Plans for pedestrian plazas in Glendale and Ridgewood will come before Community Board 5 on July 11, following a review of city plans last week.
The board’s Transportation Committee will recommend several changes to proposals presented on June 28 by the city’s Department of Transportation.
The first proposal deals with a permanent plaza for the triangle formed by 70th Street to the west, Myrtle Avenue to the north and Cooper Avenue to the south, just west of where Cooper and Myrtle intersect in Glendale.
Emily Weidenhof, a project manager for the DOT, said the idea was first broached in 2009 by the Ridgewood Local Development Corp. The city plan would close 70th Street to vehicular traffic between Myrtle and Cooper.
The triangle would get decorative elevated planters, trees and benches to foster a park atmosphere. The existing war memorial would remain prominently featured.
Supports for placement of the neighborhood Christmas tree would be installed, as would watering facilities for the new plants and electrical infrastructure for the tree lighting and community events that will be held there.
A smaller triangle across the intersection where 71st Street crosses the Myrtle-Cooper intersection also would be blocked off to traffic.
Turns for large tractor trailers would be eliminated or severely restricted.
CB 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri said they originally sought backless benches in the plaza to discourage the homeless from trying to sleep on them, but senior citizens said they found backless benches difficult to use.
Weidenhof said both sides can be accommodated by use of a standard metal DOT bench that has a back, but also has raised arm rests at regular intervals, making them difficult for anyone to stretch out on.
She and Ted Renz of the Ridgewood Local Development Corp. said the LDC would be in charge of maintaining the plaza.
Weidenhof said drivers accustomed to heading south on 70th Street and north on 71st have ample alternatives to detour around the proposed closures with little or no inconvenience. She also said the impact of detoured traffic onto other streets would be minimal.
Arcuri and others said they still would need to address traffic coming out of the drive-through lane from the McDonald’s restaurant at Cooper and 70th Street.
He also would like to see a stop light installed on Cooper at 68th or 69th streets; and will ask the full board to consider asking the DOT to make 71st Place, now a southbound street, northbound between Cooper to the north and Myrtle to the south only in an effort to alleviate potential eastbound turning conflicts.
The second proposal would use painted lines and other infrastructure to establish a temporary pedestrian plaza at the junction of 71st Avenue, Myrtle Avenue and Steven Street in Ridgewood.
It would require closing a small section at the end of 71st Avenue that both Weidenhof and CB 5 officials say would have almost no impact on traffic.
Should the trial prove popular, the city would move to make it permanent.
Renz said the area was under consideration in the late 1970s when the city established two other plazas to the west, including one dedicated to slain NYPD Detective Anthony Venditti, when the city ran out of money for the project.