Malba Gardens wants sign telling tractors to stay out

Alfredo Centola (l.), Sylvia Kanellos and her dog Robbie stand in front of the 3rd Avenue exit of the Whitestone Expressway. Photo by Joe Anuta
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A group of Whitestone residents want the city to put up a simple sign that would stop tractor trailers from barreling through their neighborhood, but the city said no 10 years ago and the answer still stands.

Alfredo Centola first brought up the idea to the city Department of Transportation about a decade ago.

Malba Gardens Exit 3 is the last exit before the Whitestone Bridge. In addition to serving the Malba Gardens neighborhood just east of the bridge, it can also serve as the last escape for confused motorists who want to avoid the toll and for commercial trucks seeking a shortcut to downtown Whitestone, according to Centola.

“It is a huge issue,” Centola said, speaking at the corner of 5th Avenue and the Whitestone Expressway service road. “It has gotten a lot worse over the last 10 years because of all the development.”

The trucks are supposed to follow a designated truck route into Whitestone that involves getting off the Cross Island Parkway and taking either 14th or 20th avenues, he said.

But Centola and other neighbors, like Sylvia Kanellos, who was walking her boxer along 5th Avenue, can testify that truckers do not always follow the rules.

“They are big and bulky,” she said. “When they make turns and you want to walk near the street, they don’t stop.”

Last year a tractor trailer plowed right into a fire hydrant, she said, and then backed up and ruptured its gas tank, she said.

According to Centola, a sea of diesel fuel flooded the area.

The city Department of Transportation confirmed that 5th Avenue is not a truck route and said it looked at the exit in 2010 and determined that a sign was not needed. The department also recently received another request from Centola and will assess whether a sign is now needed, the DOT said.

But Centola said things will only get worse.

In the spring, the city is set to begin a series of renovations on the Whitestone Bridge. Construction on the bridge means possible lane closures.

And that means traffic backup, he said.

When traffic starts to get slow on the Whitestone Bridge, knowledgeable commuters ditch their plans and take 5th Avenue or the Cross Island Parkway all the way across Whitestone to the Throgs Neck Bridge, he said.

As proof, early last week an accident shut down the Whitestone Bridge in both directions and there were backups to get over both crossings. Adding tractor trailers to the mix will make the neighborhood even less safe for children and families, Centola warned.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Posted 12:57 am, March 15, 2012
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Reader feedback

Mike says:
City said they do not put negative signs, I was there.
March 16, 2012, 2:40 pm
Carmine from Malba gardens says:
Now it starts again you people are pathetic, you were not there.
March 16, 2012, 3:36 pm
Carmine from Malba gardens says:
Al, maybe all it takes is having green ham and eggs with the mayor to get what you need. Keep up the good fight.
March 17, 2012, 1:48 pm
Jerry from Whitestone says:
You buy a house a block off a major highway leading to the bridge and all destinations south, you are a block from an exit of that highway, and all of a sudden you notice it's busy. Please. You have been fighting for years to "one way " your block so traffic can go to ther blocks further away from the exit (which means more valuable). Not to mention more traffic going to the park area where you complained that there was too much traffic. You sound just like people that complain about the kids when you buy a house next to a school. Was the highway and exit there when you bought the house? Sorry. Just because you buy the less desirable house doesn't mean you need to fix that and create issues for people that paid for more desirable houses. Live with it or move.
March 17, 2012, 10:50 pm
Mike says:
Jerry for the record this problem didn't exist up until 1997 when a well connected resident was able to get a concrete divider extended in order to prevent cars from turning onto 6 th avenue. That's when 5 th avenue began with it's problems. Also did you read the DOT confirmation that 5 th avenue is not a truck route? So they should move because people break the law?

The highway exit was there and from 1939 to 1997 people were able to turn on 6,5,4,3 avenues.

Do you know that the first street Thad specifically built to handle the exit traffic was 7 th avenue and the contractors back then overshot the exit and refused to remedy the problem? Hence the 70 foot street as opposed to the 25 foot streets of every other avenue.

