The Morris Park Community Association will host a town hall about a contentious traffic plan.
The MPCA will sponsor the open forum to hear the community’s reaction to a ‘road diet’ proposal for Morris Park Avenue put forth by the NYC Department of Transportation at a town hall-style meeting that will gather on Wednesday, November 28.
The meeting will be held at P.S. 83 at 7 p.m., said Frank Agovino, MPCA vice president.
The plan, part of a citywide initiative to improve pedestrian safety called Vision Zero, would see Morris Park Avenue’s current two lane roadways (including travel lanes and combined travel/parking lanes) in both directions reduced to a single travel lane in either direction between Bronxdale and Newport avenues.
Additionally, as in other communities that have implemented the road narrowing to slow down traffic, a 10-foot-wide turn bay and flush median would be added in the middle of Morris Park Avenue, along with five-foot-wide bike lanes in both direction, according to a DOT proposal.
Agovino said that he believes the DOT proposal, which has already received a cool reception from the leadership of local community groups, would have unintended consequences and would be harmful to the quality of life in Morris Park.
“We are concerned that the plan will increase congestion,” said Agovino of the commercial shopping strip, adding, “Especiallly on our side streets.”
Agovino said reducing the travel lanes would force car traffic to side-streets that are in some cases already seeing an increase in traffic congestion.
“The Morris Park Community Association is there fighting for the community and we are hoping that the Morris Park community will come out and express their feelings on this proposal,” said Agovino.
The MPCA vice president also expressed his concern that the BX10 and BX21 bus routes would encounter slower service.
Additionally, Agovino said he was worried about the first responders.
“FDNY ambulances use Morris Park Avenue as a route to get to the hospitals,” he said, indicating that the impact on Jacobi Medical Center’s and Einstein Hospital’s must be taken into consideration.
“I am also concerned about what will happen when the loading zones are implemented on the avenue,”Agovino said.
When asked about DOT’s Corridor Safety Improvement plan for Morris Park Avenue, Councilman Mark Gjonaj said that he believes that a Metro North Station, being planned for Morris Park Avenue’s terminus at Stillwell Avenue, must also be taken into consideration.
The councilman said that there still has to be a study conducted in regard to the impact of traffic concerning the planned Metro North station.
“We obviously have congestion which we see day in and day out,” said Gjonaj, adding, “When you have congestion, you are supposed to invest in roads and expand.”
He added: “You are supposed to take two lanes and make three lanes, not go the other way.”
The councilman said that as a public servant he plans to represent the will of the people and the resonse he has received so far indicates that the community is opposed to the plan.