Tag Archives: traffic

Weekend work to close Throgs Neck Bridge lanes


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by MTA / Marisa Baldeo

Up to two Bronx-bound lanes of the Throgs Neck Bridge will be closed this weekend for asphalt and binder work, according to the MTA.

One Bronx-bound lane will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday.

Starting Friday to Monday morning, a second Bronx-bound lane will be closed during overnight hours. On Friday night and Saturday night, the closures will occur from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

On Sunday night into Monday morning, the closure will occur from 10 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday.

Drivers can use the Bronx-Whitestone or the Robert F. Kennedy bridges as an alternate route.

The work may be canceled due to weather conditions, including rainy weather and extreme humidity.

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More weekend closures scheduled for Jackie Robinson Parkway


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Get ready for another round of weekend shutdowns on the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

Portions of the eastbound section of the parkway between Pennsylvania Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway will be closed as needed beginning tonight at 11 p.m. and continuing until 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Road closures will also occur each weeknight between Aug. 17 to 20 from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. the following morning; and from 11 p.m. on Aug. 21 until 8 a.m. on Aug. 22.

According to the state Department of Transportation, the closure is required as work crews replace signs and guardrails and install mow strips on the roadbed.

The DOT is currently resurfacing the entire stretch of the 5-mile roadway between Kew Gardens and Brooklyn at a cost of $17 million. Work is being done in phases; crews will turn to the westbound lanes once resurfacing on the eastbound side is complete.

Drivers are advised to use the following designated eastbound detour routes through Cypress Hills, Woodhaven, Glendale, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens:

  • Jamaica Avenue from Pennsylvania Avenue to Forest Parkway;
  • Forest Parkway from Jamaica Avenue to Park Lane South;
  • Park Lane South from Forest Parkway to Metropolitan Avenue; and
  • Metropolitan Avenue from Park Lane South to the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

Visit the DOT’s website or call 511 for further details.

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Weekend lane closures on the Throgs Neck Bridge


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by MTA / Marisa Baldeo

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

Two Bronx-bound lanes on the Throgs Neck Bridge will be closed this weekend, Aug. 14 to 17, for asphalt and binder work on the bridge.

One Bronx-bound lane will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, a second lane will be closed as follows: 10 p.m. Friday until 7 a.m. Saturday; 10 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday; and 10 p.m. Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday.

The work is dependent on good weather, as it cannot be performed under rainy or humid conditions.

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Lane closures on the Throgs Neck Bridge this weekend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by MTA / Marisa Baldeo

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

Several lanes on the Throgs Neck Bridge will be closed this weekend, July 31 through Aug. 3, for construction work, weather permitting.

One Bronx-bound lane will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. On Friday and Sunday nights, a second lane will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday night until 7 a.m. Saturday and again from 10 p.m. Sunday night until 5 a.m. Monday.

On Saturday night into Sunday morning, one Queens-bound lane will be closed from 10 p.m. through 7 a.m.

Crews working on behalf of the MTA will be applying new asphalt and binding agents onto the bridge deck.

Motorists can use the Bronx-Whitestone or the Robert F. Kennedy bridges as an alternate route.

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First phase of $100M Queens Boulevard redesign to be implemented by August


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of the Department of Transportation

The voices of a concerned community have been heard, and by August, the first segment of the redesign of what is known as the “Boulevard of Death” is expected to be implemented to make it safer.

The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Tuesday that it would be releasing a detailed preliminary plan to redesign a 1.3-mile portion of Queens Boulevard. The plan is based on community input gathered during a safety workshop held on Jan. 22 in Woodside.

This project, which will be reviewed by Community Board 2 and is expected to be implemented in August, launches the start of the DOT’s $100 million Green Streets initiative, which will cover all seven miles of Queens Boulevard.

The agency plans to hold more public workshops during the fall and winter for the future phases of the initiative, from 73rd Street to Eliot Avenue and from Eliot Avenue to Union Turnpike.

