July 16, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
A one-way street in Astoria has been modified in an effort to combat speeding and protect lives.
A section of 14th Street–between Broadway and 30th Avenue–was converted from a one-way street to a two-way street by the Department of Transportation Tuesday after safety concerns were raised by residents and local leaders.
Residents have claimed the roadway was a hotspot for street racing.
The stretch of road, which is around 2,000 feet long, has been marked by a new double-yellow line down the center of the street. Both new travel lanes are 11 feet wide, the DOT said.
The existing parking lanes, which run along both sides of the road, remain in place and have been repainted to make the entire street layout clearly visible.
Each parking lane is also 11 feet wide, the DOT said, and no parking spaces were removed as a result of the new changes.
The DOT said that 14th Street was an excessively wide one-way street that encouraged speeding and endangered pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
The agency said the changes will make the street safer for residents and will help traffic flow better.
“The two-way conversion–along with the wide parking stripes–will calm traffic and allow for better local circulation in the area,” a DOT spokesperson said in a statement.
The DOT said that all appropriate signage and pavement markings are now in place.
The move to change the makeup of the street followed a more than two-year effort by Long Island City High School, P.S. 171, Community Board 1 and Council Member Costa Constantinides.
Constantinides said that 14th Street had been misused as a speedway and welcomed the changes.
“We hope that this is the first of many steps to bring traffic calming to this part of the neighborhood and thank DOT for making it happen before schools open their doors in the fall,” Constantinides told the Queens Post.
Local groups, such as the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association, have also advocated for the changes.
However, for OANA more changes need to be done. OANA is pushing for a traffic signal to be put up at the intersection of 30th Avenue and 14th Street in order to protect teachers and students attending P.S. 171. The school is located on the corner of the intersection.
The DOT, however, said that it does not have plans for any more changes but will monitor the situation once schools re-open.