They can reopen the 6 th avenue option, they can put the exit where Robert moses designed it to be, they can push the exit down to 3 Ed avenue which is 70 feet wide with only 7 homes on one side and yes there is a park on the other, why not put stop signs and traffic lights in order to make it safer? Oh that's right the people want the convenience of being able to speed, run through stop signs, and get hom 2 seconds or OH MY GOD! (gasp) TWO MINUTES LATER! Ah yes convenience!

Just sharing some facts with you Jerry and anyone else who might not have know the history.

Thank you.
March 17, 2012, 11:28 pm
Ken from Whitestone says:
Yeah Mike, go get'em brother! Next time I get off the third ave exit and turn down 5th., I will repetitively honk my horn in soladerity.
March 18, 2012, 4:16 am
Mike says:
Hey Ken,Sounds good and this way when Im working I'll pull you over and issue a couple of noise violations along with anything else I can find,you never know.

March 18, 2012, 7:22 am
Jerry from Whitestone says:
I don't live around there, but I would think it is obvious for anyone to see that a car making a right turn on 6th Avenue decelerating from a highway is a ridculously dangerous situation. I know the conspiracy theory sounds better, but try to be a bit honest. That is a ridiculous right turn. The barrier is obviousley there for safety. Yet, the same thing you don't want from the 6th ave barrier is what you want to do to the avenues further north. As far as what the original contractors were supposed to do, sorry. As I said, the highway was there as built, one block from your homes. Too bad. The "only 7 homes" are in a better location than the 5th Ave homes. Sorry, they probably paid more for that location. And, there is absolutely no reason to put traffic lights by the park as it is right now. There would be if you got your way. Don't worry about the kids, though. As long as your block is more quiet. If the trucks break the law, ticket them. If the cars run stop signs, ticket them. You know as well as I do that the "5th Avenue group" wants to stop all eastbound traffic on their street, to the detriment of all the other blocks that knew enough to avoid the situation in the first place.
March 18, 2012, 9:10 am
Mike says:

As I said, from 1939 to 1997 all was good.

No reason to put traffic lights in front of the park? You can not be serious, there are no traffic devices in place.

If you knew the history of 5th avenue and what we have been trying to do, you would know we started out requesting no truck signs which we were told would not be put up because they dont put up negative signs, we asked for speed humps and were told they could not be put up, we had a DOT study find 107 cars an hour use 5th avenue with 33% of those cars speeding, we have repeatedly asked DOT, Padavan, Avella, Halloran, The Mayors office, and countless others for a solution. Guess what they came up with? Nothing! Now if Mr. Tramunti (former president of Greater Whitestone) lived on 5th avenue , maybe things would have been different?

You have no idea what has gone on on 5th avenue. The 109 pct, does not have the manpower to worry about anything outside of Flushing.

Who knew enough to avoid the situation in the first place? It didnt exist from 1939 to 1997, 58 YEARS!

Please lets be a bit honest yourself.
March 18, 2012, 10:13 am
Carmine from Malba Gardens says:
Alfredo, it's not worth debating here because your right, he will never be honest. These people do not live on our block so they can't know what we are going through day and night. This Jerry seems like a real a-hole anyway.
March 18, 2012, 3:48 pm
Mike says:
Carmine, it's not Alfredo debating and I don't live there either. I was there when him and Sal met with the DOT supervisor about 7 years ago on the corner of the service road.

Either way, you are right there is no point in debating on this forum with people who were not there nor are they there.

Next time I.m in town ill walk up and introduce myself.

