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CB 11 to vote on renaming streets

Community Board 11 will soon vote whether to return seven more numbered streets in Douglaston to their original names following the City Council’s approval to restore the earlier names of six roadways in the neighborhood last fall, the board’s district manager said.

CB 11 will vote at its April 6 meeting on the proposed street name changes, District Manager Susan Seinfeld said. The board was supposed to review the matter at this month’s meeting, which was canceled following the snowstorm that blanketed the city.

City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside), whose proposal to complete a project begun in the 1970s that would change the names of a number of street addresses in Douglaston and Malba was approved by the Council in October, said seven streets in Douglaston would have their original names restored.

“This fits in with the historic nature of Douglaston,” he said. “It would rename the streets and make changes to the city’s official map. If it’s important to the community, then why not do it?”

He said the city had changed the streets’ signs to numerical names in the 1920s to put them in line with its street grid, then in the 1970s returned them to their original names. But he said a handful of streets never had their names changed back, leading to confusion over addresses and occasional lost mail.

Under the proposal, 235th Street between the north and south side of Douglaston Parkway along the Long Island Rail Road will become Main Avenue, while 240th Street between 43rd Avenue and Depew Avenue will be changed to Prospect Avenue.

In addition, 242nd Street between 43rd and 44th avenues will become Hamilton Avenue; 243rd Street between 44th Avenue and Depew Street will change to Orient Avenue; 44th Avenue between Douglaston Parkway and 244th Street will become Church Street; 43rd Avenue between the intersection of Douglaston Parkway and 240th and 243rd streets will change to Pine Street; and 42nd Avenue between the LIRR’s dead end and 243rd Street will become Poplar Street.

Seinfeld said a majority of residents to whom she has spoken support the name changes, but some businesses do not.

“It’s kind of split,” she said. “Businesses do not want to have to change their addresses, business cards and menus. But you can’t change half a block and the streets extend beyond the historic district. So this would be changing the addresses for people who are not in the district.”

She said the board’s Land Use Committee has recommended changing the roadways to dual street names rather than completely renaming them. The Council would have to vote on the name changes to the city map.

Ronald Hellman, an attorney whose firm is on Douglaston Parkway near 235th Street, said the street name changes would confuse clients who already have difficulty finding his office.

“As far as the residential streets go, they can change those,” said Hellman, who also owns the Outrageous Fortune theater company and writes a column for TimesLedger Newspapers. “But this is a short commercial strip. We’re known by a certain address. We’d have to change over our cards, stationery and legal documents that have our address on it. I think it would have a negative impact on businesses. It would lead to a lot of confusion.”

Last fall 38th Road between Douglaston Parkway and Douglas Road became Hillside Avenue, Douglas Road⁄Marinette Street between Hillside Avenue and West Drive changed to Douglas Road, 38th Drive between Circle Road and Cherry Street became Little Neck Road, 39th Avenue between Douglaston Parkway and Little Neck Road changed to Cherry Street, 40th Avenue between Douglaston Parkway and Circle Road became Willow Street and, in Malba, 141st Street between the intersection of Center Drive and Point Crescent became 141st Boulevard.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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