An Open Letter to state DOT Commissioner Matthew Driscoll:
It is with great concern that my civic association learned at the January monthly meeting of Queens Community Board 11 that the New York State Dept. of Transportation is planning to close down and remove two pedestrian ramps that go under the Long Island Railroad trestle along the Clearview Expressway here in Bayside, Queens.
They will not be replaced. One of the ramps is on the west side of the expressway, the other on the east side.
For years, my civic association, which covers this particular part of Bayside, has been noticing the deterioration of these two ramps.
Reinforcement rods have been hanging out underneath the crumbling cement walkways that make up the ramps. At one point a huge hole appeared on the western side ramp that had to be covered with a metal plate.
The deterioration has been reported several times over the years, without significant response from your agency. Now we learn that the ramps are scheduled to be removed instead of being refurbished. This is unacceptable.
These two ramps are used by the residents of the area to get from one side of Bayside to the other.
The Long Island Railroad divides Bayside into two halves with very limited places for pedestrians to cross from one side to the other.
To state that residents can walk several blocks to either Francis Lewis Boulevard or Corporal Kennedy Street to cross the tracks shows a lack of empathy for and understanding of our community.
There are service roads that go under the tracks on either side of the Clearview Expressway. I fear that if the two ramps are removed, pedestrians will resort to walking along these service roads to go from one side of the tracks to the other.
This would be extremely dangerous since there are no sidewalks along the sections of the service roads that go underneath the trestle, and many vehicles notoriously speed along those particular sections.
On behalf of my civic association, I have contacted the offices of State Senator Tony Avella, Assembly Member Edward Braunstein and Council Member Paul Vallone to voice our opposition over the closing and removal of these ramps.
We also can not understand why there has been no prior notice regarding the removals, nor any attempt by your agency to discuss this matter with Queens Community Board 11, our civic association, or the residents who regularly use these ramps.
We are very concerned in this area with what happens in our community and we are very disappointed that your agency has made no attempt to reach out to us to discuss the impacts that your actions will have on us.
We call on your agency to stop plans to close these ramps on January 13th and to come and discuss alternative plans with local residents that will lead to the refurbishment of the ramps so that residents can continue to use them.
First Vice President
Auburndale Improvement Association, Inc.
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