Community Board 2 unanimously approved the city’s Maspeth truck bypass plan last Thursday, giving legs to a proposed truck route that has been the topic of fierce debate in neighboring communities.
“I’m really thrilled,” said Maura McCarthy, borough commissioner of the city Department of Transportation. “I think it’s been a long wait for the community.”
The vote came after the DOT made a presentation to board members chronicling the evolution of the plan, which seeks to keep trucks off residential Grand and Flushing avenues in Maspeth by routing them through the industrial portion of the neighborhood.
In its latest version, several changes have been made to accommodate local businesses owners, who complained at a Community Board 5 meeting last month that not enough outreach had been done and that many of the traffic pattern changes would negatively affect businesses in the area.
“A lot of it was valuable input from the business community,” McCarthy said.
Businesses like Alle Processing said making some of the streets one-way — which is critical to the DOT’s plan to effectively route traffic through the five-way intersection of Maspeth and Maurice avenues — would make it impossible to complete deliveries.
The business is at 56-20 59th St., one of the proposed one-way streets, and the only turn the trucks could make to leave the facility was too tight.
“The turning radius is too small,” said Jean Tanler of the Queens Business Outreach Center, who spoke on behalf of Alle Processing at last month’s meeting.
But Stacey Hodge, who gave the presentation at the CB 2 meeting, said that all of the turning problems have been fixed in the updated plan.
Nick Diamantis, who owns Clinton Diner at 56-26 Maspeth Ave., had previously said the one-way conversion of 57th Place, which runs in front of his restaurant, would likely force him to close.
But in the current plan, 57th Place remains two-way.
“My main thing was to have 57th Place to be two way for my business, and I got that,” he said. “But I don’t think the intersection normalization is an improvement on what is there.”
Diamantis said he thinks the one-ways will cause traffic to zip right through the neighborhood, which will hurt retail and food businesses like his.
“This is a plan to put cars straight through to Brooklyn,” he said.
But that is exactly what the neighborhood needed, according to Joseph Conley, chairman of CB 2.
“I’m happy. It’s been a long process,” Conley said after the meeting.
The plans for the bypass were first conceptualized roughly nine years ago.
The DOT wanted to get approval from CB 2 for the current plan because portions of 58th and Maurice avenues cross over into CB 2 territory.
Conley also wanted to make sure the plan would not negatively affect his neighborhoods. For example, a plan that was suggested by Maspeth residents to move the bypass over to 48th Avenue, a residential Sunnyside street, would probably not have passed in CB 2.
The DOT was set to bring the revised plan before CB 5 Wednesday for a vote.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone sat 718-260-4566.
©2011 Community News Group
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