Just when we thought it was safe to walk, drive and live on 74th Street, Caldwell to Eliot Avenues, the two-way sharks are on the attack again. Any day I expect to be informed that the ill effects of the El Nino Current would be reversed if 74th Street were made a two-way street. The time has come to address this hysteria and present the facts:
FACT: No less than three meetings were held in Borough President Claire Shulman's office to address the issue of traffic patterns in the area bounded by Grand Avenue, Eliot Avenue, 69th Street and 80th Street with specific attention given to 71st and 74th Streets. These meetings were chaired by the Borough President's Chief of Staff and Chief Engineer. Attendees were representatives of the following: Residents of 71st and 74th Streets, Community Board #5, Juniper Park Civic, Department of Traffic and various elected officials. All views were fully voiced and explored. It was agreed that Mr. Pennica of the Department of Traffic, with the assistance of the Department of Traffic Safety Division, would direct his staff to conduct a full and detailed study of the area in question giving special attention to 71st and 74th Streets. This in-depth study was in fact conducted with INPUT of representatives of both 71st and 74th Streets, which were the focal points of the study. At the conclusion of the detailed, time consuming and in-depth study a presentation was made by the Department of Traffic to the Community Board #5 Transportation Committee. At that time the Department of Traffic recommended that the traffic patterns in the affected area were sound and recommended only minor changes, i.e.: erection of stop signs, restricted parking on corners and changing the traffic flow in one small area. These recommendations were implemented about one year ago with the overwhelming support of Community Board #5. To the best of my knowledge nothing has changed in the affected area to change those recommendations.
FACT: The topography of 74th Street, Caldwell to Eliot Avenues (steep hill which terminates at the bottom into a sharp blind curve), among other factors make it unwise, unsafe and foolhardy to make this street a two-way.
FACT: Just as many school children attending Our Lady of Hope school cross Eliot Avenue at 74th Street as any other intersection at or near the school. Further, the 74th Street intersection has two gas stations, a pizza restaurant and I understand a Rite Aid Drug Center is being proposed for one corner. Throwing a two-way street into this mix of commercial establishments would be foolhardy and would present a greater danger to the school children crossing at 74th Street and Eliot Avenue. All other through street intersections at or near the school are bounded by one and two family homes.
Other arguments regarding this issue which I have recently read are either emotional hype or without merit and do not deserve a reply.
There must be a law or ordinance that restricts the use of taxpayer monies to endlessly go over issues that were already addressed in detail. To resurrect this issue over and over and wasting the Department of Transportation and Community Board resources is a misuse of public funds.