July 1, 2016 By Michael Florio
Not all drivers feel that Shore Boulevard’s new one-way regulation applies to them, according to local accounts.
The Department of Transportation recently turned Shore Boulevard into a one-way street and added bike lanes, as part of a larger traffic safety plan that also brought redesigns to Hoyt Avenue N and 20th Avenue.
At the 114 Precinct’s community meeting Tuesday, one Astorian spoke out about vehicles reversing along Shore Boulevard after the DOT’s changes went into effect.
The cars reverse the length of the park starting at Astoria Park South, so that they can travel northbound on the one-way southbound stretch rather than taking the legal route around the park, according to the resident.
“I enjoy watching the cars drive backwards,” he said. “They will back up all through the street.”
The resident also complained that motorcycles have been riding in the bicycle lane.
Richard Khuzami, president of the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association, said he hasn’t witnessed the wrong-way driving himself but has heard anecdotes of it happening. “If people are driving the wrong way, whether they are reversing or just go against traffic, it shouldn’t be tolerated. It is unsafe especially with children around.”
Bob Piazza, CB1’s Transportation Committee chair, said he has not heard these complaints.
“Some drivers may not be used to it. They’ve been going that way their whole life,” he estimated. “[There] may be people who will just go that way no matter what.”
The DOT has worked to teach residents about the recent traffic changes, according to an agency spokesman.
“DOT has conducted education outreach in the area to discuss this safety project, its uses and benefits with street users,” the spokesman said.
The Department of Transportation told the Astoria Post that misuse of the roadway is an enforcement issue for the NYPD to handle.
Police are now aware of the problem.
“We will enforce these issues,” Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune, commanding officer of the 114 Precinct, said at Tuesday’s meeting.
The resident also complained about noise of revving engines and people hanging out along Shore Boulevard late at night.
“I hear it even after midnight,” he said.
Fortune told the man to call 311 and report the noise complaints. He said that this is nothing new, as Shore Boulevard always is a popular place for people to hang out.
“Reach out to us and we will dedicate police services over there to put an end to it,” Fortune said.
“We are down there all the time,” he added. “Chasing cars, summonsing for the unreasonable noise.”
However, he did state that the roadway is tougher for police cars to maneuver after the change was put into effect.
“We have to go all the way around the park like everyone else,” he said. “I am not going to have my officers driving down the street the wrong way.”
In emergencies, police cars are permitted to disregard traffic direction regulations, per New York traffic law.