April 15, 2015 By Michael Florio
Traffic safety improvements to a dangerous Astoria intersection have finally been completed.
The improvements aim to reduce accidents at the hazardous intersection of 32nd Street, Grand Central Parkway (exit 45 ramp) and Astoria Blvd North.
With the changes, the median barrier between Astoria Blvd North and the Grand Central highway exit ramp has been extended-to separate traffic through 31st Street (see plans below).
The barrier now stops cars from coming down Astoria Blvd North and making a left turn on 31st street– while also blocking those vehicles coming off the highway from making a right turn.
“This intersection was dangerous and confusing,” said Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas in a statement. “Motorists from the area dreaded crossing multiple lanes of traffic to get home and drivers new to the area had no idea how to get where they were going.”
Prior to these changes, one traffic light handled two lanes of traffic exiting Grand Central Parkway and four lanes of traffic from Astoria Boulevard North.
The DOT presented the improvements to Community Board 1 last May. After being approved to begin the work on the intersection, the DOT said these changes would be completed in the Fall of 2014.
However, when the work was still not completed by January, Simotas put pressure on the DOT. “There is no good reason why residents and motorists should still be endangered at this intersection,” she said.
Simotas said she will continue to listen to residents on how to make the intersection even safer.
“I encourage residents to contact my office with suggestions.”
DOT Plans for Astoria Blvd North by sunnysidepost
The “safer” changes to the traffic pattern on that intersection are NOT at all safer. .. You are now forced to go towards the direction of the bridge and there is no way to get through all the trucks if you want to turn down 31st or as it stands now 28th street…i hope someone in charge actually reads these comments. .. This was badly planned and makes no sense. .. traffic lights for four lanes need to be timed differently. .. It’s even MORE DANGEROUS NOW. …
WIth the new traffic pattern drivers can no longer turn right on 31st so now the first right is 28th street that is now getting a lot more traffic. With drivers rushing to get back to the commercial area on 31st street, Not safer.
This isn’t a solution, it simply moves the problem down a block and forces all the Con Edison trucks and traffic from 278 down the residential blocks of 29th Street. Really unfortunate.
Well if they want to do safe exit, they have to play with the lights, because right now they are changing same time and everybody speed to get to the bridge and others to go to crescent, really a nightmare.
This new traffic pattern is asinine and makes no sense. It is so disappointing to know that it took several years and probably a lot of money to come up with a solution that no better than the previous situation.
The sideswipes and accidents will no longer happen at the intersection of 33rd street and astoria blvd, but they will be pushed to the intersection of 31st street and astoria blvd, at the next light.
The cars in the left lanes (who have been forced to stay left after turning from 33rd street) will have a difficult time moving toward the right lanes (in order to not get onto the RFK bridge) because the cars and trucks rushing toward the bridge will not let them through.
Why couldn’t the lights on astoria blvd (lights coming off the GCP and lights on astoria blvd and 33rd street) be timed differently so that each section follows different traffic light signals. That way the cars will each have a turn to go, and be able to turn left or right at the intersection of 31st street and astoria blvd.
It is already difficult to get to northwestern Astoria due to the fact that you cannot turn left coming off of the RFK bridge. Now, turning at the next street (33rd street) does not even help!
“The cars in the left lanes (who have been forced to stay left after turning from 33rd street) will have a difficult time moving toward the right lanes (in order to not get onto the RFK bridge) because the cars and trucks rushing toward the bridge will not let them through.”
Yes. Exactly this. Instead of being able to safely turn onto Hoyt from the far-right lane on the 33rd St bridge to get to 31st, we’re now forced to the middle of several merging cars. It’s now taking me until 26th street to get to the right lane “safely,” where I then have to navigate residential roads to get to my destination.
People are going to get hurt because of this decision.
They should have just installed two lights like they have on the other side of the GCP heading west. Now, you really have to watch to make sure that you don’t accidentally get on the ramp for the bridge, and people who are trying to cross over to get on the bridge don’t realize that there are others who now have to get over to the right side of the street because they need to head north on 28th Street. Not only that, but I’m not sure that 28th Street is going to be able to handle all the traffic that is going to be using it because they can no longer turn north on 31st Street.
Hello there; i live on Hoyt av south, and almost everyday i have a hard time getting on the Gran Central from my block (corner of crescent st), because all the traffic coming out of RFK bridge, especially the trucks!!!, is like a “wall” of them that i have to go trough, now, i have a comercial license and i do not understand why some of them have to take the service road, witch is Hoyt av, when there is enough clearence for all of them to proceed on a portion of the gran central, and take the BQE, is anything getting done to fix this issue????