City to reveal traffic plans

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The city will take its first steps toward curbing excess truck traffic in Maspeth at a meeting next week, ten years after Community Board 5 pointed out the problem.

The city Department of Transportation will present the results of its study on truck routes in the Maspeth neighborhood and part of those plans will be the redesignation of two traffic-clogged neighborhood streets, according to Gary Giordano, executive director of Community Board 5.

Starting from the Kings Country line, Flushing Avenue will be designated for local traffic only to Grand Avenue, which will also be designated local traffic only all the way to the Long Island Expressway.

“That should mean that if you don’t have a delivery on or approximate to Grand or Flushing avenues in those boundaries, you shouldn’t be able to use Grand or Flushing avenues with your truck,” Giordano said.

Truck traffic became a problem in the neighborhood when Brooklyn-bound drivers started to get off the Long Island Expressway and attempted to cut through Maspeth instead of taking the often-clogged Kosciuszko Bridge into Kings County.

And the smaller neighborhood streets were not meant to accommodate heavy truck traffic, according to Giordano.

“Grand Avenue is all regular neighborhood stores and residences on the side streets. Flushing Avenue is quite residential for one portion, and has lots of businesses for another,” he said. “It’s kind of overwhelming when you have your neighborhood being taken over by this truck traffic.”

Sister Rose Torma, principal of St. Stanislaus Kostka School, at 61-17 Grand Ave., is one of those overwhelmed residents.

“The tractor trailer trucks, they lumber along the road and cause a backup of traffic,” Torma said. “And the smell and the noise. There are also safety concerns.”

Torma said there is a stoplight on Grand Avenue outside her school where the trucks must come to a halt and then lurch forward on their way.

“They have to stop and start up again and it causes so much noise pollution and air pollution,” she said. “Everything at the school stops when the trucks go by. And they are legion these days.”

But the designation of Flushing and Grand avenues for local traffic is just part of a larger plan to rid central Queens of truck traffic, according to a spokesman from state Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth). The two avenues will be changed as a more immediate solution, but the DOT’s Maspeth Bypass and Intersection Normalization Study will determine a more permanent way to deal with the traffic problem, which not only affects air pollution and noise pollution, but is also a danger to pedestrians, according to Markey’s office.

Over the summer, a 13-year-old boy named Fred Endres was crushed to death by the wheels of a tractor trailer as the driver was attempting to turn, the office said.

But the study is coming a bit too late, according to City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village).

“It’s overdue,” she said. “We’re the last borough to have to take this abuse. It’s about time that we were given this change.”

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

Updated 11:02 am, October 12, 2011
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