The NYC Department of Transportation’s latest ‘road diet’ plan is now written on macadam in the Castle Hill area.
Throughout the city the DOT has instituted the plan, which usually eliminates travel lanes on major thoroughfares.
In Castle Hill specifically, Castle Hill Avenue will see a reduction in driving lanes from East Tremont Avenue to Hart Avenue.
According to a DOT spokesperson, Parker Avenue to Westchester Avenue will have one lane in either direction, a painted median and left turn bays, and a bike lane in either direction.
From Newbold Avenue to Powell Avenue, there will be one lane northbound and two lanes southbound.
In addition there will be bike lanes in each direction.
Finally, from Story Avenue to Hart Avenue there will now be one lane in either direction, a painted median and left turn bays and a bike lane in either direction.
The spokesperson added that, “In the areas along Castle Hill Avenue where there will be no changes to roadway capacity, DOT will be adding parking lane stripes and lane markings, high-visibility crosswalks, as well as shared lane bike markings.”
DOT has previously said these road diet initiatives are implemented to reduce vehicle speed and create safer conditions for pedestrians.
The plans are apart of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero Initiative which promotes safer commutes for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Bob Bieder, resident of Castle Hill, said the plan is “utterly ridiculous.”
“Pedestrian safety is all well and good,” said Bieder. “We have no argument against that.”
He continued, “But the way they went about trying to create pedestrian safety just isn’t working.”
Bieder, owner of Westchester Square Plumbing Supply, said one of the issues that arises from the new lane structure comes from double parking.
He said people regularly double park on Castle Hill Avenue.
Prior to the fixes, motorists had an extra lane to maneuver around the double parkers.
Now, said Bieder, they may be forced to cross over into the oncoming lane to avoid double-parked cars.
William Rivera, district manager for Community Board 9, said the DOT did a good job meeting with the community board multiple times in the past year to discuss the upcoming changes.
Rivera said initially there were concerns from the community about traffic but said he would wait and see what happens once the work was completed.
He said “now that the markings are down and we see the realistic effects” the community board will be meeting again to discuss how they can go back to DOT and ask for help with the traffic concerns.
Rivera said the meeting was scheduled to take place on Thursday.
The changes at Castle Hill are the second road diet plan to come to the area.
In October, the DOT completed similar changes on East Tremont between Waterbury Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard.
The Throggs Neck community was also frustrated with the changes.
The road diet plan even arose during a Town Hall meeting with Mayor de Blasio in August.
The mayor defended his Vision Zero initiative, saying it had “saved many dozens of lives”, and he said he supported the East Tremont Avenue plan.