A proposal to was made official Monday after Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Councilman Dan Halloran’s bill into law.
Douglaston community leaders joined the mayor and councilman at City Hall, where Bloomberg signed off on a plan to change the numbered streets back to their historic names.
The community, which has two landmarked districts, has been pushing the proposal since 1972.
“The community has been struggling since 1970 to preserve the character of the neighborhood,” Halloran, R-Whitestone, said. “This is the final step in restoring the street’s names.”
Speakers at the bill signing included the ’s Stuart Hersh, resident Joan Hellman, Douglaston Civic Association President Eliott Socci and Bill Sievers, who presented the mayor with a plaque that depicted an 1863 layout of the community with the original street names.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Hersh said. “As the saying goes, ‘The wheels of justice grind slowly.’ But they do.”
Hellman, who walks with a cane, said she traveled to City Hall to discuss difficulties involved with Access-a-Ride finding her home on 43rd Avenue in Douglaston.
She said the para-transit system has frequently had difficulty differentiating between her community and streets in Little Neck.
Her street will soon be changed back to its original name – Pine Street.
“We need the names restored not just because it is appropriate, but because Access-a-Ride users must have these services,” she said. “Once the streets are corrected, I won’t have to sit and wait for a half-hour for a ride.”
The community’s streets were changed from their original names to numbered names in the 1920s to keep them in line with the city’s grid.
In the 1970s, a majority of them were returned to their original names, but several roads remained numbered.
In 2004, Douglaston Hill was designated an historic district, so community leaders thought the time was right to complete the street renaming project.
State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, proposed getting the names restored when he served on the City Council and Community Board 11 voted twice in favor of the proposal.
Halloran said he plans to invite the community to an unveiling ceremony for the signs, which he expects could take place within three months.
The councilman said the city would spend a total $3,400 to change the city’s signs and addresses for GPS systems, the Department of City Planning and the postal service.
Addresses for residents living on the streets will automatically be updated with their local post offices.
And emergency responders will recognize both the numbered street addresses as well as the new ones once they take effect.
Under the plan, a section of 243rd Street between 44th Avenue and Depew Street will be renamed as .
In addition, a portion of 240th Street between 43rd Avenue and Depew Avenue will be renamed as Prospect Avenue, while a section of 242nd Street between 43rd and 44th avenues will be switched to Hamilton Avenue.
Part of 44th Avenue between Douglaston Parkway and 244th Street will be changed to Church Street and 43rd Avenue between the intersection of Douglaston Parkway as well as 240th and 243rd streets will be renamed as Pine Street.
Also, 42nd Avenue between the LIRR's dead end and 243d Street will change to Poplar Street.