Assemblyman David Weprin and Councilman Barry Grodenchik announced that two blocks around MS 172 will be converted to one-way streets. The two-way traffic had caused problems during drop-off and pick-up times for parents and students, officials said.
“We end up getting instances where we have drivers dropping off their children and attempting to leave while other cars are coming into the same area, leading to double parking and cars pulling over across the street to let kids out,” Weprin said. “All of this led to a very chaotic and untenable situation.”
Principal Jeffrey Slivko said the school had been asking for the conversion for many years after a few minor incidents and near-misses. In the wintertime, with two-way traffic, the snow pile-up also caused “impassibility” with buses parked nearby.
Weprin said the catalyst for the change was when a constituent informed his office two years ago that a child was injured by a car on their way to school.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) then conducted a traffic study. The agency suggested that 256th Street between 82nd and 81st avenues, and 257th Street between 83rd and 81st avenues be converted to one-way roads.
According to DOT data, there were five injuries on the school’s surrounding streets since 2011. The change was implemented on July 11, before the school year began.
“I am hopeful this change will improve traffic safety conditions around MS 172, preventing the occurrence of future accidents on these streets,” Weprin said.
Councilman Barry Grodenchik said two-way streets have become a problem in almost every school in his eastern Queens district. He hopes the one-way solution can be used in other problem areas.
“It will be a very slight inconvenience to people, but the thought of a child being hurt or worse is far greater than any inconvenience people may have in this community,” he said. “What we’ve done here probably is save somebody from an injury or worse.”