June 2, 2014 By Christian Murray
The Department of Transportation plans to convert 5th Street (btw. 46th Road and 50th Ave.) into a one-way, south bound street in July or August.
Vikram Sinha, a Department of Transportation planner, told a community board committee last Tuesday that it would be done between July 4 and the start of the new school year.
He said that the DOT is going to do the work while school is out for summer, so parents are less likely to be impacted.
The primary reason for the change is that the street is too narrow and has become a hazard. When cars are parked on both sides of the street, there’s only 16-18 feet for two-way traffic, the DOT has said.
However, members of Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee—who have been advocating for the conversion for about 18 months– were not satisfied by Sinha’s announcement that the conversion would finally be done. They were upset that the conversion is not likely to be accompanied by the traffic calming measures they had anticipated.
They had thought that speed bumps would be installed as part the one-way conversion process. However, Sinha said that speed bumps were a separate issue and that they would be done at a different time, when resources became available.
Sheila Lewandowski, a Long Island City resident and member of the transportation committee, said at last Tuesday’s meeting that this was particularly concerning. “Once it becomes a one-way south bound [street], it’s going to be a thoroughfare. We don’t want a one-way thoroughfare without traffic calming.”
Two speed humps along 5th Street had been approved by the community board in March 2013.
The DOT has no plans to put a stop sign on the street anytime soon. “Every time we do a study it gets rejected because of low traffic volume due to construction in the area,” Sinha said.
Lewandowski said the DOT could make projections as to the volume of traffic based on the number of children at local schools. “