Ozone Park resident Ed Kamperman knows the problem all too well.
You’re driving down Cross Bay Boulevard, looking for the Belt Parkway, or Nassau Expressway or Conduit Boulevard, but you don’t see any warning that the roads are coming up — until they do.
The result is traffic veering across a number of lanes, horns honking, tires screeching and — in the worst cases — crashing metal.
The solution is simple, Kamperman said: Drivers need more warning on where to be when they reach the busy interchange where the four roads meet.
The first sign directing southbound traffic to the Nassau Expressway — the main route to JFK Airport and southwestern Nassau County — comes just before the Conduit Boulevard overpass, when traffic should already be in the left turn lane to access the road. Before that, no driver who is not familiar with the area would know where the turnoff is. The sign, which is on the right side of the street, tells traffic to keep left. The next sign is at the left turn, but is located on the northbound side of Cross Bay and in the summer, is sometimes obstructed by trees.
“Often you see cars cut across two or three lanes to reach the turning lane,” Kamperman explained.
Sometimes vehicles will make the left turn from the lane next to the dedicated turning lane, creating a dangerous situation.
The same is true for southbound traffic attempting to access the Belt Parkway. No signs warn drivers of the ramps to the parkway until one located at the ramp to the westbound Belt, and the sign is not visible until just a few hundred feet beforehand. Traffic often merges right at the last minute and a number of accidents have occurred there.
Kamperman said he would like to see the city Department of Transportation place signs farther north on Cross Bay Boulevard, closer to Liberty Avenue, identifying which highways are ahead and which lanes drivers should be in.
“If you have signs farther up on Cross Bay, drivers know what lane to be in earlier,” he suggested. “That will do a lot to reduce the dangerous traffic on the boulevard.”
The stretch of Cross Bay Boulevard between Liberty Avenue and the Conduit is often congested southbound during the afternoon rush hour.
DOT spokesman Scott Gastel said the agency will review Kamperman’s signage request.