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Queens Chronicle

Turn bay proposed for Metropolitan Ave

Residents and Community Board 6 split over effectiveness of addition

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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:45 am, Thu Sep 26, 2013.

A turning lane may be coming to the busy intersection of Metropolitan and 71st-Continental avenues in Forest Hills.

At last week’s Community Board 6 meeting, the Department of Transportation presented their findings after conducting a survey of the area.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Hannah Doherty, a Forest Hills resident, said. “It’s so clogged here all the time and people get so angry when you try and make that left turn. A designated lane might clear things up a bit.”

Though the proposed turning lane could ease traffic flow, several parking spaces along Metropolitan Avenue would have to be eliminated to accommodate an additional lane, a sacrifice that some are not prepared to make.

“It’s hard enough to park in this area and now they’re going to take away spots?” Gene Knowles, a Rego Park resident, said. “I get it wouldn’t be that many but this area is so congested as it is. Why take away more parking?”

At the CB 6 meeting, board members debated each side of the argument after the DOT presented and has not come up with a unanimous decision yet.

Some board members inquired about installing a turn signal in addition to a turn bay, but a DOT spokesman said that a turn signal does not meet federal transportation guidelines.

Others complained taking away spaces would not be in the best interest of the area, but the DOT reportedly determined that the spots that would be phased out for a turn bay remain unused 86 percent of the time.

CB 6 District Manager Frank Gulluscio said that he is asking the Transportation Committee to more closely review the proposal and make a recommendation to the board during the October meeting.

The push for a turning lane comes, in part, after a series of car accidents involving pedestrians — including one death — took place at the apex of the major roadways.

“If this is going to make the area safer for me and my kids to cross the street then I’m all for it,” Colleen Hunt, a Forest Hills resident, said. “What are a few parking spaces compared to saving people’s lives? I just don’t see how that is a viable argument.”

The issue will be revisted at the next general board meeting on Oct. 9.

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