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Assemblyman Offers 3 Alternatives to Controversial 111th St. Traffic Change

By Katie Honan | October 6, 2015 5:59pm
 Assemblyman Moya presents at St. Leo's Church in Corona on Monday, Oct. 5 on changes to 111th Street.
Assemblyman Moya presents at St. Leo's Church in Corona on Monday, Oct. 5 on changes to 111th Street.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

CORONA — Pushback against a controversial city plan to change traffic patterns along 111th Street prompted Assemblyman Francisco Moya to offer three alternatives, which he presented to residents and park-goers at a town hall meeting on Monday.

Critics say the plan will create more traffic along Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, while supporters — including families who travel on 111th street to get to the park, cyclists and activists from around the city — say the "road diet" is necessary.

At Monday's town hall, Moya, who first spoke out against the DOT's presentation of the proposal in June on the grounds that it didn't gather enough input from those living in Corona, said safety is his primary goal.

 The Department of Transportation first presented a proposal for 111th Street earlier this year.  View the full proposal on their website.   Assemblyman Moya, after complaints from constituents about not being notified of the proposed changes, came up with three alternatives. He presented them Monday at a town hall, where he also took questions from locals.   
SEE: Which 111th Street Proposal Do You Prefer?
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But he wanted to offer alternatives based off of suggestions from constituents who have expressed concern, he said. 

One option would put a separate bike lane through Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, entering near 49th Avenue to Corona Avenue, he said. Another alternative calls for putting a bike lane on the median of 111th Street, while a third would create a bike lane on the sidewalk.

The ultimate goal was for safety for everyone, Moya said — but making it more of a community process. 

"I asked three questions," he said. "Is it safe? Is it efficient? Is it practical?"

The assemblyman, backed by Sen. Jose Peralta and Rep. Joseph Crowley, sent letters to the DOT asking for more feedback from the community. 

Community Board 4 has also expressed concerns with the plan, although it has not been brought to a full vote by all members yet. 

Moya set up the town hall Monday at St. Leo's Church to hear feedback from residents, and to present three alternatives he's proposing instead of the DOT's plan, which began in 2014 with community meetings.

Those meetings were sponsored by by Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Transportation Alternatives and Make the Road New York. 

The councilwoman has allocated funds for the improvement of the street — which is in the worst third of corridors in the borough, according to DOT data.


The DOT is working with Moya and the community to go over options for the project, an agency official said.

They city agency will re-present their plan at the November meeting at Community Board 4.

Angela Stach, 47, said she liked the DOT's original proposal. 

"I rely on the traffic experts of the city," the Jackson Heights resident said. "If the engineers are doing a traffic study, I rely on their expertise."

Her question was one of eight read in English and Spanish by Moya following the presentation, in which she requested safety for cyclists. 

"We all have a right to be safe on any street in the city," she said after the meeting.

Other questions came from those opposed to the DOT's plan. 

They asked how emergency vehicles could get around, and if more traffic lights could be added. Some suggested parking permits to alleviate issues caused during events at the park. 

Daria Bermudez, 36, is a lifelong Corona resident and found both the DOT's proposal and Moya's suggestions "reasonable."

She said Moya's proposal to put a bike lane through the park was her favorite.

"The park proposal is excellent, park space should be used for that," she said. "That's what park space is all about."