Aug. 11, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
A proposal to ban traffic from Shore Boulevard has sparked hundreds of petitioners since it was announced last week.
Last Tuesday, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas wrote a letter to the Department of Transportation requesting that Shore Boulevard from Astoria Park South to Ditmars Boulevard – the waterfront edge of Astoria Park – be closed to non-emergency motor vehicles.
Overnight parking is already prohibited on this stretch of road.
“This half-mile portion of roadway provides no meaningful transportation purpose and contributes to a number of problems for our community,” Simotas wrote, citing speeding, reckless driving, drinking and drug use.
DOT officials said at the time that it is open to working with the community on the idea.
Within a week, a Change.org petition was formed in opposition to the proposal, as first reported by DNAInfo.
“Many residents take their families [to Shore Boulevard] to enjoy the waterfront view. This is a tradition that has been happening for generations,” the petition reads. “The closing of Shore Boulevard will ruin this tradition and decrease the quality of life in the neighborhood.
As of Tuesday morning, about 350 people had signed the petition, which can be viewed here.
Simotas’ proposal does have some supporters, including the Astoria Park Alliance, which said last week that a car-free Shore Boulevard would be safer for pedestrians and improve programming at the park.
Councilman Costa Constantinides, who has opened his own petition for traffic safety improvements around Astoria Park, also said a car-free Shore Boulevard “could greatly improve the area.”
Simotas did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the petition.