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Traffic Jams Trigger Massive Highway Projects – QNS.com

Traffic Jams Trigger Massive Highway Projects

Accelerating traffic volumes on the Whitestone Expressway attracted by the nearby College Point Corporate Park, have triggered a series of construction projects affecting the entire length of the 1.5-mile expressway.
Stretching between College Point Boulevard and 14th Avenue, the giant corporate park accommodates 175 companies and their 5,500 employees and attracts thousands of cars and trucks every day. The nearby Whitestone Bridge attracts an additional 85,000 cars and trucks per day.
Using city, state and federal funding, a battery of construction crews are currently working side-by-side installing new sewer lines, a series of U-turn tunnels, highway exit/entrance ramps, and new pedestrian and vehicular underpass lanesmost of them part of a $177.8 million, three-year, upgrading of the Whitestone Expressway and Bridge.
Nearby, on the Van Wyck Ext. access to the Whitestone Expressway, state Department of Transportation (DOT) crews are installing an $11.5 million Intelligent Information System to give motorists advance warning of changing traffic conditions.
On the immediate horizon are the just-begun reconstruction of the Whitestone Expressway, the heavily-congested Linden Place underpass, with new safer enclosed pedestrian walkways, and specially-designed U-turn tunnels beneath the expressway.
Scheduled for 2005, is the widening of the equally congested 20th Avenue crossing, between the expressway and Parsons Boulevard. Currently in the preliminary design stage, this heavily-traveled single-block sector of eastbound 20th Avenue must funnel autos from three moving lanes to just a single lane. This sharp loss of moving lanes is also a major cause of traffic delays on the expressway service roads, as well as on Parsons Boulevard.
To help combat rising traffic congestion, the city DOT has already scheduled installation of computerized signals along College Point Boulevard, Linden Place, and 14th and 20th Avenues, in College Point next year.
Not to be outdone, the citys Economic Development Corporation is looking for a developer for the corporate parks final 23 acres along 20th Avenue. Predicting that the new project will bring heavier traffic volumes, Fred Mazzarello, president of the College Point Board of Trade, has already called for the city to develop family recreation facilities on this site, rather than shopping outlets.
"The increasing volumes of vehicles on College Point Boulevard, 14th Avenue, Linden Place., and 20th Avenue," said Mr. Mazzarello, "not only cause tie-ups on adjacent streets, but often make it difficult for police, fire and medical personnel to respond to emergencies in College Point."
Established about 35 years ago, the shuttered Flushing Airport became New York Citys first business park. Surrounded by College Point, Malba, Whitestone and Flushing, the rapidly expanding park began generating heavy vehicular congestion nearly 12 years ago. This, in turn, has increased traffic hazards, damaged local streets, made existing traffic signal systems obsolete, and imposed quality-of-life problems on the residents of the surrounding communities.
In 1990, a city DOT traffic study had predicted significant traffic increases along the 1.5-mile Whitestone Expressway service roads by the year 2005. However, a Community Board 7 analysis of the two busy arteries revealed that these increases had already been reached late in 1995over eight years ahead of schedule.

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