Monday, December 27, 2010

Parking and Traffic Issues Discussed at CB5

By Eric Yun

The year’s last Community Board 5 was used by board members as a chance to relax and enjoy a holiday party, but plenty of issues were still discussed.

Local elected officials, Council Members Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), Assembly Members Marge Markey (D-Maspeth) and Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven), Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), Representative Anthony Weiner (D-Kew Gardens) and Borough President Helen Marshall wished the community a safe and happy holiday season and New Years.

Crowley also told the community that as the Chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee in the City Council she would con- tinue to fight against closing fire companies and against the FDNY proposal to charge fees for assisting motorists involved in crashes.

No Parking on Flushing Ave.

During the public hearings, William Grodnick, a member of the New York Army National Guard complained about the lack of parking on Flushing Avenue, 59th Avenue and 60th Street because of illegally parked tow trucks from American Auto Towing and Service located at 60-05 Flushing Avenue.

Residents voiced this complaint before. Last year, the Juniper Park Civic Association highlighted how numerous commercial vehicles block fire hydrants, driveways and crosswalks in that area of Maspeth.

Grodnick asked the board to help him contact authorities to clear the street because calls to 311 and the police department have gone unanswered.

“The parking is atrocious over there,” said Grodnick. “I come home from a hard day at work and I can’t find any parking.”

The owner of the company, who identified himself as Sammy, told The Forum that their trucks are parked legally, and the only driveways they block are their own.

However, local residents said the cars from the company are constant nuisances.

“They’re double parking all the time in front of my house,” one homeowner said. “I just want to live in peace.”

The Board asked Grodnick to assemble more facts and pictures and present them at the next Transportation Committee meeting.

Dangers on Mount Olivet Crescent

In other traffic related news, the board discussed changes to Mount Olivet Crescent between Eliot Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue. Repeated requests to install traffic lights at the intersection were finally heeded, but the Board said further analyses need to be conducted.

The problem, explained Vincet Arcuri, Chair of CB 5, is that cars speed down the downhill street towards Metropolitan Avenue to catch the traffic light. This has caused several accidents where drivers have hit side mirrors of parked cars or collided with other vehicles
travelling up the narrow street because they failed to yield.

One suggestion from the board was to make the street one way. However, J.P. DiTroia, President of the Fresh Pond Crematory located at 61-40 Mount Olivet Crescent, protested any changes to traffic regulations.

“Any disturbance of traffic would be a hindrance to the bereaved families,” DiTroia said.

Some suggestions include installing speed bumps along the street, but Arcuri feared speed bumps on a downhill road could lead to disastrous consequences.

World War II Factory Studied

During World War II, many of the small industrial factories around Queens were converted for war-time use. One site at 1127 and 1129 Irving Avenue at the edge of Ridgewood was used as a site for atomic bomb testing and manufacturing.

The Wolff-Alport Chemical Corporation extracted rare earth elements from monazite sand, a mineral found in Brazil, generating the radioactive byproduct thorium, according to
the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The Health Department conducted a thorough survey of the area that was completed in September. The findings were presented at a public meeting held on December 13 in Manhattan.

CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano relayed the Department’s findings. The radioactive materials at the site are not a significant risk to the workers or the sur- rounding community, the Health Department said.

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