Fewer travel lanes proposed for Morris Park Ave. corridor

Fewer travel lanes proposed for Morris Park Ave. corridor
A rendering of the existing streetscape on Morris Park Avenue between Melville Street and Newport Avenue is contrasted in this NYC DOT graphic to a proposed Vision Zero plan for the traffic flow on the avenue.
Photo courtesy of DOT

A proposed traffic pattern change for a well travelled thoroughfare has some expressing misgivings.

The NYC Department of Transportation has proposed ‘traffic calming’ for Morris Park Avenue between Melville Street and Newport Avenue.

A meeting at Community Board 11 is set for discussion on the matter.

DOT representatives will be on hand at CB 11’s Transportation Committee meeting and public hearing on Monday, February 5.

The plans the city agency presented CB 11 in January would dramatically alter the area’s driver’s habits.

It takes place Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Lubin Hall at 1200 Van Nest Avenue at 7 p.m.

The plan calls for changing the lane configuration of the avenue from what is currently a 19-foot-wide combined travel and parking lane and a 11-foot-wide travel lane in each direction of the roadway.

DOT proposes a nine foot wide parking lane, a five foot wide bike lane and an 11-foot-wide travel lane in each direction, along with a 10-foot-wide lane for left turns in the center of the avenue.

“I saw the proposal that they made and I wasn’t too impressed with it,” said Vincent Prezioso, CB 11 Transportation Committee chairman. “I am hoping to see if they are going to make any changes to it.”

Additional ideas include creating a ‘right turn only’ regulation at Unionport Road, and maintaining two lanes eastbound approaching Unionport Road and Amethyst Street and in both directions near Bronxdale Avenue.

Jeremy Warneke, CB 11 district manager, said that he expects more concerns to arise in part because it reduces travel lanes on the avenue from four lanes to two.

“We want to make sure as many people as possible are aware of it,” said Warneke. “We expect widespread opposition.”

The proposed changes are part of city’s Vision Zero, a program that seeks to reduce traffic fatalities.

The Morris Park Community Association believes that the proposal as it stands now, if put into effect, would lead to massive increases in traffic on residential side streets parallel to Morris Park Avenue, said Al D’Angelo, organization president.

“I want no part of it,” said D’Angelo, “It’s terrible that they want to remove lanes.”

The MPCA president said he believes that side streets like Van Nest, Neill and Rhinelander avenues would get more traffic, hurting small business along Morris Park Avenue as traffic slows through the corridor.

He suggested keeping the current configuration but putting left turn arrow lights at intersections, installing speed cameras and angled parking.

Silvio Mazzella of the MPCA said that he believes not many people would use the bicycle lanes.

“Morris Park Avenue is a Vision Zero Priority Corridor with 7.6 pedestrians killed or severely injured per mile,” said a DOT spokeswoman. “Safety improvements here would include organizing traffic, reducing speeding, creating safer turns, and enhancing pedestrian visibility.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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