March 18, 2012, 4:31 pm
Carmine from Malba gardens says:
I'm sorry, you just never know what name Alfredo will use to get his message out. When you are in town just don't stand on 5th. avenue because you may get hit with a big truck turning down our street. Help us out if you can. Thank you.
March 18, 2012, 4:59 pm
Jerry from Whitestone says:
I think speed bumps might be a good solution, but you really don't answer the questions. The exit and highway have always been there. If people who lived there thought there would never be highway traffic going down that block, they were a naive , at best. The reason they came up with "nothing" is because it is what it is. Have you ever seen the blocks off Clearview or the Cross Island? There are lots of people in the same situation as 5th Avenue. Maybe they knew the trade off when they bought a house by a major highway in NYC. Once again, I don't see where anything you do on 5th Avenue won't affect people on other avenues further north that paid higher prices to avoid this situation. I get it, you get more traffic than you want on the block. I don't need to live there to understand. And, no, there is no reason to put traffic lights at the park, unless you have stats that show that there are more accidenst there than there should be for that type of street. In case you didn't know, the DOT MUST follow federal guidelines for traffic lights and stop signs, or they risk losing federal funds. They can't just put up traffic impediments because people right off a highway and bridge want a quiet block.
March 18, 2012, 4:59 pm
Carmine from Malba gardens says:
Hey Jerry, you seem to have a great deal of information on this matter, truth is our little civic is lacking true leadership. If there is a solution I would like to hear it.
March 18, 2012, 5:34 pm
Mike says:
the DOT MUST follow federal guidelines

Very interesting choice of words, In case YOU dont know the city can go more restrictive as the case with the drinking age where in other states its 18 and yet in NY its 21, the Federal guidelines are just that guidelines. Did you also know that according to the feds you need 500 cars per hour in order to force a directional change. 500 cars an hour, thats a highway.

The houses on 5th, 4th, and 3rd, went and are going for the same, remember that up until 1997 there was not major issue. Nor was there the overdevelopment (without any impact studies) that there is now.

Also, as per DOT they can not place speed humps because of the way the houses and driveways are situated.

Not only do we want a quiet block by residential guidelines, we want a safe block. If that is too much to ask, then shame on us.
March 18, 2012, 5:48 pm
Carmine from Malba Gardens says:
Sounds like someone works for or is one of the local elected officials commenting here.
March 18, 2012, 5:49 pm
Alfredo from Malba Gardens Civic says:
Seriously? Mike has hit every point acurately. The history or our problem has been well documented. We accumulated over 200 pages of documents and hundreds of emails. We ask for help we get nothing, we make suggestions and we are pushing the problem to others. As stated earlier from 1939 to 1997 there was no problem, then with the overdevelopment and other factors, someone was able to push the problem down.

It's not about property value, nor is it about we should have know better as the problem didn't exist before. We are open to suggestions and have reached out to those in office as well as those in positions to come up with solutions in order to resolve our issue. Every step of the way we have been lied to or ignored. The situation is getting progressively worse .

We want to avoid a tragedy. We want to protect our families. We want the quality of life we had pre 1997. We want police enforcement. We want safety. We want traffic safety. Is that too much to want?
March 18, 2012, 6:15 pm
Carmine from Malba Gardens says:
So Mike what is your real name?
March 18, 2012, 6:55 pm
Carmine from Malba Gardens says:
Jerry, 10 years way to long!
March 18, 2012, 6:57 pm
Jerry from Whitestone says:
Mike, I have no knowledge of laws concerning alcohol or direction change. I do know something about traffic lights and stop signs because I was involved with an issue about putting a traffic light up on the Clearview service road near Northern Blvd. When somebody accused DOT of being racist because a lighyt was put up on a corner considered less multi-cultural than the corner they wanted it on, I decided to research the issues. I contacted the DOT directly to get facts and I found out exactly what I said. Why did I do that? Because things like that burn me up. As if someone in DOT said'" Screw the minority kids, the white kids are more important". Ridiculous. The DOT of any city just can't put up traffic lights where ever they want. Wouldn't every corner in the US be safer with a traffic light on it? Not practical though. I am not an elected official and I am not affilaited with one, so stop with the conspiracy nonsense. It seems every time somebody challenges some people, they scream conspiracy or call people names, right a-hole? The reason I chime in about this is because this also burns me up. There are plenty of blocks that are right off highway exits in this country, not only 5th Avenue in Malba Gardens ( whatever that is) . I have read about this story for years. What you really want is that street to be one way so you don't get any traffic. That's fine, except it will affect other blocks in your neighborhood. I guess that doesn't matter. It wil also affect the park that you have already complained was dangerous because of traffic. As long as your block is OK, than everything else doesn't matter. If you have no solution and the DOT has no solution, then I don't have a solution. The one thing I agree with is keep pushing for law enforcement. I titally agree with you. If this is a major issue, than the police should park there and give tickets. Maybe they should set up a camera and catch the commercial traffic. What they should not do is change traffic direction because you want it that way. I am sure the people north of you don't.
March 18, 2012, 7 pm
Mike says:
For the record I never said a hole. While you make some good points my brother and his neighbors have researched the issue as well and accord to several experts, Federal guidelines are just that and more restrictive can be done not less restrictive.

