Maspeth Residents Plead: 'No More Trucks' – QNS.com

Maspeth Residents Plead: ‘No More Trucks’

Maspeth residents have had enough of the truck traffic plaguing their streets.
On Friday, June 24, all manner of residents — young, old, even canines — came out in protest against the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Congressman Anthony Weiner regarding the truck traffic along Grand Avenue. “[The trucks] are destroying our town and endangering our children,” said Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association. And after four years of broken promises, numerous accidents and the tragic death of a female student from Christ the King high school, these people certainly have more than enough reason for outrage.
Despite the blazing sun, Maspeth residents wanted to speak out. Holding their signs high in the air, they walked from Maspeth Memorial Triangle, chanting “no more trucks,” “stay on the LIE” and booing at every truck that passed them by. “There’s no enforcement,” said Tony Nunziato, chair of Community Board 5’s Environmental Committee. “We are breathing the pollution of diesel fuel and we are tired of it,” he continued.
Pollution and carcinogens are causes of concern for everybody, but especially those with babies and young children. Lucy Accardo, president of the Women’s Association of Maspeth, pushed her baby carriage as she protested down Grand Avenue. “It’s a horrible situation,” she complained, “800 trucks use this Avenue everyday, at all times. That’s a lot of pollution.”
But that is not all; noise pollution is also at issue here. Marie Gregory and Gloria Tramo, both residents of Maspeth for 45 years, yearn for the days when they sat outside in peace. “Usually on Sundays,” said Gregory, “we have a chance to sit outside.” Even teenagers are complaining about the noise in their neighborhood. Andrea Nunziato, 14, and Alyssa Halwick, 15, were protesting this situation when they could have been enjoying their summer vacation. “This situation is hurting so many people,” said Nunziato, “we just want to help.”
So, what to do? The people want the trucks to stay on the Long Island Expressway. The trucks want to stay on schedule by using Grand Avenue to avoid the most congested part of the Expressway. James Watson, a truck driver, has been working for Bay Aggregates, a construction company, for nine years. “It’s my job,” explained Watson, “I have to do it.”
Although this situation is affecting people’s daily lives, it has not had a significant impact on local businesses. Francis Cox, of Scholastic, Arista Uniform Company on Grand Avenue, said “the problem has not hurt us because we sell school uniforms.” She does express concern, however, for the residents. “I can’t believe how hard it is for people to cross the street.” Then she added, “it is even more dangerous because this area is overpopulated with children.” Unfortunately, she agrees with other business owners that the problem has only worsened in the past four years.
Now all they can do is wait. After the hour-long protest, Tony Nunziato said, “We’re going to wait for a reaction and we’re going to ask for more.” The next protest is scheduled for July.
Marah Ramirez is a freelance writer.

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