The city Department of Transportation released its long awaited study of truck traffic last week, but some Queens leaders were voicing questions about its accuracy.
The DOT posted the draft report from its four year, $1.5 million study of current and future truck traffic trends on its Web site this week.
The department has scheduled a series of public meetings to discuss the report and its recommendations. The Queens meeting will be held June 1 at Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens from 6 to 8 p.m.
The study found that by 2025, nearly every highway and major thoroughfare in Queens will experience serious truck congestion. This is in part due to the large number of trucks passing through Queens to get to and from Long Island, the report concluded.
It also looks at current conditions, among other things studying the intersections with the most reported truck accidents. In Queens they were Hoyt Avenue North and 31st Street in Astoria, with 28 accidents reported over the study period; College Point Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway in Kew Gardens Hills, with 20 accidents; Queens Boulevard and Thompson Avenue in Sunnyside, with 18 accidents; Grand Avenue and 69th Street in Maspeth with 16 accidents; and Maurice Avenue and the Long Island Expressway, with 15 accidents.
Overall, the report calls for a standardization of truck route signs and a program to educate drivers and trucking companies on truck routes and rules.
Three areas currently experiencing truck related congestion were highlighted in the report: Grand Avenue in Maspeth, College Point and Springfield Gardens.
All are industrial zones, seeing traffic to and from manufacturing plants and warehouses. In addition, Maspeth gets traffic going to and from industrial areas of Brooklyn, and Springfield Gardens gets air freight traffic from John F. Kennedy Airport.
The study found all three of these areas needed better truck route signage, and called for better police enforcement.
In College Point, the report further recommends improvements to the intersections of 20th Avenue and 127th Street and College Point Boulevard to better accommodate truck traffic.
In Maspeth, lobbying by area civics resulted in the DOT creating a truck bypass over part of Grand Avenue. Trucks will be directed to Remsen Street and Maurice Avenue, which have been reinforced to handle the increased traffic.
The report further recommends rebuilding the Grand Avenue intersections with Maurice Avenue, 58th Street, 56th Terrace and Maspeth Avenue to eliminate traffic islands that hinder truck traffic and changing the Rust Street intersection to improve sight lines.
However, Donna Clopton, president of the 148th Street Block Association in Jamaica, said she noticed one thing missing from the report—mention of the complaints that she and her neighbors have had about truck traffic on Jamaica Avenue and Sutphin Boulevard.
She thinks the borough needs a dedicated truck enforcement unit, like Manhattan has, and police officers better informed on truck law. “I don’t think they have the information they need for the enforcement,” Clopton said.
The report does propose more education on truck law for police academy students, but Clopton thinks more is needed to educate current officers.
Vincent Arcuri Jr., chairman of Community Board 5 in Maspeth, was concerned that the report itself was confusing officers. Maps included in the report mistakenly show a section of Cypress Avenue as off limits to trucks. He has heard that police have been writing tickets based on that information.
In College Point, resident Rocco Cardali said truck traffic at the intersections of College Point Boulevard, 14th Avenue and 14th Road has been a persistent problem. “There are times when the traffic is backed up for 15 minutes when nobody can make a turn,” he said.
“The trucks they’re bringing in are a lot longer than they used to be years ago. Our streets have not expanded,” he said. “I feel sorry for the drivers.”
The report can be viewed at www.nyc. gov/dot.