City announces ‘Block the Box’ crackdown at a dozen busy Queens intersections

Photo via Mayor's Office

A plan to alleviate congestion at 50 key intersections where block-the-box violations are common throughout the city has taken affect, Mayor de Blasio announced Monday.

Drivers who enter intersections without sufficient space on the other side “block-the-box,” which can have cascading effects on traffic and create dangers to pedestrians who cannot cross streets safely. Mayor de Blasio introduced the Clear Intersections effort as a part of a comprehensive series of efforts last October to ease congestion in busy thoroughfares across the five boroughs.

“Late last year, we announced a series of initiatives designed to address congestion issues around New York City, a symptom of the city’s record population and economic vitality,” Mayor de Blasio said. “Blocking the box is one area where focused NYPD enforcement can and will make a big difference to keep traffic moving around hotspots in every borough.”

The DOT has installed special markings and/or updated signage at these key intersections to make drivers aware of the restrictions. NYPD will increase enforcement at these locations to keep traffic moving, hiring an additional 50 uniformed officers to enforce block-the-box violations.

The Clear Intersections initiative will be implemented at the following intersections in Queens:

  • Queens Boulevard & Skillman Avenue, Long Island City;
  • Northern Boulevard & Queens Boulevard, Long Island City;
  • Queens Boulevard & Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside;
  • Astoria Boulevard & 31st Street, Astoria;
  • 21st Street & 49th Avenue, Long Island City;
  • Laurel Hill Boulevard & 65th Place, Woodside;
  • Queens Midtown Expressway service road & Grand Avenue, Maspeth;
  • Main Street & Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing;
  • 71st Avenue & Austin Street; Forest Hills;
  • 37th Avenue & 138th Street, Flushing;
  • Metropolitan Avenue & 60th Street, Ridgewood/Middle Village; and
  • Queens Plaza South service road & 28th Street, Long Island City.

“Main Street and Roosevelt Ave is one of the busiest intersections in New York City, and ‘blocking the box’ by cars, trucks and even buses is one of the largest contributors to traffic congestion,” said Councilman Peter Koo. “Cracking down on these violations is a necessary step to unclogging the essential arteries of our city.”

The Clear Intersections effort is part of the mayor’s plan to reduce congestion, which includes other tactics citywide such as the Clear Lanes, Clear Curbs, Clear Zones and Clear Highways initiatives. These efforts will not only help keep traffic moving, clear curbs during rush hours and ensure intersections are kept clear of congestion, it will also limit curbside access in crowded corridors and bring coordinated attention to recurring traffic hot spots on local highways.

“Ask any commuter from Queens and the Bronx and they’ll tell you that New York City gridlock is a major impediment to their daily lives,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “Mayor de Blasio’s initiative to increase enforcement of block-the-box violations will provide tangible relief to New Yorkers who commute in and out of Manhattan every day. I applaud his leadership in keeping our city moving forward.”

The Clear Intersections effort is also a part of the NYPD and DOT’s revived “Don’t Block the Box” initiative. Block-the-box violators face minimum fines of $115 and possible points that can lead to the loss of a driver’s license.

“Today, DOT and NYPD are bringing back “don’t block the box” to 50 busy intersections around the city,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We know traffic can be frustrating, but blocking the box just causes gridlock for everybody — bus riders, pedestrians, cyclists and your fellow motorists.  Please be courteous and safe — and don’t block the box.”

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