Western Queens community leaders are asking that signage along major thoroughfares leading to the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City be upgraded to lessen the confusion for drivers.
The Long Island City Partnership on Jan. 18 sent a letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT) outlining how signs at the intersection of Queens Plaza, Northern Boulevard, Queens Boulevard, Jackson Avenue and the Manhattan-bound entrance to the Queensboro Bridge are confusing for drivers.
“We are deeply concerned that this complicated intersection has continued to be the site of dangerous vehicle-pedestrian, vehicle-cyclist and vehicle-vehicle interactions,” the letter read. “As more hotels, residential units and commercial spaces have been added to the area, even more pedestrians and vehicles are accessing the intersection every day.”
In the letter, the organization also added that business owners hear from visitors that the intersection is difficult to navigate. The Department of City Planning outlined this issue in their Western Queens Transportation Study, which was released in October 2014.
In the study, the agency said that signs were not installed along important intersections at the corridor, making it difficult for drivers to figure out which lane to stay in.
They recommended that the best course of action would be to “install clear signs and lane designations on all local street approaches to Queensboro Bridge.”
The Long Island City Partnership sent a letter to the DOT in February 2015 requesting that action be taken. The organization also acknowledged that the issue was complicated since many of the signs would have to be affixed to MTA property, namely the structure along the 7 train.
According to a DOT spokesperson, the agency installed additional signage along the corridor in the fall of 2015.
Community Board 2 Chairperson Denise Keehan-Smith said that she remembers the agency updating faded signage around that time and that more signs will help reduce uncertainty.
“If it’s confusing, if people need better directions, I think better signage is key,” she said. “If people feel like they don’t know where to go, they panic and that usually causes an accident.”
The area is also confusing, she said, because once drivers pass a certain point, they can no longer exit Queens Boulevard and are forced to cross the Queensboro Bridge.
The DOT said that it would survey the area in the next two weeks.
“In an effort to build on this work the agency is now taking steps to install additional and replace some of the existing signs so they can be placed on elevated structure and columns for greater visibility,” the spokesperson said. “We will be surveying the area within the next two weeks in preparation for the manufacturing and installation of the signs.”