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Impending Traffic Changes Leave Residents Wary

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Residents near Willoughby and Duffield Streets worry that Department of Transportation changes to traffic flows will only cause more congestion and confusion.

Residents near Willoughby and Duffield Streets worry that Department of Transportation changes to traffic flows will only cause more congestion and confusion.

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) – Communication is supposed to be a two-way street, but some residents in a Brooklyn neighborhood say they’ve hit a dead end with the Department of Transportation.

The City is throwing drivers in downtown Brooklyn a curveball at the end of next week. Willoughby Street between Gold and Duffield Streets will change from a two-way to a one-way street, and Duffield – a one-way street heading north – will switch directions to now travel only south.

Many residents who spoke to CBS 2’s Wendy Gillette had no idea about the change.

Michael Weiss heads a non-profit neighborhood group that advocated for the changes to improve traffic flow.

“There’s been a considerable amount of public notice, certainly to all community groups,” Weiss, of Metrotech Business Improvement District, said. “Even the residential towers around here, people in those were informed.”

Many residents aren’t happy about the change.

“Keep it a two-way,” driver Eric Manson said.

Others who live and work near Duffield worry the changes could lead to accidents and traffic troubles.

“I just think that it’s unnecessary,” one resident said.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a good idea,” another neighbor said.

Businesses in the neighborhood, though, are all for the change. The Sheraton on Duffield just opened in May, and two other hotels will open in the spring. As of now, anyone coming from the expressway has to drive a circuitous route, about five blocks out of the way.

“I think from the obvious safety issues and accessibility, it truly cuts down on the congestion that has developed in this area,” Marie Kupfer, general manager of the Sheraton, said.

The Department of Transportation was supposed to make the changes on Saturday, but the snowstorm pushed the transition to next Saturday.

The DOT didn’t post signs or flyers about the changes – a spokeswoman said that’s not a requirement. The DOT also said it will monitor the area after the transition and address any future concerns.

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