If you’ve driven regularly past Island Crest Way and Merrimount lately, you’ve seen the temporary traffic control. The stakes that protect right turns have improved matters (earlier accidents in the area made it the worst accident location on the Island) but the dented and somewhat run-over appearance of the stakes leads you to believe that work is still needed.
The question I pose: how could any but a three-lane solution make sense? The heart of the argument is that where ICW is four lanes, north of 53rd St, it’s an uninviting highway. Where it’s three lanes (two driving lanes, plus a turn lane with islands in between) it’s a relaxing boulevard.
As evidence, I present photos. Three lanes: pretty.
Four lanes: ugly. Not the house, the street.
There are reasons beyond aesthetics. Sometimes I run in the mornings, and ICW is virtually impossible to cross where it’s four lanes. Even my husband, who is almost universally in favor of faster traffic, all the time, thinks that the speed should be lower. Drivers don’t gain much time from a driving faster on ICW, and the speed creates a lot of danger in a residential community such as the Island.
The City Council has done research and held hearings on the subject. You have to applaud the City Council for being open enough to include, in the notes, this comment: “probably the worst traffic management scheme I have ever seen.” In general the comments included a mix of articulation of problems, like “there’s too much last minute lane shifting/merging” and solutions, such as “Just make ICW a 3 lane roadway.” The only obvious solution, of course.
Ironically, the decision had been made in favor of three lanes, and according to the Reporter, is being reconsidered.
My certainty aside, your comments are welcome. What do you think?