“After decades of crashes, many of them fatal, this corridor has been reimagined and will be redesigned to become a safer, greener and more attractive corridor for residents and businesses, suitable to traverse through the World’s Borough,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

The first phase of the redesign, which includes the installation of a protected bike lane, covers the 1.3-mile stretch of the thoroughfare between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street.

The agency previously said it decided to focus on this section first because statistics showed there have been six fatalities since 2009 in that particular area.

Some of the features of the first redesign segment include safer crossings, increased pedestrian space and improved intersections. The preliminary plan also looks to calm the traffic on service roads and try to reduce the number of times drivers move between the main line and service roads.

Unique redesigns include a protected bike lane integrated into a widened service road median, with new pedestrian space and median-to-median crossings that “allow for a linear park-like experience,” according to the DOT.

“This work represented a major advancement in the efforts to achieve Vision Zero throughout our city,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “Thanks to the work of the DOT, we are seeing significant improvements in traffic safety in western Queens, and we look forward to seeing Queens Boulevard safety improvements thanks to this $100 million capital investment.”

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More traffic agents, safety devices near Flushing Commons site


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of TDC Development International

Hoping to ease the pain for drivers and pedestrians, the city is bringing more traffic agents and safety devices to downtown Flushing.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced the measures during Wednesday’s meeting of Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s Flushing Commons Task Force. The advisory body was formed last year to focus on congestion issues related to the billion-dollar Flushing Commons project, a complex of housing, shops and businesses rising on a former municipal parking lot.

As of Wednesday, teams of two NYPD traffic enforcement agents were assigned to the intersections of 37th Avenue and Main Street as well as Roosevelt Avenue and Union Street. A single traffic agent was stationed at the corner of 37th Avenue and 138th Street.

Trottenberg said the DOT will also create a left-turn-only lane from 37th Avenue onto Main Street and install a temporary all-way stop sign at the corner of 37th Avenue and 138th Street.

Each of the measures, she noted, aims to improve traffic flow and increase safety for both drivers and pedestrians traveling through downtown Flushing near the Commons site.

“The task force appreciates the commitment by the DOT, the NYPD and the developers to consider all possible measures to enhance traffic flow and pedestrian safety in Flushing’s downtown core,” Katz said. “These actions are sound steps that demonstrate the DOT’s commitment, and continual engagement by all stakeholders is necessary to keep the economic engine of downtown Flushing running amidst the building pains of development.”

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblyman Ron Kim, City Councilman Peter Koo and Community Board 7 Chairperson Chuck Apelian all expressed support for the new safety measures.

Congestion in Flushing has been problematic for years; the downtown area has the highest per capita number in Queens of vehicular accidents resulting in pedestrian injury or death.

Flushing’s traffic woes increased in the area around the Commons site after work started last year. Several entrances and exits on Union Street were shut down, and a bus terminus was relocated onto 128th Street between 37th and 39th avenues, shifting many buses through the neighborhood.

Katz formed the task force last year to engage city agencies and F&T Group, Flushing Commons’ developer, with local business groups and civic leaders to find ways to alleviate Flushing’s traffic problems. Since December, the DOT — at the task force’s urging — amended a pedestrian walkway permit at the Commons site, shifting it into a parking lane. This, the borough president’s office noted, helped improve traffic flow through the neighborhood.

Along with the measures announced Wednesday, Trottenberg said the DOT is contemplating the following additional measures to further improve traffic conditions in Flushing:

  • Reversing the direction of traffic on one-way 38th Avenue;
  • Creating a right-turn lane from 37th Avenue onto Main Street;
  • Temporarily removing parking spaces on 37th Avenue and 138th Street immediately adjacent to the Flushing Commons construction site; and
  • Installing new stop signs, traffic signals and/or enhanced street markings at several other intersections, including 37th Avenue and 138th Street, Union Street and 38th Avenue, Main Street and 37th Avenue, 39th Avenue and Union Street, and Roosevelt Avenue and Union Street.

