The perpetual din disturbing Maspeth residents has forced the Department of Transportation to take action.
For years, Maspeth has been plagued by the sounds of monstrous tires smashing against potholes, diesel truck engines roaring and obnoxious horn honking. In response, the DOT presented their Maspeth Truck Bypass plan, designed to alleviate truck traffic, as well as reduce noise and air pollution, on main streets such as Maspeth, Flushing and Grand Avenues.
“The bypass is going to enable DOT to map out the route of how truckers will go instead of using Grand and Flushing Avenues,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5. “The community is very residential. Meanwhile, you have these big trucks barreling down the avenue. It doesn’t make for a safe and enjoyable community situation.”
A DOT spokesperson said the department worked closely with the community to tackle the problem of truck traffic in Maspeth.
Community Boards 2 and 5 voted to approve the DOT’s plan, which will create a detour for trucks to travel to and from the Long Island Expressway without using central avenues in Maspeth. Among the expected changes is the conversion of 58th Street and Maurice Avenue into one-way streets. The proposal and its updates, which are available at www.nyc.gov/dot, were presented to the community on 25 different occasions.
“Making it a one-way will cause more traffic for everyone,” said Vincent Henderson, a truck driver for the Department of Sanitation. “Because the streets are so wide, I think there is going to be a lot of double parking also.”
Permanent installation of the truck diversion is set to commence this summer, and other suggestions by the community are expected to be applied by the end of the year. In order to provide Maspeth residents instant relief, the DOT changed Flushing and Grand Avenues into local truck routes, meaning only trucks from the area are permitted to drive there. The NYPD began enforcing the rule earlier this year.
Despite slight improvements, residents and shop owners are hoping for an extensive resolution to the decade-long struggle.
“When the trucks are going by very fast, they cause severe cracks in my walls and things fall off my shelves,” said Holly Roman, who lives on Grand Avenue. “When they hit potholes, your windows rattle and car alarms sound.”
Roman says that truck noise wakes her and her two children up several times each night, and that the constant disturbances have been severely detrimental to her quality of life. Store owners believe truck traffic has also been harmful to commerce in the area.
“They are taking away our business,” said Anthony Nunziato, a Maspeth civic activist who owns Enchanted Florist on Grand Avenue. “Nobody wants to shop on Grand Avenue because the traffic is so backed up with tractor-trailers.”