Fourth Avenue will undergo some major changes this summer following a Monday, June 16 Community Board (CB) 10 meeting at which board members voted overwhelmingly to support a Department of Transportation (DOT) plan for the intersection, and added some suggestions of their own.Among the changes coming to Fourth Avenue and 89th Street are two high-visibility crosswalks in addition to a new traffic light. [With these additions] the DOT will be able to stop all traffic at the intersection and allow an all-pedestrian crossing, explained Traffic and Transportation Committee Chair Doris Cruz. No vehicular movement will create the safest option for pedestrians. In addition, the DOT pans to reverse the direction of traffic on 89th Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. This, according to Cruz, will eliminate the 89th Street traffic crossing at Fourth and reduce turns. Such moves, board members hope, will make up for the intersections irregularity. This is a skewed intersection, said Cruz. The streets do not intersect at right angles and there is at least a car length between the two sides of 89th Street and Fourth Avenue. Among the boards biggest concerns was the intersections proximity to P.S. 264 a newer school in the district. When new schools open, they start with lower grades and add new grades gradually, explained Cruz. As this school has grown, the safety issues at the intersection have become more apparent. According to Cruz, while there is a school crossing guard, he or she cannot adequately cover the area alone as it is technically two intersections. The committee previously met with DOT on Thursday, June 12 to hear the agencys recommendations. The board also held a public hearing and the office did a lit drop and a site visit, reviewing the current and proposed traffic patterns and speaking with area residents. There was a support for the crosswalks and additional traffic lights and no objections to the change in direction of 89th Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues, said Cruz, adding that P.S. 264s principal attended the public hearing and joined neighboring residents in discussing concerns with the nearby 7-11 becoming a shortcut for motorists, and parents illegally parking at drop-off and pick-up times, as well as valet parking and the need for curb cuts. The boards recommendation to DOT are to contact the adjacent 7-11 to alter ingress and egress from its parking lot, to make the exit onto Fourth Avenue right-turn-only and to ask 7-11 to define the movement of cars within its parking lot; that countdown signals be installed for all directions; and that the NYPD and DOT coordinate the implementation of the plan so that motorists are properly advised of the changes.
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