 

City focuses on reducing pedestrian deaths in Queens


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

City officials have chosen Queens to launch the first borough-wide traffic safety crackdown in the city as part of a long-range effort to reduce the number of deaths from auto accidents, police and transportation officials announced at a press conference in Jamaica on Tuesday.

“We launched Vision Zero in Queens a year ago, and today we proudly return to the world’s borough to release the first of our five groundbreaking Borough Pedestrian Safety Action Plans,” said transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

“These Borough Plans combine cutting-edge data analysis and community input from thousands of New Yorkers in all five boroughs. They will help the city target its engineering, enforcement and education efforts to make New York’s streets the safest in the world.”

The announcement was made at P.S. 82, near the intersection of Metropolitan and Hillside avenues, a “priority corridor” slated for a major redesign because of historically high rates of deaths and serious injuries.

On average, 43 people in Queens have died every year since 2011, according to data compiled by the city, and most of these deaths occurred in Flushing, Elmhurst and Jamaica, where there is a high concentration of car and foot traffic.

By focusing on intersections and areas in Queens with the highest number pedestrian deaths, the Department of Transportation identified 72 intersections and 47 corridors that pose the most danger to people and where the highest percentage of car-related deaths have taken place.

Trottenberg and other officials outlined a series of initiatives that will take two years and, the city hopes, will bring down the average number of pedestrian deaths and injuries in Queens. The initiative is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero.

The city, among other things, wants to increase pedestrian crossing times at crosswalks for areas like Northern Boulevard between Queens Plaza and 114th Street; change traffic signals so that they deter people from driving fast on large boulevards that Queens is known for; increase the amount of light in dark underpasses; and expand the bicycle lanes and network.

Cops will also take a tougher line on speeding hot spots identified by the city.

“We’re going to concentrate our enforcement efforts in these areas,” said NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan. “We’re going to do our best to reduce the number of traffic fatalities.”

These plans are the results of years of preparation by the transportation department and community input received during workshops over the last year.

The press conference was also attended by local politicians whose areas included some of the dangerous areas.

“I appreciate all the effort that the administration is putting into safety,” Councilman Rory Lancman said. “This is going to make a real difference with people I represent.

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Two Queens-bound lanes of Throgs Neck Bridge to close overnight this weekend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Marisa Baldeo

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

Two of the three Queens-bound lanes on the Throgs Neck Bridge will be closed during overnight hours this weekend, while one lane will be closed during the day.

From Friday, Aug. 22 at 10 p.m. through Monday, Aug. 25, at 5 a.m., one lane to Queens will be closed due to construction. One additional lane will stay closed between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. on all three days.

According to the MTA, these closures can cause delays in traffic movement, so motorists should use the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge or Robert F. Kennedy Bridge as an alternative.

This is the fourth of the seven non-consecutive weekends that the MTA needs to replace 90,000 square feet of binder and asphalt overlay to deliver on its promise of a smoother riding experience, according to the agency. All work is heavily dependent on good weather.

For up-to-date information on MTA service status visit www.mta.info.

 

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Traffic study released on site of fatal LIC accident


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

More than a year ago, 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak was fatally struck while on his way to school on Thomson Avenue. Now, LaGuardia Community College has released a traffic study on the highly congested roadway, to help prevent another life from being lost.

The comprehensive analysis was led by traffic engineering firm Philip Habib & Associates and recommends three changes be made to the corridor to improve safety for students and faculty.

The first change calls for the widening of sidewalks along Thomson Avenue by getting rid of one of the eastbound lanes, creating a buffer between vehicles and pedestrians.

The other suggestions are creating sidewalk bulb-outs, or curb extensions, and modifying current signal timing at select intersections.

