November 23, 2019

Community Board 11
    Attention: Transportation Committee
46-21 Little Neck Parkway
Little Neck, New York 11362

To the Committee:

On September 22 the Westmoreland Association, which represents the residents of the Westmoreland section of Little Neck, wrote to the CB-11 Transportation Committee regarding our concerns about the chaotic and unsafe traffic situation during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up periods.  In that letter we reported that at our September 16 meeting, specific recommendations for improving traffic situation around the school were proposed and approved by the members in attendance.  We asked the Committee to consider those recommendations and, if you concur, then bring them to the full Board for approval and referral to the NYC Department of Transportation.  

 

At our November 18 meeting there was further discussion of this issue.  The members present voted to amend our recommendations by removing the suggestion that 43rd Avenue be made One Way towards Little Neck Parkway.  That recommendation was not specifically connected with or in furtherance of the proposals to improve traffic around PS-94.  The residents of 43rd Avenue have expressed their preference to maintain it as a Two Way street. The Association members present at our November 18 meeting voted to honor the preference of their 43rd Avenue neighbors, and thus maintain the focus of attention on the PS-94 traffic situation.

Our members continue to be deeply concerned about traffic around PS-94, and we ask that the Committee continue to consider and evaluate the remaining recommendations in our September 22 letter.  

The central  recommendation we made in connection with the PS-94 traffic situation was that the one block of 41st Drive between Westmoreland Street and Little Neck Parkway be made One Way towards Little Neck Parkway.  For your information, at our November 18 meeting a number of residents who live on that block were in attendance. Two of those residents spoke in opposition to making the block One Way; several others were uncertain and willing to consider the proposal further; and at least one of the residents was open to the proposal. Other members of the Association, including several who reside on 42nd Avenue (which has for many years been One Way towards Westmoreland Street), expressed continued support for the proposal.

Sincerely,

   /s/

Walter Mugdan
President

cc: Hon. Paul Vallone, New York City Council

    Laura Avakians, Principal, PS-94

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September 22, 2019

Community Board 11
    Attention: Transportation Committee
46-21 Little Neck Parkway
Little Neck, New York 11362

To the Committee:

The Westmoreland Association represents the residents of the Westmoreland section of Little Neck.  The area is bounded generally by Northern Boulevard, Little Neck Parkway, 39th Road, and Nassau Road.  

We are proud that Public School 94 is an integral part of our community.  However, we are deeply concerned with the chaotic and unsafe traffic situation during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up periods.  During these times there are many cars parked and double-parked, and standing and moving on 41st Drive northwest of the school and 42nd Avenue southeast of the school, while children walk between standing cars and cross the streets to reach their parents.Our members have discussed this issue in depth at our May and September, 2019 general membership meetings.  In the interim between these two meetings, representatives of our organization also met and discussed this issue with PS-94 leadership and the school’s Parent-Teacher Association, and with the 111th Precinct of the New York City Police Department.

At our September 16 meeting, specific recommendations for improving the traffic situation around the school were proposed and unanimously approved by the members in attendance.  We are confident that these recommended changes will help to improve conditions around the school, while still providing local residents with reasonable traffic patterns for travel to and from their homes.  Following is a summary of our  recommendations; a map displaying these recommendations is also attached.


•    We strongly urge that 41st Drive, for the one block between Westmoreland Street and Little Neck Parkway, be made One Way towards Little Neck Parkway.  
•    That same block should have No Parking on the left side of the street, and should have No Standing on the right side of the street near the intersection of Little Neck Parkway.

•    41st Drive must remain Two Way on the other side of Westmoreland, continuing towards Morgan, Glenwood and Nassau Road.  


•    All-way Stop signage should be installed at the intersection of 41st Drive and Westmoreland Street.  


•    42nd Avenue should remain One Way towards Westmoreland Street, with No Parking on the left side of the street, as it has been for decades.  Likewise, 44th Avenue should remain  One Way towards Westmoreland.


•    Finally, 43rd Avenue (a one-block long road) should become One Way towards Little Neck Parkway.  

