As LaGuardia Airport continues its $4 billion makeover, some Queens elected officials are calling on the mayor to take steps that would alleviate the congestion that has plagued the airport since construction began.
Congressman Joseph Crowley, Councilman Costa Constatinides and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio to ask that he install traffic agents at key intersections to improve the flow of traffic.
Officials point out that the airport is located near already busy thoroughfares like 82nd Street, Astoria Boulevard and the Grand Central Parkway in East Elmhurst.
“This particularly complicated stretch of 82nd Street presents a series of challenges to the local community, due to the confluence of 23rd Avenue, Ditmars Boulevard, the Grand Central Parkway, and traffic in and out of the airport,” they wrote in the letter. “[We] would like to request that traffic officers be positioned at these intersections during peak traffic hours, to ensure the smooth and orderly flow of cars and minimize congestion.”
The LaGuardia Airport overhaul will create an entirely new facility, replacing the current airport in its entirety. The new airport will run adjacent to the Grand Central Parkway, 600 feet closer to the parkway than it is now.
In August, LaGuardia officials made changes to the flow of traffic on the Grand Central Parkway to give travelers more direct access to the terminals. The airport made headlines in February when fed up travelers exited their cabs and walked to their terminals to catch flights.
After an accident involving a construction vehicle snarled traffic, travelers again left their cabs and walked to the airport.
Constatinides said he has heard concerns from residents and groups such as the United Community Civic Association about the overflow of traffic on 82nd Street since the construction began in 2016.
Lawmakers also pointed out in the letter that LaGuardia Airport is expected to see even more congestion as the holiday season approaches. There will be free Q70 shuttle buses provided to travelers in an effort to dissuade people from using cabs or cars. This offer began on Nov. 17 and will end on Nov. 26.
The link runs from the 74th Street and Roosevelt Avenue subway station and provides connections to the 7, E, F, M and R trains.
The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.
Click here to view the full letter.