The recommendations were decided after measuring hourly traffic volume and assessing signal timing, lane markings and curbside parking regulations. The firm also reviewed accident data from the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT).

Last July, the DOT redesigned Thomson and Skillman avenues by closing the slip ramp and making it illegal for vehicles to make left turns from Thomson onto Skillman Avenue. New signs and plastic markers to limit left turns from Thomson Avenue to 30th Street have also been installed.

There is also a brand new 550-square-foot pedestrian space at the intersection of 30th Street and Thomson Avenue, where Drudak was struck by a minivan. It is bordered by stone blocks, plastic markings and six planters.

Thomas Avenue brings in a large amount of pedestrian traffic with over 50,000 students and 2,500 faculty and staff from LaGuardia Community College, located on Thomson Avenue, and more than 2,000 students from five nearby high schools, according to Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College.

“For years, LaGuardia has been concerned about the pedestrian and vehicular safety of its students, faculty and staff,” Mellow said. “LaGuardia urges the city to rapidly make the necessary improvements for both pedestrian and vehicular safety by making modifications on Thomson Avenue, between Skillman Avenue and Van Dam Street.”

 

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Dangerous Sunnyside intersection prompts DOT study


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

A transit advocacy group is moving to make changes to a hazardous Sunnyside intersection.

Representatives from the Queens Committee of Transportation Alternatives say the juncture of Borden Avenue and Greenpoint Avenue, running above the Long Island Expressway, is perilous for pedestrians and cyclists due to unclear markings and poorly-timed traffic signals.

“Frankly, it’s an absolute nightmare,” said Transportation Alternatives member Steve Scofield, who rides his bike through the intersection frequently. “There really is no safe way for a pedestrian or cyclist to get through the intersection safely.”

Many northbound cyclists choose to navigate the intersection illegally to optimize safety, crossing Greenpoint Avenue and riding against traffic on the southbound side. Scofield said it’s safer for bike rides to move in the opposite direction rather than be at the mercy of drivers with limited visibility. Nearly half of cyclists who cross the intersection use this method.

According to Streetsblog.com, a cyclist was struck and killed by a livery cab at the intersection in April 2012.

The driver of the cab was not charged with any crime. According to CrashStat.org, since 1998 there have been four accidents at the crossing, all of which resulted in injuries.

In order to create a safer intersection, Scofield wants to implement protected left signals and shared lanes for bikes and cars; convert Hunters Point Boulevard into a westbound one-way street; and add more lights for cyclists and pedestrians.

In August 2012, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer sent a letter to then Queens DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy, alerting her to the traffic calming measures needed at this intersection.

“This daunting intersection has had a history of accidents in recent years due to a lack of the appropriate traffic light timing and issues with speed control,” said Van Bramer. “These hazards have put the lives of pedestrians, motorists and cyclists in danger and action must be taken before another life is lost. ”

According to a spokesperson from the Department of Transportation (DOT), the agency will conduct a study on the intersection based on Community Board 2’s recommendations.

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Horse gone wild


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

A jittery horse escaped his stable and ran into rush-hour traffic in Queens yesterday morning, striking a car, authorities said.

Blackjack fled from Cedar Lane Stables in Howard Beach at around 8:20 a.m.

He struck a Honda sedan that had been waiting for the light, smashing its windshield.

[New York Post]

MTA Service Update for Good Friday and Start of Passover on April 6


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The New York City Subway and the Staten Island Railway will operate on a regular weekday schedule throughout Friday, April 6, Good Friday and the start of Passover. However, there will be some adjustments to MTA services as noted below.

 

New York City Buses

 

New York City Transit and MTA Bus Company buses will operate their regular weekday hours of service and travel paths with minor scheduling adjustments on some routes. There will be no Limited-Stop bus service in Staten Island on the S81, S84, S86, S90, S91, S92, S94, S96 and S98.  There is no Limited-Stop bus service in Queens on the Q6, Q21, Q25 and Q65.

