Dec. 30, 2013 By Christian Murray
It’s been a year since the Department of Transportation said that 5th Street (between 46th Road and 50th Avenue) needed to be converted into a one-way street, citing its narrow width.
“When cars are parked on both sides of 5th Street, there’s only 16-18 feet for two-way traffic,” said Queens Borough DOT Commissioner Dalila Hall in a presentation before Community Board 2 last January.
Hall said 5th Street is only 30 feet wide and poses safety concerns. “That can be harrowing,” she said.
The DOT had planned to turn 5th Street into a one-way southbound street, with two speed bumps from 48th Avenue and 49th Avenue, in March. Community Board 2 unanimously approved the conversion that month.
“They told us that they were ready to go and were just waiting for our [Community Board 2’s] recommendation,” said Joe Conley, chairman of Community Board 2. He said he then touched base a couple of months later wondering why it had not be completed and was told that there were delays.
However, at the CB2 Transportation Committee meeting in December, Conley asked Hall for an update.
Hall said that the DOT has had problems converting it to a one-way street due to construction projects on the street and the fact that children are now in school.
“We have been waiting for a time period [to do the job],” Hall said. “Typically we do it during spring break or summer…when we get a good period of time.”
“And construction…all these things are complicating the process,” Hall said.
However after the meeting Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Conley lashed out at this explanation.
“I think any delay in making streets safer for children is foolish and potentially deadly and they should move on it right away,” Van Bramer said.
“They have a long holiday now in which they could do it,” Conley said. “They have fallen down on the job. Sometimes the answers we get are laughable.”