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Nassau headache relief - DOT releases reconstruction plans for local roadways

Greenpoint residents hope that traffic congestion on Nassau Avenue will be eased in the near future, following the Department of Transportation’s extensive reconstruction plans for area roadways.

“It’s going to be hell as it’s going on, but it’s going to be great,” said Teresa Toro, Community Board 1’s Transportation Committee Chair.

At a Transportation Committee meeting this week in Community Board 1s offices (435 Graham Avenue), a DOT design team laid out plans for the remodeling of Nassau Avenue and adjacent street corners. The street, which will be 36 feet wide and have 12-foot sidewalks with new granite curbs when the $14 million project is finished, will be remodeled over a two year period from 2011 to 2013 after requests from community members eager to ease truck traffic on smaller streets around McGolrick Park (bounded by Driggs Avenue, Russell Street, Nassau Avenue and Monitor Street).

One of the DOT’s techniques for a built-in design feature to calm traffic is called a neckdown, which is a 12-foot radius constructed on each corner that bubbles out from the street with an extension of the sidewalk.

“The idea is that Monitor Street is not a truck route,” Toro said. “We want to make it difficult for trucks to make that turn around Monitor.”

Community Board 1 members want neckdowns built on Monitor Street and Nassau Avenue to discourage truck traffic there and a smaller one on Norman Street and Nassau Avenue to make it easier for trucks to take Norman Street to access industrial roads. Neighborhood residents remain concerned that the backup of traffic from McGuiness and Apollo streets waiting to enter the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway creates an unsafe environment for pedestrians.

“You can end up stuck on the BQE for three lights,” one resident said. “Then trucks back out and do crazy things.”

Board members were disappointed to learn that traffic calming projects on McGuiness Avenue would not be part of the Nassau Avenue reconstruction plans as DOT officials explained it would be difficult for them to implement it. Members of the Transportation Committee said they would continue to work with the DOT to find additional ways of slowing traffic along the intersection of Nassau and McGuiness avenues.

“There are always dead flowers in the mediums over there because so many people have been killed crossing the intersection over the years,” said Kevin McEvoy, of the Morgan Nassau Avenue Block Association. “It’s a fast road. People get impatient waiting for the do not cross light to change. You would have to be insane to wait in the intersection.”

The DOT design team also introduced plans for installing new sewer drains along Nassau Avenue. Many of the sewers along Driggs and Morgan avenues have been replaced over the past three years, but still have significant backups after a storm event.

DOT officials claimed that the sewers were in good shape according to a recent inspection but referred any complaints to the Department of Environmental Protection. McEvoy and several neighbors of his living off Morgan Avenue said that their basements were flooded with five feet of water after two storms on July and August in 2007.

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