Even though the southern border of her neighborhood is Linden Boulevard, Margaret Finnerty, president of the Richmond Hill South Civic Association, said her community is affected by what goes on far outside that boundary.
Her focus is now on a section of Lefferts Boulevard in South Ozone Park, a mile or so from her neighborhood, where the Department of Transportation is looking to reduce the number of lanes from two in each direction to one between 149th Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard. Finnerty said the plan, presented to Community Board 10 on Oct. 4, will be detrimental to residents of her neighborhood.
Created in response to a number of accidents along the stretch, some fatal, the plan has been met with a range of reactions from skepticism to rage. Finnerty, a member of CB 10, had a reaction closer to the latter, and now she’s ready to take on the fight, even though the changes are happening outside her neighborhood.
“I can’t just stand still and let it happen,” Finnerty said.
Finnerty will begin circulating a petition to residents and store owners asking them to oppose the DOT’s plan beginning this Thursday at her group’s meeting. She said she had spoken to other civic leaders in South Ozone Park opposed to the plan.
Lefferts Boulevard is a major thoroughfare for Richmond Hill residents heading for the Belt Parkway and JFK Airport, she warned, and it could create problems for these residents and the stores they shop in.
“This is going to affect everybody who wants to leave the community,” she said. “It’s going to hurt the store owners.”
Finnerty pointed to the DOT’s alteration of Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park and South Ozone Park in 2011 where one lane was removed as causing a traffic headache.
The Richmond Hill South Civic Association’s October meeting with be held Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the United Methodist Church at 112-14 107 Ave. Finnerty said those concerned with the changes are welcome to attend.