Heavy Skillman Ave. Traffic Leads To Heated Discussion
At the September meeting of Community Board 2 on October 4, a woman declared that during the time she has lived on Skillman Avenue she has seen traffic flow worsen to the point where conditions are acutely dangerous for pedestrians, particularly children. The critical part of the thoroughfare lies between 56th Street and Queens Boulevard as it meets the bridge over the Long Island Rail Road tracks and proceeds to the Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge. A man who endorsed what the woman was saying heatedly debated the matter with Al Volpe, a board member who lives near the upper end of Skillman and who stressed that motorists are restricted to a speed no greater than 18 miles per hour. The man said restrictions meant nothing to motorists headed into Manhattan in the morning who not only exceed speed limits but, he claimed, often run red lights, since police presence is lacking. Both the man and the woman said that large trucks, supposedly banned from Skillman, are an obvious part of the traffic problem.
Torsney/Lou Lodati Playground is located at the junction of Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street. The playground is currently closed while it is being resurfaced and a dog run is constructed. Woodside resident Jim Condes commented about the construction and another dog run in Hunters Point, saying that the Torsney run will have separate tracks for small and large dogs and water fountains for both. He contrasted them with Woodside’s small dog run in Doughboy Park, wishing some funder might support building a better one. A Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) application concerning renovation of a house at 39-58 48th St. in Sunnyside, whose owner wants to enclose a currently open porch, also came before Community Board 2. Laura Heim, an architect who lives in Sunnyside and has an office on 46th Street near Skillman Avenue, spoke for the owner, saying that the enclosure is acceptable under LPC guidelines. At the Board 2 land use committee meeting a few days earlier, the committee had expressed its approval and Committee Chair Lisa Ann Deller pronounced the plan “very tasteful ”. The full board vote, by raised hands, was unanimous in its approval.
New York City Fire Department Spokesperson David Harney discussed an Emergency Alert System (EAS) generator that the department wants to install on the property of Engine 258, Ladder 115, on Queens Boulevard at 58th Street. Harney assured attendees that the generator was necessary for handling a blackout or attack conditions. Approval was unanimous.
Harney went on to discuss an FDNY building on 58th Street and 55th Avenue in Maspeth, used as a medical dispatch station, that has been subsiding since 1998. A building on Review Avenue in Long Island City to which the operation might move is too small. A two-tiered building would settle many of the difficulties if the FDNY could gain autonomous use of the structure. Deller said that a letter has been sent to the Fire Department about Board 2s commitment to its “fair share” accommodation of the Department’s needs, saying it contributes more than its fair share, but would see what could be done about this latest situation.
Board 2 Chairman Joseph Conley said that Friday, October 5, would be groundbreaking day for the Hunters Point Library at 48th Avenue and Center Boulevard. The library, designed by Steven Holl, with such features as an outdoor amphitheater, is to open in 2014.
Taste of Sunnyside, sponsored by Sunnyside Shines BID, will take place on Monday, October 15, at St. Sebastian’s Roman Catholic Church, Roosevelt Avenue and 57th Street.
Patrick O’Brien, chair of the Board 2 City Service/Public Safety Committee, said that the “gentlemen’s club” occasionally known as Gypsy Rose, has reapplied to the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to obtain a liquor license for its operation on 21st Street near Queens Plaza South. O’ Brien said another meeting will be held Wednesday, October 24, at the SLA Manhattan office, 315 Malcolm X Blvd. at 126th Street.