Again this issue on 5th began in 1997, and if you look at the turn radius on 5th you will see that it too is a dangerous curve.

Law enforcement is a joke, they come by stay 5 to 10 minutes and then are never seen again. They wont put up cameras as it is not legal in NYC yet.

5th avenue was affected because of politicaly connected resident on 6th avenue. Moving to the present I once again say that as per DOT 33% of 107 vehicles traveing on 5th per hour speed. 35 tickets per hour and the police wont come, why?

So my question is, what do we do to protect the families and kids on this street?
March 18, 2012, 7:26 pm
Ken from Whitestone says:
hey mike, whos jack?
March 18, 2012, 8 pm
Ken from Whitestone says:
Jerry, I think Mike is Alfredo Centola but I also think you already know that.
March 18, 2012, 8:11 pm
Mike says:
Hey Carmine, looks like we could be asking you the same thing.

Ken, sorry to dissapoint you, but he is a relative.
March 18, 2012, 8:34 pm
Carmine from WHITESTONE says:
I am so tied of you pathetic people and now the relatives of Alfredo. All I ever wanted was for the damn trucks to stop coming down my street. Al has this civic, he said he can help, ten years later and nothing done. Sorry but this ends today. Mike, Alfredo whatever you want to call yourself, you have failed us.
March 18, 2012, 9:21 pm
Carmine says:
Hello Cindy, and D-Man how are you?
March 19, 2012, 5:49 am
Jerry from Whitestone says:
Mike, you say that 5th Avenue is a dangerous turn, but you also say that 6th Avenue was done because of connections. So, you are saying that turns are OK on 6th Avenue but not on 5th? Or, are you saying turns should be allowed passed 5th Ave? It's amazing how you people sound. Please stop the trucks from the highway a block from my house get off the exist a block from my house before the bridge a block from my house from turning on my block. Please stop all the noise outside my Manhattan apartment, please stop the school kids from the school across the street from walking on my lawn, please stop the restaurant that is next door from allowing their customers to park in front of my house or dump their garbage at night. If only we had so many cops. When my parents first came here, they lived in an apartment that was at eye level to the tracks on the EL. They never called the MTA to quiet down. They knew what they were in for when they got there.
March 19, 2012, 7:14 am
Mike says:

So what you are saying is that it is ok to push the problem down to 5th avenue and allow all the illegal truck traffic and speeding cars to continue? You People? This problem was pushed down to 5th and has only gotten worse, and this is your retort? We lived in a railroad apartment facing the EL, so Im glad to hear you know where we are coming from. That however does not justify what was done to 5th avenue, what is being done, and the fact that no one is willing to do a thing to help the residents on that block. They wont even put up a no truck sign (which is what this story was about in the first place) because "the drivers know it is not a truck route, and, DOT does not put up negative signs".

Unless of course you are the manager for a community board in LIC in that case DOT has plenty of No Truck signs to put up in your community.
March 19, 2012, 10:59 am
Ken from Whitestone says:
Okay Mike,(since Mike is the name you choose this time) what do you want?.. With you it's always a whole lot of complaning and no doing.. or maybe this a just the ten year celebration of your ineptitude.
March 19, 2012, 2:27 pm
Carmine from Malba Gardens says:
Didn't sound like complaining to me he just stated a fact.
March 19, 2012, 6:22 pm
Carmine from WHITESTONE says:
Alfredo, please stop using my name on this or any other blog you play on.
March 19, 2012, 7:04 pm
Carmine F from Malba Gardens says:
Didn't realize there was a fake Carmine pretending to be from 5th avenue or maybe my 50 plus years on this block I missed another Carmine??????

