Residents took to the floor at the Community Board 9 meeting this week to voice their opposition to the city’s proposal to redirect traffic on two streets in Woodhaven and Ozone Park.
CB 9 had been scheduled to vote at its Tuesday night meeting on the city Department of Transportation’s plan to change 84th Street from one-way northbound to one-way southbound from Liberty to Atlantic avenues and convert 89th Avenue from a two-way to a one-way street running eastbound between Woodhaven Boulevard and 97th Street. However, following an outcry from residents, including state Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) and Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association President Ed Wendell, Queens Transportation Commissioner Maura McCarthy scheduled a public forum on the matter on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Ozone Park and CB 9 officials postponed their decision.
Residents who spoke at the meeting said the city’s plan would severely limit access into Woodhaven.
“It is extremely unfair to take away our one northbound street,” Woodhaven resident Diane Yodice said at the meeting.
Alex Glatt, also of Woodhaven, agreed with Yodice, saying, “I resent that 84th Street could be changed.”
Wendell did not speak at the meeting, though he has said that the proposed change to 84th Street would eliminate one of the main northbound entry points into Woodhaven. If the city’s plan is approved, only Woodhaven Boulevard and 76th Street would remain as northbound roads that cross Atlantic Avenue.
“Residents and shoppers will have to go blocks east or west to get into Woodhaven,” Wendell wrote. “How will this impact emergency services? How will this impact Engine 293 when they are returning from a run on the other side of Atlantic?”
While Wendell said the proposed change to 89th Avenue may be less controversial, there is still a concern that the street used to be a “straight ride” through Woodhaven from 98th to 85th streets.
“In fact, it was identified as one of Woodhaven’s primary roads” by the city Department of Sanitation “in the aftermath of last winter’s blizzards,” Wendell wrote.
After being contacted by a number of residents upset with the plan, Miller reached out to CB 9 and the DOT to request that the vote be postponed. On his weekly Friday radio show, Wendell praised Miller for his actions.
While a number of residents said they had not been notified of the change and found out about it only days before what was to be Tuesday’s vote, CB 9 Chairwoman Andrea Crawford said board officials had sent out numerous mailings to individuals in the neighborhood. She also stressed that the community board did not ask for the street changes, but that it is a city proposal.
“This board, this staff is very diligent in sending out notices about neighborhood or community changes,” said Crawford, who encouraged residents to attend the Feb. 1 forum.
CB 9 District Manager Mary Ann Carey also emphasized that the board is “here to serve you.”