Come March 25, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Grand Avenue and Flushing Avenue will only be available to local truck traffic; all other trucks will have to use service roads that will take them around, rather than through, Maspeth.
These changes are based on suggestions from a year long Maspeth Bypass and Intersection Normalization Study. Community Board 5 originally proposed the plan for a safe bypass route to industrial areas without impacting the Maspeth community.
This has been an issue in Maspeth for years with many residents approaching a breaking point.
“We’re sick of it,” said Shirley Warren, who lives right off the Long Island Expressway, of the constant truck traffic. “The re-route should improve the traffic greatly. [The trucks] won’t be able to cut through Maspeth; they’ll have to go around.”
The local leaders and politicians have expressed satisfaction, but are still holding out final judgment until the process is completed.
The chairman of Community Board 5, Vincent Arcuri, said he and some residents expressed concerns about the proposal of making Maspeth Avenue one way, worrying it might bring some traffic into the residential areas, but added that something had to be done.
The changes Arcuri is referring to are the DOT plans to implement a new traffic pattern at the intersection of Maurice and Maspeth Avenues and the surrounding areas. The DOT plans to begin implementing the changes in the summer, but not before they review the resident feedback compiled during the public meeting in February on the plan.
“This is an important first step in finally stopping big trucks from traveling through the heart of Maspeth,” said Assemblymember Marge Markey. “While the public review process gets underway on the permanent truck bypass plan presented by DOT last month, we look forward to the relief that begins on March 25 when this new local truck route designation for Grand and Flushing Avenues takes effect.”
“This is a step in the right direction,” said James O’Kane, the previous president of the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce. “It’s not a 100 percent cure; it’s probably an 80 percent cure.” He, too, was worried that some traffic will find its way into residential areas due to certain streets being converted into one ways.
The current proposal calls for Maspeth Avenue between Maurice Avenue and 59th Street, Maurice Avenue north of Maspeth Avenue and 58th Street south of 55th Drive to be converted into one way streets.
According to the DOT, no significant capital improvements are needed for the proposed plan, making the project cost effective.