Not Alfredo my Name is Carmine you fake clown!

As stated earlier hello Cindy, Cynthia, and the D - man.
March 19, 2012, 7:43 pm
Carmine from WHITESTONE says:
Alfredo, there is no Carmine F. on this page, only you, so please stop using my name.
March 20, 2012, 11:02 am
Carmine F from Malba Gardens says:
Shut up you fake.
March 20, 2012, 11:49 am
Jerry from Whitestone says:
You are all over the place. First of all, I agree with you, the signs seem logical, but then shouldn't every strett of every exit in the city have one. I guess I'm thinking in DOT terms. Anyway, you didn't answer my question. You said the 5th Avenue turn is dangerous off the bridge, yet you say the barrier blocking 6th was put there because of connections. So, are you saying the 5th Ave turn off the highway is more dangerous than the 6th Ave turn would be? If you are going to make accusations ablout what comes down to corruption, you should be clear.
March 20, 2012, 12:11 pm
Jerry from Whitestone says:
I thought so
March 21, 2012, 6:24 am
Barbara from Whitestone says:

Mr. Centola, some questions if you don't mind. You seem to be an authority, a historian in this matter with over 200 pages of well documented material.

The documents you have are originating from were, stating what?...

You also speak of over development, over development were? If it's not in relation to this matter, it doesn't matter...

You have stated, "we want to avoid tragedy" and "the situation is getting progressively worse". No one wants tragedy but as a reader I would like to know, within this fifteen year period, what documented evidence do you have were anything in this area is getting progressively worse?...
March 21, 2012, 4:07 pm
Barbara from Whitestone says:
And lastly, you said, and I quote, "We are open to suggestions and have reached out to those in office as well as those in positions to come up with solutions in order to resolve our issue, every step of the way we have been lied to or ignored"...

Mr. Centola, Really? People in elected office or people working within city agencies with the ability to resolve matters, hove ignored your suggestions and lied to you? Do you really believe they all ignore you, why?...

You are really not helping your case, your members are not helping your case. You speak of conspiracy and your members are rude, insulting and condescending and this is only within a few short paragraphs within this discussion...

I think your group needs a new approach, if you want results...

March 21, 2012, 4:08 pm
Carmine F from Malba Gardens Civic says:
Really? You are all just phony, fake, liars that don't care about your community.
March 21, 2012, 8:15 pm
Barbara from Whitestone says:
Mr. Centola, If your Carmine F. is a true representation of your Malba Gardens Civic Association, one can clearly see why you have ongoing issues. How dare you.
March 22, 2012, 12:42 pm
Fed up says:
Mr. Centola, If your Carmine F. is a true representation of your Malba Gardens Civic Association, one can clearly see why you have ongoing issues. How dare you.


It apears that there are others sabatoging and using the call names of those who truly are a part of the community, this is evidenced by the variations in the comments.
March 22, 2012, 1:49 pm
Carmine F from Malba Gardens Civic says:
Cindy, is that you?
March 22, 2012, 2:37 pm
With you says:

It apears that there are others sabatoging and using the call names of those who truly are a part of the community, this is evidenced by the variations in the comments.

"Ive used different variations of my name over a dozen times already in order to differentiate me from others attempting to cause a rift within our community".

