It looks like a proposed roadway project that has stirred up a community is a ‘fait accompli.’
One of the most fervent opponents of the ‘road diet’ plan that would reduce the number of travel lanes on East Tremont Avenue between Waterbury Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard advocated for quashing the plan at a town hall meeting with the mayor at Villa Barone Manor on Wednesday, August 10.
Despite advocacy by merchant John Cerini, both the mayor and Councilman James Vacca, who hosted the meeting along with several community groups, said that they were in favor of the road diet plan. The plan would also create a dedicated left turn lane and new pedestrian markings at Whittemore Street.
DOT officials said at the meeting that they expect the lane change to be implemented by September.
Community Board 10 rejected the plan developed by the NYC Department of Transportation in 2015, but Vacca moved the plan along after the fatality of a cyclist in June.
“We think this will save lives and protect people,” said the mayor.
The councilman said that the group opposing the plan, by word-of mouth and robo-calls, had spread misinformation.
“I thought that we handled it well by telling the truth about what it is,” said Vacca, stressing that if for any reason the plan did not work, it could be reexamined.
“This is only paint (on the street),” said the councilman.
Cerini acknowledged that the ‘road diet’ protest comprised of members of the Throggs Neck Merchants, Throggs Neck Home Owners Association and Waterbury LaSalle Community Association, fell short.
“While I can appreciate and respect that they feel they are doing right by the community, part of doing what is right by the community is for them to listen to the constituents and have a discussion…instead of arbitrarily making a decision,” said Cerini
Activist John Marano, who also opposes the DOT plan, said that the town hall did not offer much of a chance to share concerns regarding the lane reduction plan beyond an exchange between Cerini, the councilman and the mayor.
“I think we are all in agreement that something definitely needs to be done along this part of East Tremont Avenue, and I just don’t think the road diet is the way to go,” said Marano.
“(It’s) removing a needed lane from each side of the roadway away from us; it not only affects our businesses, but also our quality of life.”