CB 5 considers truck plan

This graphic shows the new traffic patterns proposed under the city's Maspeth truck bypass plan. Image courtesy city Department of Transportaion
By Joe Anuta

The reign of tractor-trailer terror could soon be over for Maspeth residents.

Community Board 5 was scheduled to vote on a plan to reroute commercial trucks around the neighborhood and keep them off residential streets Wednesday.

If the board approves the plan, the city Department of Transportation could begin to alter traffic patterns as soon as this summer.

“I’m hoping that this is the best plan that one can put forth,” said Gary Giordano, executive director of CB 5.

The Maspeth bypass plan was first proposed to the public during a Feb. 24 information session and drew heavy criticism from residents of the neighborhood.

But city DOT Borough Commissioner Maura McCarthy said that was all part of the process.

“When we put out a proposal, we don’t expect everybody to love it. The negative comments we get are helpful,” she said following the Feb. 24 meeting.

The DOT used that criticism to tweak the plan and listed the problems it heard, like trucks cutting through residential areas to avoid one-way streets and double-parked cars blocking a planned path.

“I definitely think they took the community concerns into consideration,” Giordano said. “But I think that some people are not going to feel that way.”

A manager at Clinton Diner, at 56-26 Maspeth Ave., is one of those people.

“It’s bad, it’s very, very bad,” said the manager, who would only identify herself as Maureen.

The front of the diner faces 57th Place, which would be made one-way northeast.

“If they make it one-way, who is going to come in?” she asked.

She said her son planned to make an appeal to the DOT at Wednesday’s meeting.

But a manager at Payless Dressy Dresses on 59th Street, which would be changed to one-way southbound, said the change would not be a big deal.

“It might make traffic flow easier,” he said. “But business-wise, it will have no effect.”

The original plan was designed to reroute trucks exiting the Long Island Expressway and trying to take a shortcut through Maspeth to reach Brooklyn and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway without crossing the Kosciuszko Bridge.

The trucks would often lose their way in the largely residential neighborhood and have trouble navigating corners that were not designed for such large vehicles.

Furious residents have been complaining for years, especially after a 12-year-old boy was struck and killed by the trailer of a large commercial vehicle last summer.

The main changes to the traffic patterns included changing 58th Street to one-way southbound, which the trucks would take after exiting the LIE. In order to organize the often confusing five-way intersection of 58th Street and Maurice and Maspeth avenues, portions of several other roads were proposed to become one-way, including Maurice Avenue, 57th Place, 58th Street and 59th Street.

In response to concerns at the previous meeting, the DOT also proposed to make 56th Drive one-way to cut down on trucks cutting through the neighborhood.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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