Information meeting: Hosted by Councilman Donovan Richards
Presentations: The Department of Transportation and the Department of Design and Construction (DDC).
Location: 348 Beach 71st Street
Overview: The meeting began with a presentation from the Department of Transportation (DOT). Specifically, the agency informed residents of construction plans for Beach 73rd and Beach 81st Street on Rockaway Beach Boulevard.
Rockaway residents are well-aware of the fact that the streets were heavily damage from Superstorm Sandy, and the presentation provided information on the extent of the damage and what would be required in order proceed with reconstruction efforts. The DOT noted that the water main, the increase in road width near NYCHA’s Hammels Houses and adding green medians in the area were some of the proposed projects.
According to the DOT, these measures will help reduce speeding, create simpler and safer left-lane turns and provide safer pedestrian crossings by creating larger sidewalk space. The final phase will involve the planting of shrubs and trees.
Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, and Councilman Donovan Richards is urging everyone living in the zoned areas to expect limited water use while the water main is being replaced. “The water will only be shut off for a couple of hours,” said Richards.
City officials view the projects as enormously beneficial for the community, but some residents are not satisfied with the DOT’s objectives. Residents at Arverne-By-The-Sea are concerned about the lack of street signs and medians in their area. One of them asked, “Why are the medians on Beach 79th and 81 Streets?” The DDC representative informed the resident that they could not build a median over a water main. The homeowner then requested to see sketches of the plans. When the sketches were presented and reviewed the homeowner proclaimed, “There’s a water main right under the median on these streets! What are you trying to pull?!” The DDC official indicated that it may have been due to a “budget issue”.
Councilman Richards told residents that they should be grateful the community was given funding for the projects. “We often get short-changed in this community. This time we got the money. Let’s get the project started,” Richards stated.
Ladies and gentlemen, expect the summer of 2016 to have service disruptions and numerous street detours before and during the construction period.