2017-06-28 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Unintended Consequences

A copy of this letter was received at the offices of the Queens Gazette. Dear DOT Commissioner Trottenberg,

First off, allow me to belatedly congratulate your department on the paving of the BQE entrances off the Grand Central Parkway; long overdue and a great job. The smoothness is so much better than the obstacle course that was. Second, I’d like to discuss a number of particular improvements that have had unintended consequences in our area. A lot of the issues are fixable, and easily surmountable with a little work.

One: the perennially problematic exit off the GCP onto 31st Street/ Hoyt Ave N that was given separation bollards. It seems that that separation has consistently and detrimentally – pollution and traffic wise – backed up the GCP truck and passenger traffic to the BQE entrance and about a mile on the BQE itself, almost daily. This was all well before the Triborough Bridge work, which has been a nightmare, but which you have little control over. Thank you for fixing the lane wide bump on the exit ramp and the pothole on 31st Street under the El. Both were unavoidable and were doing untold damage to all vehicles; especially for unaware or non – local drivers. Please consider taking the bollards out so the traffic exiting the Grand Central can use the two right lanes, while still keeping Astoria Blvd. traffic from turning left. What’s happening now is that cars are still unavoidably crisscrossing on Hoyt, but in front of the Triborough Bridge entrance. They’re still doing it out of necessity, but now in a much smaller, shorter and narrower space, within only two lanes; it has been a recipe for continued backlogs and worse criss-crossing issues than before.

Second: the timing of the traffic lights on Ditmars Blvd., between 29th Street and Steinway Street:

Although the light time was increased to give pedestrians a safer, longer crossing time it turns out that the red lights are so long that they’re backing traffic up to the next block, thereby causing a very unsafe situation where pedestrians are now crossing between cars on Ditmars Blvd., a full block away from the long lights. (See 28th St any day.)

They’re crossing blindly and coming out between cars that can move at any time. Shortening the lights on Ditmars Blvd. proper by 10 seconds would still give a long crossing time to pedestrians and would clear out more cars from unnecessary backups the side streets have much less traffic.

Although the corner of 19th St and Ditmars Blvd., where the young lady was killed, was written about extensively, nothing was ever done there. Now that it’s being co-named for her, it should at least have “daylighting” on the southwest and southeast corner of 19th Street. This would clear a viewable path for pedestrians and motorists alike.

Third: Hoyt Avenue South at 21st Street: Thank you for lengthening the left turn bay on Hoyt; the reason that you extended the left turn bay is that there are many more cars that use that road now because Shore Blvd. is one-way. When traffic turns north onto 21st Street there is a consistent backlog of cars that extends from Hoyt Ave north to Hoyt Avenue South because only one lane can go straight. When this was first changed we suggested allowing both lanes to proceed straight so traffic would flow better. They said that would be “too confusing” for traffic there. We wanted to point out that that situation had been the same for at least 50 years and there were never any worries about that corner with traffic flowing north on two lanes and merging without incident on 21st Street before; now there are extensive daily backups. To allow traffic to use both lanes would alleviate a host of issues and clear traffic much better than presently.

The bike lane on Hoyt Ave North should end at 21st Street and allow bicyclists to turn right and left and get to Astoria Park’s Shore Blvd. safely. Right now the lanes end at 19th Street and the parking lot, but adult bikers aren’t allowed in the park, and 19th is so tight it’s ridiculous for cars, never mind cyclists. It would be safer all around to guide users to the much wider 21st Street path. Also, on the entrance of the Triborough Bridge bike lane, there should be signage warning cyclists that they cannot go east into oncoming traffic and the entrance to the car lanes of the bridge; people have done it in error or illegally and have wound up in a very dangerous situation.

We know you are aware of these issues above and that they are in fact a detriment to pedestrian safety, motorist and cyclist use and traffic congestion. These unintended consequences overshadow whatever “traffic calming,” in reality causing traffic impediments that are more dangerous and health-affecting to Astoria residents and travelers. Air pollution from traffic backups certainly should be a considerable reason to tweak these situations, along with the safety issues mentioned above.

None of these fixes would cost a lot of money, manpower or studies, but could give immediate relief to this already highly congested and polluted area. We thank you as always for serving the citizens of our city in what can sometimes be a thankless job.

Antonio Meloni

Mayoral Control

To The Editor:

I am in favor of our mayor running the city schools. Charter schools are taking away from the public schools. I hope that our mayor gets to be in charge of the city public schools again. That should be a permanent thing, not being renewed every two years. New York State has no business meddling in the affairs of our city public schools, since the composition of the city schools are different from those of other parts of the state.

I am strongly in favor of the riders of the LIRR getting compensated for all of the inconveniences they are encountering as a result of Amtrak repairs. The city should run the subways and buses again; that would improve service. The MTA is too large, and should be broken down into smaller groups and given back to the cities that each part uses. Also, I agree that there must be a top-to-bottom investigation of why trains are delayed, have signal problems, and of the entire subway system. We pay high fares, $2.75, and where does the money go? The system of signals and tracks are from the 1930s. Also, again the New York City subways must be run by the city, not the MTA.

I am glad that the Mets will provide protective netting at Citi Field to protect the fans.

I am dismayed and horrified that a policeman was stabbed in an airport in Michigan. Our law enforcement officers must be treated with respect, and their lives must be valued. I am glad that the congressman who was shot is now in fair condition and he is improving. Our prayers are with him for his complete recovery. I am glad that there was a memorial ceremony for the Father’s Day explosion and fire in 2001 to honor the heroes who gave their lives. We must appreciate the NYPD, FDNY, and all heroes who are first responders. I do believe that police should be taking sensitivity training as to how to handle people. Also, that is awful about the crane accident and that two workers are in critical condition. The theft in the electronics store was awful.

I am glad that cyber bullies will be charged with a fine of $1,000 and a jail term. Cyber bullying is terrible and leads to suicide among teens. Parents should control what their children are writing. Social media is making bullying even more prevalent.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Lhota Can Fix MTA

To The Editor:

Governor Andrew Cuomo, on Wednesday June 21, appointed former MTA Chair Joe Lhota to come back. It is going to be a big job to solve the problems at the MTA, and here is a former MTA chairman who knows how to solve problems. Just look what Joe Lhota did during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. He got the city moving in a most trying and difficult time, and did what had to be done. Governor Cuomo has made a good decision in appointing Joe Lhota and hopefully the man with a plan. The city is dealing with massive delays with an aging subway system. We need the answer man, and I feel Joe Lhota can get the job done! Congrats to Joe Lhota for coming to the aid of our transportation system.

Frederick R. Bedell, Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

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