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"We want New York City to grow and we want bustling commerce," he said. "But at this rate, we are going to choke on our success."Leaders in western Queens, where several of the city's worst intersections and the borough's busiest streets are located, said truck traffic is multiplying in their neighborhoods."I think each and every day it gets worse," Councilman Dennis Gallagher (R-Middle Village) said. "When trucks make local deliveries, they back up traffic."Last summer the city Department of Transportation released a study analyzing the negative impact of truck traffic on neighborhoods in all five boroughs in terms of accidents and congestion. It named the intersection of Hoyt Avenue and 31st Street in Astoria as the worst in the borough and the fifth-worst in the city. The study also listed the crossing at Thomson Avenue and Queens Boulevard in Long Island City as one of the worst, but western Queens residents have also named Maspeth's Grand Avenue and 80th Street and Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village as problem sites. Weiner made several suggestions to combat borough truck traffic, including increasing truck tolls during peak hours, encouraging night deliveries to businesses and better training in truck enforcement for police officers."What we need now is better enforcement," Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said. "Many trucks are going where they are not supposed to be going without being punished."Weiner also said the city should reconsider constructing a 5.5-mile rail freight tunnel system, which would run under New York Harbor from Sunset Park in Brooklyn to Greenville Yard in New Jersey, a plan originally proposed by U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) in the late 1990s. The Cross Harbor Freight Movement Project, which was opposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has been a controversial plan in western Queens neighborhoods because the project would construct a yard in West Maspeth where trains would unload freight onto trucks. Gallagher said Cross Harbor would add 16,000 trucks per day to Maspeth, but would also negatively affect several neighboring communities."I am absolutely, unequivocally opposed to this with all my energy, heart and soul," he said. "It is a neighborhood destroying project."Juniper Park Civic Association President Robert Holden said the city should investigate methods of removing trucks from borough streets, but the Cross Harbor project is not the way to do it."We need a comprehensive plan to use freight more for the disposal of garbage and moving goods, but the Cross Harbor is not the answer," he said. "It will bring more trucks into the city."Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2007 Community Newspaper Group
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