K-8 school, as well as other similar school conversions throughout the district, the traffic patterns will be vastly different then what the DOT studied. The new enrollment at P.S./I.S. 119 could create new traffic conflicts on 78th Avenue and 73rd Place if the 74th Street is converted one-way southbound. Council Member Crowley is calling on the DOT to wait until P.S./I.S. 119 is at full capacity and conduct another traffic study.
Council Member Crowley, Senator Addabbo, and Assemblyman Miller all sent a letter to the DOT urging the department to reconsider its plans. The three legislators also sent a joint letter to constituents alerting them that they stand with the community against the change to 74th Street and will continue pressuring the DOT.