MIDLAND BEACH — City officials want to add traffic circles to intersections along a crash-prone stretch of Greeley Avenue to reduce speeding and make the road safer.
The Department of Transportation pitched its new plan to Midland Beach Civic Association last week to add four of the circles to intersections along Greeley Avenue officials said could calm traffic and decrease the number of conflicts at intersections, according to their presentation.
Rosemary Vasquez, recording secretary for the Midland Beach Civic Association, said residents were split on the plan, some thinking it would help the neighborhood and others saying it wouldn't fix the dangerous street.
"I’m not convinced that's going to be the cure-all right now," she said.
"I think it's a very costly project. Although I’m not completely against it, I feel traffic lights would be cheaper, save the city and do the job better."
Currently, there are no stop signs or traffic lights in the long stretch of Greeley Avenue between Hylan Boulevard and Father Capodanno Boulevard.
The plan calls for the addition of traffic circles at four intersections to improve the flow of traffic and reduce driver's speeds.
The DOT said it would add plantings at traffic circles to beautify the neighborhood and increase the visibility of them, according to the presentation.
"I still believe that stop signs are the simple solution, with some daylighting at some corners, but I do appreciate DOT's willingness to think out of the box and come up with a plan," said Councilman Steven Matteo, who pushed to add stop signs to the street.
"I have some concerns with it and the community for the most part had some good suggestions and concerns."
Matteo said his concerns include the lack of crosswalks added to the street and if it'll make it too difficult for drivers to make left turns at the intersections.
Still, he said the DOT was willing to listen to the community and make changes to the plan.
"It's certainly out-of-the-box thinking and I appreciate out-of-the-box thinking," Matteo said. "There are definite concerns and we’re going to continue discussing them with the DOT."
From 2010 to 2014, there were 23 people injured in motor vehicle crashed along the street, with three of them being killed or seriously injured, according to the DOT.
Vasquez said residents have been calling on the city for nearly 20 years to address the traffic safety problems and in 2014 the DOT proposed turning the area into a slow zone, lowering the speed limit to 20 mph and adding speed bumps to Greeley Avenue.
The plan was scrapped in 2015 after opposition from Borough President James Oddo, Matteo and residents, who called on the city to install stop signs on the street instead.
The DOT rejected that proposal earlier this year because the agency said it wouldn't control speeding and could potentially increase rear-end crashes.
Vasquez said she was against some aspects of the plan outright — like the removal of parking spaces at some intersections — and worried it would not fully fix the issues on the street.
"It sounds wonderful, it looks lovely but all this money that's going to go out is it one of the better things that can be done to ward off this problem?" she said. "We don't want a Band-Aid, we want it fixed."