DOT dragging its feet on Maspeth Bypass - JuniperCivic.com
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DOT dragging its feet on Maspeth Bypass

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City Ignores Truck Traffic In Queens

By: Ruschell Boone, NY1

It's not uncommon to see groups of trucks driving through neighborhood streets of Maspeth, Queens. Trucks looking to bypass traffic on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway often take the Long Island Expressway to Grand Avenue as an alternate route to get to Brooklyn.

It's not illegal for trucks to use the street, but for some residents and local leaders it's become unbearable. They say that for years they have complained to the city that heavy truck traffic is disturbing a formerly quiet neighborhood.

"If you just spend five minutes here, you'll know what we're talking about," said Bob Holden of the Juniper Park Civic Association. "The noise is tremendous. The pollution is even worse. We're worried about the health and safety of our citizens."

"They just pollute too much," said a local child.

In 2001, Tony Nunziato, a current candidate for assemblyman, helped to formulate a plan called the "Maspeth Bypass," that would redirect trucks to Maurice Avenue instead of Grand Avenue.

Under the plan, which was reportedly pitched several times to city officials, the truck traffic would be redirected to the outskirts of the neighborhood through its industrial corridors.

"The city is dragging its feet and we don't know why," said Nunziato. "Why agree to the plan? They said they would put it in a year ago and nothing is being done as of yet."

At a city council hearing in 2006, then-Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall said her agency was committed to solving the problem, saying the goal was to have something finalized by that summer.

Two years later, a DOT spokesperson said the agency is working on a plan but adds that more studies are needed.

"In order to identify the best ways to reduce truck congestion in the Maspeth area and to identify the capital improvements needed for a bypass to be successful, we intend to begin an engineering study soon," said the spokesperson. "This study is a recommendation made during a previous review of the area."

Fed up with the city's response, some residents said they can't wait for any more studies and they are planning to take matters into their own hands.

"Unless the city does something about it we will stop the traffic," said Manny Caruana of Community Board 5. "We will hold a demonstration and stop all the traffic coming through this community to prove our point."

Meanwhile, the trucks keep driving through, undeterred.