The new greenstreet construction site at the intersection of Kearney and Rawlins Avenues will add some greenery to Country Club, but some fear it will be nothing but a traffic island.
At a street-corner summit on Thursday, July 7, concerned parties discussed their hopes and fears about the project. Representatives from the Parks Department, the New York City Department of Transportation, the Country Club Civic Association and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto’s office discussed some of the inconveniences it posed.
Residents of the homes adjacent to the greenstreet site are mostly worried they will lose curb-side parking. Although unlikely, DOT representatives at the meeting said the loss of parking was a possibility, so that city buses could maneuver around the traffic island.
Marcia Pavlica, president of the Country Club Civic Association, said she loved the idea of the greenstreet site, but that it may have unintended consequences.
“I think the intention of Parks was not to interfere with parking,” Pavlica said. “But parking here at night can be very difficult.”
DOT engineer Vitaly Gutman would not rule out the potential loss of spaces, but assuaged fears by pointing out that the size of the construction site was not indicative of the greenstreet’s finished size.
Another aspect of the construction that has Country Club residents concerned is the way traffic flows around it. Since ground was broken in late June, drivers have been getting confused and have taken a shortcut around the site, that briefly sends them the wrong way down a one-way street.
Once construction is complete cars will have more room to circumvent the island. The site was originally proposed for a greenstreet three years ago, but put on hold due to lack of funding.
Parks landscape architect Barbara Barnes attended the meeting because she was involved with the original selection of the site.
“We saw the traffic patterns, and to me they looked dangerous,” Barnes said.
Ben Randazzo, chief-of-staff for Assemblyman Benedetto, said the meeting was a useful chance for residents to tell Parks and DOT about their concerns, and it may have an impact so that the bus can get by and cars can park.
“(DOT) is going to look into tweaking the line and making the island a little smaller,” Randazzo said.