DOT’s updated 111th Street plan (top) maintains two southbound traffic lanes and omits marked crosswalks included in the original plan (bottom). Images: DOT
If DOT is going to implement a safer design of 111th Street in Corona, it won’t be thanks to the local community board. Despite a watered-down safety plan intended to appease opponents of DOT’s original proposal, the CB 4 transportation committee declined to vote on the plan, citing “remaining questions” about traffic on the corridor.
The city’s first plan for 111th Street, which local residents, community organizations, and Council Member Julissa Ferreras had pushed for, would have reduced the number of motor vehicle lanes, narrowed crossing distances for pedestrians, added marked crosswalks, and put a two-way protected bike lane along Flushing Meadows Corona Park. That version was opposed by Assembly Member Francisco Moya, who said 111th Street carried too much traffic during large sports events at Citi Field and the U.S Open to eliminate moving lanes.
DOT studies and video evidence suggested Moya didn’t have a leg to stand on, but in an announcement last month, the city revealed a weaker version of the redesign, saying it had won over Moya while retaining support from the original coalition. The new design retains a two-way protected bike lane and wider medians, but only eliminates one moving lane in each direction, maintaining two southbound lanes instead of one. It also does not include some marked crosswalks that were in the original plan.
Last night, DOT reps came equipped with piles of research about the traffic conditions on 111th Street, including time-lapse photos from two locations on the corridor and traffic studies of more than 30 large events in the area. Residents were also surveyed about how they get to the park and their concerns about park access.
The traffic studies concluded that there just isn’t much congestion on 111th Street, and the survey revealed that Corona residents are much more worried about speeding on 111th Street than about traffic back-ups.
But CB 4 members refused to believe the evidence.