Community Board 5 (CB 5) is looking into ways to protect drivers coming off of the Long Island Expressway (LIE) service road in Maspeth where a driver was killed when his SUV smashed into the back of a parked tractor-trailer last week.
The strip of roadway in question is a barren piece of asphalt that splits off the westbound LIE exit ramp where the Queens Midtown Tunnel Expressway meets Mazeau Street. It has become a popular place for truckers to park their big rigs to rest up or catch some shut eye.
This can be dangerous for drivers coming off the ramp, as the accident on Aug. 8 showed.
The board is aware of this hazardous location and in the past have requested the 104th Precinct increase their presence in that area to make sure truckers are not parking there.
When asked what could be done to prevent truckers from stopping on the strip, Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5, said the main thing to do would be to get either “No Standing Anytime” or “No Parking” signs at the location.
“It’s senseless for the trucker to park there at a highway exit,” Giordano said. “You’re talking about people who are supposed to be professional drivers; they are putting people in danger by parking there. You’re posing a threat to other drives.”
Giordano noted that CB 5 will request the Department of Transportation (DOT) look into placing signage at the location to stop truckers from parking there. However, he did not fully put the blame on careless truck drivers.
“I don’t think trucks have any business parking there, but a problem there is how fast divers come down that ramp,” he added. “There are too many drivers that come down that ramp at 40 miles per hour. If you’re driving down that ramp at that speed and you’re not expecting to see anything there or your attention isn’t where it should be, you have very little time to have a reaction that will keep you from having an accident.”
DOT noted that “there is speed limit signage present for motorists to follow, and we paved the roadway in May,” an agency spokesperson told QNS in an email.
In addition to newly posted signage and increased police enforcement, Giordano believes physical barriers such bollards or jersey barriers would be a surefire way to prevent truckers from parking their vehicles on the dangerous roadway.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said that she is open to exploring traffic calming measures to prevent more accidents like the one on Aug. 8.
Giordano said that CB 5’s Transportation and Public Transit committees will address the situation at their next joint meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 22 at the board office on Myrtle Avenue.