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Queens Chronicle

Behind the Wheel

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Posted: Thursday, December 2, 2010 12:00 am

FROM THE MAILBAG:

Dear Queens Traffic Guru,

I think the Department of Transportation screwed up the signal timing along Woodhaven Boulevard between Park Lane South and Metropolitan Avenue. This segment is virtually at a standstill in the morning rush hour — despite the fact that the roadway north and south of this segment is almost free flowing. Is there a way to investigate whether signal timing changes were made over the past several months? Something’s not right.

JM, Queens

Dear JM

Blame the Union Turnpike! DOT set the traffic signals to give priority to northbound traffic on Woodhaven Boulevard weekday mornings. At Union Turnpike, southbound traffic has a left turn signal leading to delays northbound as far back as Jamaica Avenue. The good news is DOT is studying that segment of Woodhaven for ways to improve traffic flow. Union Turnpike is being looked at as well.

Queens Traffic Guru

Dear Queens Traffic Guru,

I received a ticket for talking on my cell phone while driving, but my friend held the phone up to my face with the phone on speaker. Can I contest the ticket?

Veronica, Astoria

Dear Veronica,

Yes, but you’ll have to bring your friend to court to testify on your behalf. Section 1225-c of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law specifies the use of a hand-held device “with the use of one hand.” There’s nothing in the law that says the “use of a friend’s hand.” So I think you’ve got a shot to beat the ticket. A friend of mine who’s a judge feels the same way.

But, all judges are different and it all boils down to credibility. Include the section of law I cited above in your defense along with your friend’s testimony and let me know how it pans out.

Queens Traffic Guru

Keep the questions coming, via email to TrafficGuruSS@qchron.com. See a new column monthly in the Chronicle and find past ones at queenschronicle.com.

Welcome to the discussion.