A new green streets location is raising questions in Country Club.
Last month, the City Department of Parks and Recreation broke ground on a traffic island at the intersection of Kearney and Rawlins avenues. While the installation will feature a variety of plant life, neighborhood residents are concerned that it could disrupt traffic flow and causea reduction in parking spots.
The Country Club Civic Association, Parks Department representatives and other concerned parties plan to meet at the construction site on Thursday, July 7 at 2 p.m. to discuss the project.
Country Club Civic Association president Marcia Pavlica is enthusiastic about the prospect of more green space in the neighborhood. The traffic island will feature spruce trees, grass and several different types of flowers, but Pavlica says association members are not willing to sacrifice safe roads or their parking spaces.
“The concept is fantastic. They (green streets) are very picturesque,” Pavlica said. “But at the same time there needs to be consideration for the rights of the property owner.”
Whether or not the traffic island would impact parking is the main concern, according to Pavlica.
“That’s one thing that needs to be resolved for this to be community friendly,” she said. “A guarantee that parking in front of homes would not be taken away, is what the residents want.”
While construction is going on, a member of the work crew is usually directing traffic, and there is no sign at the site during non-work hours. Pavlica said that has already led to some cars going against traffic on one-way streets.
“There have been no collisions as of yet, but there have been near misses, and this is not the time of year where you need individuals who are a little testy on the road,” said Pavlica, who believes season changes could present unforeseen traffic problems. “A lot of time we say we say ‘oh, this is great,’ but we don’t think about things like snow removal, and the fact that the bend in the road has to be navigated by city buses.”
The meeting was called by Ben Randazzo, chief-of-staff for Assemblyman Michael Benedetto. Randazzo said that while his office is not directly involved with the site, he had some knowledge of it from when it was initially proposed as a green street location three years ago and then scrapped due to lack of funding. He convened the street-side meeting after Pavlica reached out to him.
“The goal of the meeting is to maybe resize the green street site so that it’s more convenient,” Randazzo said. “The number-one concern is parking spaces, and we’ll find out about that on Thursday.”
A Parks Department spokesperson said “Parks and DOT are currently working together to re-evaluate this design.”