By Howard Koplowitz
The city Department of Transportation has been circulating fliers with maps of the Maspeth bypass plan for trucks that the agency says will prevent double parking and congestion, but civic leaders say the literature is nothing but confusing.
DOT spokesman Scott Gastel said the purpose of the fliers was to tell the trucking industry about changes to trucking routes in Maspeth that take the vehicles off of Flushing and Grand avenues.
Truck drivers previously used the two avenues as pass-through routes even though the roads were not designated truck routes.
As part of the plan, a so-called “truck waiting line” has been established on Borden Avenue between 58th Street and Maurice Avenue near the Coca-Cola building for trucks to park to prevent congestion and double parking.
No trucks were observed parking at the waiting line when a reporter stopped by Friday morning.
Maspeth civic leader Christina Wilkinson said the flier is difficult to read, with green lines denoting “preferred truck routes” and dotted lines for local deliveries and a solid yellow line showing the truck waiting area.
“I look at it and I don’t understand it and I don’t see how anyone understands it and I know more about the bypass than anyone else,” Wilkinson said in a phone interview Friday. “This [flier] assumes a lot. It assumes that trucks are coming from the [Long Island] Expressway. How do you prevent other trucks from going there?”
Wilkinson said there are not enough cops to notify truckers, many of whom are from out of state, about the changes, nor are there enough traffic agents to enforce the new regulations.
DOT was not clear about how trucks at the waiting area would know when it is safe for them to continue on their routes.
“Maybe there’s a system in place that I don’t know about,” Wilkinson said.
The bypass plan was drawn up following a $500,000 study.
Maspeth residents came up with an alternative plan that was turned down that would have enforced truck routes along with signage, but no one-way streets were devised under the community proposal.
Roe Daraio, president of the civic group Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together, said she wondered if DOT considered the neighborhood’s plan, arguing a number of community concerns could have been avoided if the agency went with the neighborhood’s plan for the trucks.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.