After first catching word of the city’s support for the conversion from a letter distributed by Community Board 5 at the beginning of the month, longtime 70th Street resident Ann Marie McGee has since started a petition to keep things the same.
“We do need safety here,” McGee agreed, but suggested the city consider signage and speed bumps while keeping the convenience of the two-way option. “I want them to appease the one-way people and the two-way people.”
Her petition has roughly 30 signatures from her neighbors.
“The people up the street that want it aren’t as inconvenienced as us here in the middle of the block,” she explained. “We have to go down the hill to make a right and come around the block to go to the Stop & Shop or CVS. Also, if it snows here, we’re never going to make it down that hill.”
Others like 14-year 70th Street resident Arlene Pettenato says she is in support of the safest route, and is tired of dealing with broken rearview mirrors on the narrow street.
“I think this block is very convenient the way it is, and I would like it to be convenient,” Pettenato said. “But, I think you’re sacrificing safety for convenience, and I think you would always go with the safety.”
She explained that the 52nd Avenue cross street poses a particularly dangerous threat as it sits on top of a “blind hill,” often leaving drivers guessing.
“There are so many school buses that come down this block, and with the hill at 52nd Avenue, it presents a whole other problem,” she said. “You would have to either pull back or back up so the bus can move forward.”
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley also sides with the one-way option, as she was the one who lobbied for a safety study from the Department of Transportation (DOT).
"The one-way conversion of 70th Street is a common sense solution that will ease congestion, reduce property damage and improve pedestrian safety,” Crowley said.