DOT Recommends Axing Parking Spaces to Make Forest Hills Intersection Safer
QUEENS — The Department of Transportation is proposing a number of safety upgrades at a busy Forest Hills intersection, in an effort to curb the number of accidents there, including removing 14 parking spaces from the commercial strip, officials said.
The measures proposed by the DOT for the intersection of Metropolitan and 71st avenues, one of the busiest in the neighborhood also include relocating a bus stop to install a turning lane.
The move irked some business owners who said that the loss of parking spaces would hurt them.
“People can’t find parking right now and they are handicapped,” said Michael Lieberman, the owner of Jones Surgical store, located on the corner of Metropolitan and 71st avenues. “It would adversely affect my business.”
Thirteen people were injured at the intersection between 2006 and 2010, including eight pedestrians and one bicyclist, according to statistics provided by the DOT in its recent presentation to the Community Board 6 Transportation Committee.
In 2011, a pedestrian was fatally hit when a car traveling east made a left turn from Metropolitan Avenue on to 71st Avenue.
“Through improved roadway design, these proposed improvements at Metropolitan and 71st avenues would enhance safety for all road users at a location that has seen an increasing number of crashes, one of them fatal, while also improving traffic flow,” said a DOT spokesman in an e-mail.
The DOT proposal calls for relocating the Brooklyn bound Q54 bus stop on Metropolitan Avenue. Currently, the bus stop is close to 71st Avenue and the DOT wants to move it closer to 70th Drive.
Under the proposal, about 14 meter parking spaces around the intersection would be replaced with “no standing anytime” zone to clear lanes.
A turn lane for cars travelling east on Metropolitan near Continental Avenue would also be installed.
Frank Gulluscio, district manager of Community Board 6, which covers Forest Hills and Rego Park, said the DOT is scheduled to come back in September and present its proposal to the entire board.