“It’s always congested,” said John Gambino, a Middle Village resident. “There’s too much traffic in the area and 80th street is too narrow.”
A rising amount of complaints like those one about traffic on 80th Street between Furmanville Avenue and Cooper Avenue in Middle Village has spurred Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley to contact the Department of Transportation to work on the issue.
The councilwoman is working with the Department of Transportation to schedule a press conference to unveil the new plan and address the traffic issues, according to her office.
Many in the community trace the traffic concerns to unpopular measures by the MTA to extend and reroute bus service in the area.
On August 31st 2008, the MTA went forward with a plan to extend Q45 service to Atlas Park in the face of heavy opposition from community residents and a vote against the measure by Community Board 5.
Tom Ognibene, a Republican former councilman for Crowley’s 30th district, who is running against her this fall, said she is trying to adopt one of his issues..
“I raised that as one of my big issues in my voter guide,” Ognibene said. “It’s part of my program on traffic issues. It’s why I say Elizabeth is a follower rather than a leader. But if I can say things that get her to act, I guess that’s a good thing.”
Crowley’s office disputed Ognibene’s claim over the project, saying the councilwoman has been working steadfastly on the issue since taking office.
Ognibene said there are too many traffic devices that are not timed correctly, and that exist without an independent system in place to determine their effectiveness.
A street vendor along 80th Street, who asked to remain anonymous, agreed that the lights are to blame and also cited the rerouted buses as a culprit for congestion.
“The lights aren’t timed right,” he said. “Traffic backs up and it spills into the intersection. And now buses turn onto 80th Street on the way to Atlas and cars going toward Furmanville are too close to them when they turn.”
With the increased summer visitors to Atlas Park and multiple asphalt repairs scheduled for Metropolitan Avenue and Cooper Avenue this year, the traffic issues seem poised to extend into the Fall.