Navigating more than a few streets throughout the Five Towns can be like threading a needle. Motorists driving on Grove Avenue in Cedarhurst, which connects West Broadway to Broadway, and intersects with Chestnut Street and Central Avenue, are accustomed to swerving back and forth between parked vehicles and oncoming traffic, because of the roadway’s narrow space.
A near-unanimous voted by the village trustees is aiming to change that by converting Grove Avenue to a one-way street with all vehicular traffic moving south. Trustee Ari Brown was the lone vote against the shift on the five-person board. Officials heard from residents on both sides of the debate at the Oct. 9 meeting.
The southernmost section of Grove Avenue, from Central Avenue to Broadway, already exists as a one-way street. Mayor Benjamin Weinstock said that the law would extend that to the remainder of Grove Avenue and the change will occur within 60 days.
The village hired R & M Engineering in June to conduct a traffic study. The results were submitted on Sept. 5, and the firm’s vice president, Wayne Muller, said Grove Avenue was monitored over two days in June during peak traffic times. The report is available on the village website, www.cedarhurst.gov.
The conclusion was that transforming Grove Avenue to a southbound one-way street would be the best way to reduce the traffic congestion. Muller said that drivers who would typically use Grove Avenue north would have to adjust their routes to use either Locust or Prospect avenues. “Traffic, in some form or fashion is like water, it seeks its own level,” he said. “People will get to their desired location in the way they’re most comfortable.”
The proposal received mixed reaction from the residents at the meeting. Some argued that restricting parking on the sides of the road would be a better solution. “[A one-way street] would be a major inconvenience for those of us that live there,” said Joseph Bertucci, a Cedarhurst resident who contended that signs stating no parking from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. would be the best answer. “… People know that they can park there all day for free and it’s not fair to the residents.”
Weinstock said the village can’t reserve parking on the street for only Grove Avenue residents, and that in the past community members have opposed restricted parking, as it would make parking more difficult for them as well. “We felt that alternate side parking [another idea that was considered] would be a bigger punishment to residents than turning it into a one-way street,” he said.
Riki Padeah, a mother of four, recalled the difficulties that she’s had crossing Grove Avenue with her children, and said that she supports the change, but would also like to village to look into restricting parking. “I was originally against [the road being one-way],” she said. “Things have changed … I am pro one-way and restricted parking.”
In reviewing restricted parking, Weinstock said the village would have to study the issue and then hold another public hearing. He did not rule it completely, if the residents are interested in pursuing the idea. For now, the village will be posting signs to inform of the one-way change on Grove Avenue within the next two months.
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