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Maspeth wins truck route changes

It’s been an ongoing battle for years, but it seems like the residents of Maspeth may finally be winning.

On Friday, September 24, The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it will change the designation of Grand and Flushing Avenues so that trucks may use these streets only for local deliveries or for trips that originate within the adjacent streets.

The change from “Through Truck Route” to “Local Truck Route” from 69th Street and Grand Avenue to Rust Street should take place by the end of the year, according to officials, following a public hearing and public notice.

The routing change from “Through” to “Local” will continue to allow trucks to cross from Brooklyn into Queens (or Queens into Brooklyn) to make deliveries. However, trucks originating elsewhere and not stopping to making a delivery in Queens or Brooklyn would need to use through routes such as the LIE and BQE.

“I think it’s a good first step,” said Community Board (CB) 5 District Manager Gary Giordano.

Elected officials say it would be up to the local 104th Precinct and the DOT to enforce the change.

The DOT also announced that Phase I of the “Maspeth Bypass and Intersection Normalization Study,” which is complete, focused on data collection and a study of existing conditions.

Phase II, which is under way, according to Scott Gastel, DOT spokesperson, will take into consideration recommendations for alternate routes and improved traffic at Maurice Avenue, 58th Street and Maspeth Avenue. This too is on track to be completed by the end of the year.

“The current round of activity started in March,” said Michael A. Armstrong, spokesperson for Assemblymember Marge Markey. “It was then that Markey, City Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, Senator Joseph Addabbo, and Congressmembers Anthony Weiner and Joseph Crowley told the DOT that they had to change the designation.”

But, nearly 10 years ago, said Armstrong, CB 5 sent the DOT a proposal for a bypass to deal with the problem – which stems from trucks making the turn of the Long Island Expressway onto Grand Avenue at 69th Street. Last year, said Armstrong, a truck overturned at the location.

And nearly two months ago, 13-year-old Frederick Endres was struck and killed by an 18-wheeler gas truck at Fresh Pond Road and Eliot Avenue.

“This corner is really bad,” said Gary Kress, who lives and works in the area. “There are trucks up and down all day, it’s endless.”

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