 

Long Island Rail Road

 

The LIRR will operate a regular weekday schedule with nine additional eastbound trains from Penn Station, between 2:08 PM and 3:48 PM, for customers leaving work early in observance of Passover and Good Friday, April 6. There will be three additional trains on the Babylon Branch, three on the Port Jefferson Branch, two on the Port Washington Branch, and one on the Far Rockaway Branch.

 

For details, see the attached press release from the LIRR.

 

Metro-North Railroad

 

Metro-North will operate a regular weekday schedule, even though ridership is expected to be down a third from a normal Friday, so there is plenty of capacity for people who want to leave New York early. There is, however, one service change.

 

There will be an additional early afternoon super express on the Hudson Line, departing Grand Central Terminal at 3:25 PM and stopping only at Beacon, New Hamburg and Poughkeepsie. The 6:12 PM express from New York that is normally due Poughkeepsie at 7:43 PM, will not operate.

 

MTA Bridges and Tunnels

 

All temporary roadway closures will be lifted by 1 PM on Friday April 6, in anticipation of an early rush-hour period.

 

 

SPECIAL TRAFFIC ADVISORY

 

Two Lanes Closed On The Queens To Manhattan Ramp At RFK Bridge Beginning 10 A.M. Thurs., April 5th Through 5 A.M. Fri. April 6th 

 

Two of three lanes on the Queens to Manhattan ramp of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge will be closed to traffic beginning 10 a.m. Thurs., April 5th through 5 a.m. on Fri., April 6th while roadway repairs are completed. One lane will remain open.

 

Motorists are advised that they may experience delays. All work is dependent on good weather.

 

Pol: Change traffic response policy


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Local politicians rallied to rule reckless riders off the road, saying bad drivers belong behind bars, not the wheel.

According to NYPD policy, an Accident Investigation Squad (AIS) is only deployed to crash scenes in which a victim has been declared dead or “likely to die” by a medical professional. For all other cases, patrol officers will fill out an accident report, but cannot launch an in-depth examination.

“What that means in real terms is that someone could speed through an intersection, cripple a person, and most likely that driver will not face criminal charges,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone, who held a joint hearing with Councilmember and Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca — examining the NYPD’s traffic accident response, investigations and enforcement of traffic rules.

Additionally, according to the NYPD, policy states only members of AIS can issue violations and make arrests when no police officer witnessed the accident.

“Far too many people have been injured, or narrowly avoided injury, and have seen the reckless driver responsible get away with it because the police have refused to investigate,” said Vallone, who is also chair of the Public Safety Committee. “People have been severely hit, and the drivers who injured them were not punished in any way other than perhaps getting a traffic ticket.”

According to data from the hearing, more New Yorkers died at the hands of reckless or speeding drivers than gunfire from 2000 to 2009, although NYPD Deputy Chief John Cassidy of the Transportation Bureau said there was an all-time record low of traffic fatalities last year.

Cassidy said there were 241 deaths in 2011 — a 39 percent decrease from 2001.

Still, Vallone said the “insufficient laws” are coupled with a drastically decreasing uniform headcount throughout the department. He said within the Transportation Bureau, there were only 211 highway officers in 2011 — down from 376 in 2001.

“We need to stop allowing our police department to be decimated. That is obviously going to have an impact when it comes to enforcement,” said Vallone. “We hope that this hearing will yield information that will keep our streets safer for all — [especially if you] have been injured at the hands of a reckless driver who got away with it due to our current laws.”

Pending legislation supported by Vallone and Vacca calls on the state to give police officers authority to issue summonses even if the officer was not present at the time of the accident, as long as the officer has reasonable cause to believe the violation was committed by the driver.

“It does not seem to be a priority for the NYPD to weed out these dangerous motorists who are harming innocent pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Vallone. “We’re upset. Reckless drivers have been put back on the road and can injure more people.”