Just before 1 a.m. on July 8th, a New York & Atlantic Railway train crashed into a truck crossing Maspeth Avenue at Rust Street. Dashcam footage taken by a vehicle approaching from the opposite way revealed that not only did the signal not start to flash until just before the moment of impact, but also that the train was obviously speeding.
Truck drivers have long been complaining about the signal not functioning properly. The National Transportation Safety Board reports that more than 12 accidents have occurred at the Maspeth Avenue intersection since 2005. That’s more than one per year. Community members have reported similar malfunctioning gates at the 88th Street crossing in Glendale.
The crossing at 49th Street in Maspeth is also along another heavily trafficked truck route. The response by NY&A was that the streets should be closed. However, along the Bushwick Branch which has no gates, the trains stop at Metropolitan Avenue, Flushing Avenue, 54th Street and 55th Street and a flagman hops off the train and stops traffic before the train proceeds through the intersection.
Metro & Flushing certainly are roads that are as busy as Maspeth Avenue, so the same procedure should be employed there rather than closing the crossing and sending more trucks barreling down Grand Avenue to the Long Island Expressway.