Following our reports on Tuesday that locals are fuming over changes to the new Emmons Avenue traffic pattern, the Department of Transportation has issued a statement that suggests critics simply need to adjust and, hey, maybe they’ll add some signage. Not content with the explanation, one of those critics raises doubts.
CB 15 asked DOT to consider eliminating the left turn bay from Emmons Avenue onto East 16th Street to address a bottleneck turning onto Shore Boulevard. After studying the location we found that the low number of vehicles making this turn warranted eliminating the left turn bay for East 16th Street and using the space to lengthen the left turn bay from eastbound Emmons Avenue onto Shore Boulevard, which has very high turn volume. We expect the new configuration to reduce the bottleneck of turning vehicles while maintaining two moving lanes eastbound, and all moving lanes are a standard width of 11 feet. While we had not received any complaints about the new configuration, there is typically an adjustment period with new traffic patterns and we will continue to monitor conditions there to determine if any further changes, such as additional signage, are needed.
We ran this by Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo, who confirmed that the board did request an examination of the turn bay at East 16th Street to reduce congestion for vehicles turning into Manhattan Beach. However, she said, the DOT went too far by unecessarily widening the traffic median and narrowing the lanes.
“The turn lane has nothing to do with narrowing the lane by V & S Pizza by Sheepshead Bay Road,” Scavo said. “What they did was expand the median, and what that has to do with the turn lane I don’t know. What’s that got to do with the turn lane two blocks down?”
Whether or not the right-hand lane of west-bound Emmons Avenue is of standard width is also questionable, according to Scavo.
“That right hand lane with that solid white lane is on top of the parked cars. It doesnt look like standard lanes to me,” she said.
Scavo also balked at the agency’s assertion that DOT has not received complaints, pointing out that she personally called an assistant commissioner at the department, as well as the community liaison to express complaints on behalf of constituents. She also said she believes the owners of V & S Pizza and Zephyr’s Deli also complained to the agency. Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz’s office told Sheepshead Bites that he sent a letter to agency brass last week.
“How do they turn around and say they haven’t heard from anybody?” Scavo asked.