Alfredo Centola
March 22, 2012, 2:59 pm
Ken from Whitestone says:
Where is Mike, he forgot to answer Jerry's question.
March 22, 2012, 4:13 pm
Denise from Whitestone says:
I feel your pain- there are established truck routes that trucks simply ignore . DOT refused the place"negative signage" as they put it so trucks continue to fly down 10th ave and taking out cares or slowing down traffic when they can't fly. Then to add insult to injury, the morons at MTA throw a bus route down 10th ave. our elected officials have absolutely no power to help. We had media coverage, press conferences you name it . It's hilarious to see now buses sometimes one each way and trucks getting down 10th at the same time. A miracle we haven't had a disaster here. Tony Avella championed our cause until he was elected. Need I say more..c
March 25, 2012, 4:28 pm
Lisa from Whitestone says:
Hey Denise, Yes! say much more. Thank god, someone sane speaking for fifth avenue! you are so, so right! What you need to do is re-group, get Centola the e-mail king and his cast of phony negative characters out of the picture and stop with this Malba Gardens crap, you live in Whitestone. The people of Whitestone will support your cause. Contact and meet with every city agency able to correct this problem, ring every door bell in town, collect hundreds of signatures, organize a rally and speak the truth. Get out there, call the press, TV and print, do it, change it, make it happen. Good Luck!
March 25, 2012, 5:18 pm
Alfredo C says:
Denise you are 100% correct the more people we get out there calling and contacting our representatives the better for all. The more the community really gets involved the better it's chances of maintaing it's quality of life, as well as the safety of it's residents.

Lisa, I am sorry you feel that way. If what you allege were to be true, I would have some severe carp ell tunnel. Speaking of speaking the truth, try it instead of hurling wild allegations.
March 25, 2012, 7:53 pm
Lisa from Whitestone says:
Alfredo, If you ever did half the things I suggested to Denise, you would not be complaining so much. That is all you do, you want everybody to do for you. Check your record, I did! You may not agree with me but the only one hurling is you.
March 25, 2012, 8:51 pm
Alfredo C says:
Yet again pretending to know what I have or have not done. You claim to have " checked my record", if so you would know all the things We as a group have done to remedy our problem. It appears you are better at hurling and calling people names than you are at "checking records".

I would love to further discuss what we have done, as well has hear what suggestions you may have. However the ones you mentioned have been done repeatedly, hopefully you have some new ones. You can email us at; Enjoy
March 25, 2012, 9:21 pm
Lisa from Whitestone says:
Alfredo, There is no record of your groups involvement in anything community oriented other then their on-line negative attacks of every elected and civic leader in this community. I know you have said, "I can only be responsible for comments I make", while responding to others questioning your groups harassing nature but as you claim to be the President of this group and talking about what you have done as a group to remedy your problems, you proudly say, "we as a group". One of your members have been quoted as saying you have throne him under the bus. I know its never you and when it gets a little toasty you just claim you or they never said it do to in-line imposters, imitaters or whatever. You are very creative and you accuse me of pretending.

But putting that aside, you want some new suggestions, here is what a said to Denise earlier in this discussion, minus my comments about you.

The people of Whitestone will support your cause. Contact and meet with every city agency able to correct this problem, ring every door bell in town, collect hundreds of signatures, organize a rally and speak the truth. Get out there, call the press, TV and print, do it, change it, make it happen.
March 26, 2012, 9:50 am
Carmine F says:
One of your members have been quoted as saying you have throne him under the bus"

That comment was not made by me and the person who posted that comment using my name was not me

just so we are clear there is no other Carmine in our organization
March 26, 2012, 10 am
Lisa from Whitestone says:

"Thanks for throwing me under the bus. What do you mean "let it rest"? I have been in your corner from the beginning and now you publicly state that I get involved with contentious arguments? Contentious maybe, but always on your behalf and with your blessing. I'm probably the only one who has shared your vision. You always sign your name? Maybe you believe that. Obviously, he was right afterall!"

Times Ledger Feb.7, 2012

Okay, I will cut you some slack, if I was caught stating something like this about a President of an organization I speak for, I probably would deny it as well.
March 26, 2012, 1:26 pm
Carmine F says:
You think you are so smart. I am not Carmine, I an Carmine F.
March 27, 2012, 7:52 am
Peter from Whitestone says:
Denise, Tony Avella is an oppurtunistic putz.
March 27, 2012, 8:34 am
TJ from Whitestone says:
Must be why Alfredo is such a fan.
March 27, 2012, 9:57 am
Lisa from Whitestone says:
Alfredo, herein lies one of your many problems, you should not let Carmine or Carmine F, your little tas-maniacs loose.
March 27, 2012, 5:08 pm
Maria says:
Hey, "it is what it is" right?
March 27, 2012, 9:23 pm

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