Suddenly your lane vanishes! The median juts out and you have to swerve around it to avoid crashing into the curb. Had you been going any faster, you may not have seen it in time. That could have turned out very badly.
You don’t have to imagine this nightmare scenario; you can see it up close and personal at the northbound intersection of 89th Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard.
It’s just one of the highlights of the $200 million-plus snafu known as Select Bus Service (SBS), brought to us by our Department of Transportation.
It’s been a long fight over what to do with Woodhaven Boulevard, one I believe that we never had any chance of winning. The city knew what they wanted to do and they were going to do it, regardless of community and political opposition.
Now that the fight is over, you have to hope that the end result won’t be anywhere as bad as the plan’s detractors had predicted. But what DOT has created at 89th Avenue is so blindly stupid and dangerous that it does nothing to inspire hope for the rest of the project.
Another fine example of DOT’s craftwork is the fun house they’ve created on the southbound service road between Park Lane South and 89th Avenue.
It starts as two lanes merging into one. Then, one block later, it opens back up into two lanes. Two blocks later, it becomes a single lane again.
A block later, it’s back to two lanes. And a few blocks later, it’s back to a single lane.
That’s five shifts between one and two lanes in less than a half-mile between Park Lane South and 89th Avenue.
Remember all those claims how their design was going to calm traffic? Instead, traffic is finding its way around the mess they’ve created.
Heading south, cars are making a right at Park Lane South and cutting through the neighborhood to beat the traffic on the boulevard.
How many cars are doing this? How is this impacting local traffic on side streets? I suspect that DOT has no idea. Did they study how many cars were traveling down our side streets before they started construction?
Are they taking note of how many cars are cutting down these same side streets now?
If anyone from DOT is reading this, keep an eye on 90th and 88th streets. A lot of your Woodhaven Boulevard traffic is being siphoned off onto these two residential streets. And the drivers of those cars are far from calm.
Supporters of this SBS fiasco will counter that residents are “NIMBYs” or “anti-transit.” That’s their go-to argument to support this daft scheme.
If we’re “anti” anything, it’s anti-bad planning that we’re guilty of. Let’s put it in simpler terms.
You go to a restaurant and order a bowl of soup. The waiter brings it to your table and there’s a big greasy hair floating on top.
Naturally, you complain to the waiter. Does that make you anti-soup? Do you refuse to ever have soup on your table?
Of course not. You are just against soup with big greasy hairs in it.
The Department of Transportation’s SBS plan is one giant greasy hair. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to call the waiter to get him to whisk it away. We’re stuck with it for many years to come.
I would hope that all our residents are extremely careful at all times when driving on Woodhaven Boulevard. Going forward, take extra care when driving down this fun house of lane shifts and jutting medians.
Because the DOT has done the impossible; they’ve taken an already dangerous road and made it worse.