Want to Drive Thru Corona to the US Open? Francisco Moya’s Got Your Back

Assembly Member Francisco Moya is worried that anything less than two lanes each way will lead to gridlock for drivers going to tennis tournaments in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Photo: Google Maps
Assembly Member Francisco Moya is worried that anything less than two lanes each way will lead to gridlock for drivers going to tennis tournaments in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Photo: Google Maps

Assembly Member Francisco Moya opposes a DOT plan for safer walking and biking on 111th Street next to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In a statement, he said it will slow down people driving through the neighborhood he represents on their way to professional baseball games and tennis tournaments.

Assembly Member Francisco Moya. Photo: NY Assembly
Assembly Member Francisco Moya. Photo: NY Assembly

“111th Street is a high traffic road, which suffers from massive spikes in congestion during the numerous cultural and sporting events in the surrounding area, including Mets games and USTA tournaments,” Moya said in the statement. “There is little doubt that DOT’s proposal to reduce car traffic to one lane will result in slowed traffic and increased congestion, but I am also deeply concerned with the possibility of an increase in accidents and air pollution for the immediately surrounding area.”

DOT studied traffic conditions during five days in April and May, counting cars during a Cinco de Mayo celebration in the park, two Queens Night Markets, and eight Mets games, including this season’s home opener. The agency found the increased traffic was mostly north of the area slated for the road diet and could be ameliorated by adjusting signal timing and keeping traffic bound for Citi Field on the highway [PDF].

“We still don’t feel that that’s sufficient,” said Meghan Tadio, Moya’s chief of staff. “We think that, really, if we’re going to limit the traffic lanes to one lane in each direction, we need to have a full study during the summer months… We would take them and their numbers as reality if they took time to do the study over the whole peak summer.”

The street handles no more than 350 cars in each direction during a typical rush hour, according to DOT, a volume that can easily be handled with a single lane each way.

“It would be insane if we went around designing streets for three or four specific days of the year,” said Transportation Alternatives Queens organizer Jaime Moncayo. “You’re basically inconveniencing the people who use the street year-round for the people who use it two or three times for an event.”

Moya suggested running bike lanes through the park, along the 111th Street median, or on the west side of the street, which intersects with cross streets each block, but DOT rejected his suggestions. Tadio said her boss would be unlikely to support any plan that did not keep at least two car lanes in each direction.

Moya also complained that the city made the proposal “without an adequate community process and without consulting the people it will impact most — the residents from 111th Street and the surrounding neighborhood. They chose to impose a plan on local residents that was not evaluated by the community.”

“His office wasn’t included, he was not included in the process. Staff members we have who live on the street were never door knocked,” Tadio said. “We felt excluded.”

Last year, the Queens Museum, Immigrant Movement International, Make the Road New York, and Transportation Alternatives began working with local residents near 111th Street. In July, the groups hosted a Vision Zero workshop, followed by a daffodil planting in September. Then, Council Member Julissa Ferreras allocated $2.7 million for a street redesign before DOT presented its plan.

“It’s really disingenuous to say that the community hasn’t been contacted,” Moncayo said. “It’s really frustrating to hear that.”

Tadio insisted that Moya wants to see changes to 111th Street. “What the assemblyman is trying to do is be that bridge between the community board members who right now are wary of the complete change to the street, and the folks who want to see this plan go through,” she said. “He’s trying to bring both sides together to find a happy medium.”

The plan is likely to go before CB 4 at its next general board meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. on June 9 at VFW Post 150, 51-11 108th Street. Moya will be there, Tadio said.

So will supporters of the plan, who are spending tomorrow afternoon on 111th Street gathering signatures for the redesign. “We haven’t had any trouble finding people who think it’s a good idea,” Moncayo said, “so if there’s more time for us to go out there and find people who support it, then we welcome it.”

  • Simon Phearson

    It’s amazing to me that, once you scratch the surface, Moya’s thinking on this is even more superficial and selfish than it first appeared. No one contacted *him*, so there wasn’t enough process? His staff members living on the street weren’t “door knocked,” therefore there was insufficient community input?

    Here’s a thought: if two lanes of travel in each direction is going to be Moya’s sine qua non, why doesn’t the DOT come back with a plan that eliminates one of the parking lanes for the two-way bike lane? If it’s congestion he’s worried about, then surely removing a few dozen spaces could only help, right?

  • BBnet3000

    “It was a big, commanding horn, hidden away somewhere under the capacious hood of the car; a horn for a man whose business took him on flying trips over a district big enough for an ancient empire; who had important engagements waiting at the end of his journey, and who went through, day or night, fair weather or foul. The voice of his horn was sharp and military; there was in it no undertone of human kindness. At fifty miles an hour there is no place for such emotions, what you want is for people to get out of the way, and to do it quick, and you tell them so. Wanhnh! said the horn”

    – Upton Sinclair, Oil!

  • Kevin Love

    I want to mount that horn on my bicycle!

  • Emmily_Litella

    Perhaps it needs to be explained that most of the traffic is entering and leaving this street by one lane gateways. The new single lane will not be obstructed by cars waiting to turn, as there will be new turning lanes.

  • Andres Dee

    Someone needs to dig up that document that surely exists that legitimized the building of that facility “because people will come by public transit”.

  • WoodyinNYC

    I met a guy who showed me a truck horn mounted on his bicycle. He said he only used it when provoked. I said I didn’t dare get one or I’d use it every block or so.

  • Fernando Wood

    Memo to Polly Trottenberg.
    The following can VETO any DOT street safety project in their districts*:
    Community boards, borough presidents, city council members, state senators, state assembly members, members of congress.

    Take no action to improve street safety unless 100% of these stakeholders are completely satisfied and they, and their friends, have good parking spots.
    * Note that some corridor safety improvements may pass through multiple elected and CB districts.

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