Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas is calling on city agencies to remove a large and “dangerously distracting” billboard from the Astoria Boulevard train station.
Simotas sent letters to both the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Department of Buildings (DOB) arguing that its size — 672 square feet — makes it illegal since it is in a C4 commercial district, which only allows billboards up to 500 square feet.
In her letter to MTA President Andy Byford, she said the billboard, which sits at the intersection of 32nd Street, Astoria Boulevard and the Grand Central Parkway exit ramp “is the site with the highest incidence of traffic accidents in our area, according to the 114th Precinct. The MTA’s removal of this glaring distraction would go a long way to mitigate this major safety hazard.”
#Astoria doesn’t need this giant @MTA billboard. It’s a dangerous distraction to drivers in 7 lanes of traffic. Plus it’s nearly 30% bigger than the law allows. I’m calling on the #MTA to take it down. pic.twitter.com/3ZyJtPSb8A
— Aravella Simotas (@AravellaSimotas) February 22, 2018
She also called on DOB Commissioner Rick Chandler look into removing the sign since Section 32-643 of Article III Chapter 2 of the New York City Zoning Resolution prohibits signs in this specific district from exceeding 500 feet.
“I know this generates revenue for the MTA but if the price is safety than they need to go back to the drawing board and remove the billboard,” she wrote to Byford.
An MTA spokesperson declined a request for comment and said the agency would respond directly to the assemblywoman.