While these recommendations will not address or eliminate all the traffic problems around PS-94, we believe they will significantly improve conditions, especially on the most problematic block, which is 41st Drive between Westmoreland and Little Neck Parkway.  At present, this is a two way street, with parking permitted on the northwest side.  Those parking spaces are invariably filled by commuters who use the nearby Long Island Railroad station, and thus are usually not available to parents of school students.  During the drop-off and pick-up periods, parents therefore stand along the southeast side of 41st Drive, severely constricting the already narrow travel lanes.  (Occasional double parking further exacerbates the situation.)  At the intersection with Little Neck Parkway, cars simultaneously try to enter and exit 41st Drive.  Those movements are made more difficult because school buses stand on Little Neck Parkway just south of the corner of 41st Drive, thus blocking visibility; and cars are parked on Little Neck Parkway just north of that corner, similarly obstructing visibility.  

Making this block of 41st Drive One Way towards Little Neck Parkway will address several of these problems.  It will not stop parents from standing on the southeast side of the street (nor do we believe it is realistic to try to eliminate that practice).  But it will eliminate the dangerous two-way traffic on a street where the constriction from parked and standing cars is so severe that there is often not more than one usable travel lane anyway.  

Because 42nd Avenue has long been One Way towards Westmoreland, the effect of making 41st Drive One Way towards Little Neck Parkway will be to create a counter-clockwise traffic pattern around the block on which the school is located.  This is a more orderly and safer traffic pattern than exists today.  

As noted above, 44th Avenue has also long been One Way towards Westmoreland.  Making 43rd Avenue One Way towards Little Neck Parkway, as we recommend, will create a consistent pattern in which the same block in each of these four, parallel streets (41st Drive, and 42nd, 43rd and 44th Avenues) will each be One Way in alternating directions.

An ancillary benefit of this plan -- but to our residents an important one – is that making this one block of 41st Drive One Way will discourage evening rush hour drivers on nearby Northern Boulevard from detouring into our residential community in order to bypass the heavy congestion that is usually experienced on that thoroughfare as it runs through Little Neck.  If they are unable to use the entire length of 41st Drive for their through commute, they are less likely to enter the community at all.


We understand that a suggestion has been made that 41st Drive should be One Way for its entire length between Little Neck Parkway and Nassau Road, not just for the one block adjacent to PS-94.  We are strongly opposed to that suggestion.  Retaining those three blocks in a Two Way configuration is essential in order to maintain reasonable access for many area residents to their homes.  (Additionally, we note that the block between Glenwood and Nassau Road is mostly within Nassau County, and thus outside the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over all the other roadways that are the subject of our recommendations.)

There was also a suggestion that the conversion of 41st Drive to One Way between Westmoreland and Little Neck Parkway be applicable only during the school drop-off and pick-up periods – e.g., from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. and from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.  While this approach would improve conditions during the most critical times, we nevertheless strongly recommend against it.  We believe it will be confusing, and might even lead to worse outcomes if, for example, an unfamiliar driver enters 41st Drive in the wrong direction.  Also, this would eliminate the ancillary benefit of deterring eastbound drivers from using this residential roadway as a through street during the evening rush hour.

Once again, we recognize that adoption of our recommendations will not cure all the traffic problems around PS-94, but they will help significantly, and they are relatively easy to implement and enforce.  We note, also, that since we brought these traffic concerns to the attention of the NYPD in May and June of this year, the police have stepped up their traffic management and enforcement activities around the school, which has been helpful.  We urge that this continue into the future.

We respectfully request that the Community Board 11 Transportation Committee consider and endorse these recommendations, and then bring the proposal to the full Board for approval and referral to the NYC Department of Transportation.  Should you think it helpful, we are ready and available to meet with the Committee to discuss this matter in further detail.

Sincerely,

   /s/Walter Mugdan

President

Attachment

cc:  Hon. Paul Vallone, New York City Council

      Laura Avakians, Principal, PS-94

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