Today’s news:

Bellerose traffic island gets ready to go green

The city Department of Transportation said it will perform the work needed to transform a Bellerose traffic island into a Greenstreet.

The island, which divides 245th Street and Braddock Avenue, is a spot local civic that leaders have wanted to beautify for at least 13 years.

"We've been fighting for this thing for a long time," said Mike Augugliaro of the Queens Colony Civic Association. "Finally it became a reality."

It is usually the city Parks Department that designates Greenstreets, but the agency said it would only do so in the case of the 245th Street triangle if the DOT reconstructed the island so it abuts a nearby sidewalk.

Craig Chin, a DOT spokesman, said the agency was scheduled to begin the work Monday. But heavy rains delayed the construction until Tuesday.

"I think it's great," said Angela Augugliaro, president of Queens Colony. "It was many years of the civic and then the Joint Bellerose Business District contacting the Department of Transportation primarily and whoever else we could think of to get this triangle done."

Throughout the 13-year-effort, Augugliaro said, "I would never give up on it because [the triangle] was such an eyesore in the community."

She said her civic and the Joint Bellerose Business District have planted flowers in the triangle before, but "you had cars and trucks that just ran over it."

She credited state Sen. Frank Padavan's (R-Bellerose) office with enabling the triangle to become a Greenstreet. Otherwise, Angela Augugliaro said, "it would be a blacktop mud puddle in the middle of nowhere."

Parks launched the Greenstreets program in 1996, which converts "paved, vacant traffic islands and medians into green spaces filled with shade trees, flowering trees, shrubs, and groundcover," according to the agency's Web site.

Chin said Parks is expected to designate the triangle a greenstreet sometime in the fall.

Reach reporte0r Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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