No Love for One-Way Proposal in Jackson Heights

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Congestion in Jackson Heights: The DOT needs some new ideas

The Queens Times-Ledger reports on the "cool reception" given last week by Queens Community Board 3 and City Council Member Hiram Monserrate to the DOT’s proposal for a one-way pair of streets on 35th and 37th avenues. What’s most disappointing about the debate so far is the DOT’s insistence it can’t come up with any other solutions to the chronic traffic congestion that plagues the heavily residential neighborhood.

Will Sweeney, a founding member of the Western Jackson Heights Alliance civic association, said one-way streets east and west would increase vehicle speeds and danger to pedestrians. He said the congestion was created not by east-west problems, but by backups on north-south streets. That is where the DOT should focus its efforts, he said.

"We do need a traffic engineering solution to the congestion and pedestrian safety problems in Jackson Heights. We don’t need a dangerous raceway for through traffic," he said.


DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Maura McCarthy, who noted that no one spoke in favor of the plan, said there were not many options for the city to consider.

"We are not here to force anything down anybody’s throat," she said, but then added "there are not a lot of other ideas."

You can find a PDF of the DOT’s complete presentation here.

Photo: Sarah Goodyear 

  • nobody

    Here are some options:

    * Congesting pricing

    * market-rate curbside pricing

    * Illegal permit crackdown

    * traffic calming

    * Residential parking permits

    * Bus Rapid Transit

    * Agressive expansion of bike network

    * Aggressive enforcement of double-parking, blocking the box, horn honking, etc. violations. Anything to make drivers begin to bear the actual cost of driving.

    * etc

  • Dan

    Very telling indeed. If you think of traffic engineering as building road capacity to accommodate demand then yes, there are few solutions available other than either one way streets or expanding street space available to cars. But if you think of managing traffic demand as part of a plan to reduce the number of cars on the road then there are tons of ideas.

  • Thomas Lowenhaupt

    It has been suggested several times that a “no left turn” sign on the corner of 73rd Street and 37th Avenue might be a partial solution. No one has suggested otherwise. Yet, despite this idea being presented to the DOT several times over the years, at Community Board 3 Transportation Committee meetings and monthly Board 3 meetings it has never been tried.

    If DOT Queens Borough Commissioner “there are not a lot of other ideas” Maura McCarthy knows why this is not a good or possibly good idea, she should put it on the record.

  • Emily

    The Western Jackson Heights Alliance wrote to Commissioner McCarthy in March to suggest alternatives to relieve traffic congestion and improve pedestrian safety in Jackson Heights. Here are the recommendations:

    –Immediate–
    1- Install Muni-meters for all commercial parking on 37th Avenue and approach streets.
    2- Create loading zones for trucks in front of commercial stores.
    3- Extend green-time, longer intervals between red lights on north-south streets.
    4- Scheduled delivery times for trucks.
    5- Paint double yellow lines on 37th Avenue to prevent vehicles from making u-turns.
    6- Extend crossing time for pedestrians.
    7- Reduce visual impairment of “Walk/Don’t Walk” signal and traffic signals.
    8- Audible and visual signals for pedestrians.
    9- Paint crosswalks along 37th Avenue with zebra stripes for pedestrians.

    –Short Term–
    1- Install curb extensions on all four corners.
    2- No left turns at intersection of 73rd Street and 37th Ave.
    3- No trucks on residential side streets.
    4- Extend daylight approaches at intersections of 73rd street between 35th Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue.
    5- Move the bus stop from the South-West corner of 73rd/37th to the North-West corner. Move the bus stop from South-East corner of 74th/37th to North-East corner.

    –Long Term–
    1- Adjust the traffic flow: re-route 75th Street south-bound (between Northern Blvd and Roosevelt Avenue). Create a special south-bound lane on eastern side of median on 75th St between 37th Avenue and 37th Road for buses and commercial trucks only.
    2- Move the Q19b & Q47 bus routes to 75th Street.
    3- Residential parking permits.

  • Jimmy Tsakos

    I remeber 10 years ago Councilmen Sabini supported this same project and paid for the study. Monserrate is not my councilperson but I haven’t heard anything from Sears or sabini who now is the assemblyman. What are they doing besides collecting paycheck?
    the plan stinks!

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Those are all great ideas, Emily. I think that “Nobody”‘s suggestion for market-rate parking was very good too.

    I was disappointed in the opinions of the business owners and landlord quoted in the Chronicle article linked from the last Jackson Heights post. A business that relies on car traffic, especially on double-parking, is not sustainable in New York. For businesses to operate that way near one of the largest transit hubs in Queens is crazy.

    There are all kinds of reasons why their business could have gone down recently. One possible reason is that South Asians who live outside of Jackson Heights are establishing their own commmercial strips and don’t need to travel to one place anymore. There’s no proof that it’s connected with stricter parking enforcement.

  • James

    it makes perfect sense to make 75th street south bound and also reroute the bus so that buses GO STRAIGHT to their termiminal instead of making a SEVERAL TURNS to get there from 73st.

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