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Simotas calls on DOT to fix dangerous Astoria Blvd/31st Street intersection

Jan. 13, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

A local lawmaker called on the Department of Transportation to take immediate action to improve a dangerous Astoria intersection yesterday.

Assembly Member Aravella Simotas voiced her concern in a letter to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg yesterday that three years after she pointed out the dangerous intersection at 32nd Street, the Grand Central Parkway’s (GCP) exit 45 ramp and Astoria Boulevard North, no action had been taken to improve it.

She wrote in the letter that despite “over three years of repeated requests, this intersection remains a daily hazard to motorists” and  “improvements have been repeatedly delayed despite acknowledgment of the issue.”

Simotas first called attention to the intersection in 2013, pointing out that six lanes of traffic merge at the intersection (two lanes exiting the Grand Central Parkway and four lanes from Astoria Boulevard), which are all controlled by one light, forcing some drivers to cross five lanes of traffic to turn left on to 31st Street.

“This intersection is a daily danger to motorists and pedestrians and any further delay in making it safer is unacceptable and inexcusable,” Simotas said. “New street designs and configurations are one of the cornerstones of the City’s Vision Zero initiative and Astoria residents have the right to expect the City to keep its promise to improve street safety in every neighborhood and every borough.”

The DOT implemented a temporary fix to the intersection in 2015, extending the median between Astoria Boulevard and the parkway exit ramp from 32nd Street to 31st Street so drivers who are traveling on Astoria Boulevard North are only permitted to continue straight or turn right on 31st Street and those exiting the parkway are only permitted to continue straight or turn left on 31st Street.

Simotas pointed out in her letter that the temporary solution simply pushed the problem west of 31st Street, rather than solving anything.

Simotas cited several instances of the DOT delaying any sort of fix, most recently having told her that there would be a proposed solution by early October 2016, but she still has not heard of any progress on the issue.

In her letter she requested “immediate action” on the problem, pointing out that the intersection has been listed as the 114th Precinct’s most accident-prone location.

 

 

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31 Comments

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Poparoo 46

F u ed &. U 2 kelly eds mom are you stupid, staggard lights. ????? Are you effin crazy maaaan that is nuts. What is it staggard lites maaan. Also. F u nicky pill , you think you no but u dont no nothin at all. Crazy, and you take it out on asians

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Ed Babcock

Nobody in their right mind would take 31st St to the 59fh St bridge anyway 21st or Cescent is a better route anyway. No left turns onto Hoyt North – makes those folk go up around the Park. Residents of 30th St will hate it. We could tear down the elevated that would help – Hah.

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Diane

I think it is about time the DOT commissioner is held responsible for these changes to traffic patterns and bike lanes. 20th avenue has been painted twice with bike lanes. First time with bike lanes on each side of traffic. Next the whole street is reconfigured. I can’t believe that someone actually thought that this was a good design and someone agreed and approved it. I guess they figured they were on a roll and went to Astoria Blvd. This is the worst implemented idea. As you drive on Astoria Blvd. you can’t help but wonder who could have thought this was a good idea. It has made a bad intersection deadly. The person who designed this could not be serious. The traffic flow in Astoria is terrible. There are back ups where there were none before and it’s because of new traffic patterns. Hoyt ave south and 21 street with left turn lane has caused overflow on 21 street. There is no need for left turn lane. Obviously the people that change the traffic patterns have no idea about the area and just see streets on a grid. Someone needs to come to these streets and see first hand what needs to be done. Look at Astoria Park how many times has Shore Blvd. been painted in the past few years. There is so much waste.

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Astoria Resident

Extending the median on Astoria Blvd. did A LOT to improve the situation. You think that’s bad, just wait until people don’t have to stop for tolls coming into Queens from the Major Deegan on the RFK bridge. You have 8 lanes going into 3.

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Julie

I think I speak for everyone when I say that we need a small child to be run over and killed so this intersection can be fixed.

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John z

This made me laugh, but unfortunately you’re right. The only way to get anything done in this city is for there to be a racial/religious issue or a kid to be killed.

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LNAstoria

Your comment is disturbing to say the least, but sadly, even a tragedy like that won’t fix this problem, because the DOT doesn’t know how, just like no one commenting here has a solution. The only solution is to close the exit off the GCP, and open a new exit further back, or right after the 31st street.

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Marge

Also we can remove street parking around the intersection to open up lanes to traffic and make a bus lane go all the way from the GCE exit down to 49th on Astoria Blvd.

In addition to the that, the bridges going perpendicular over GCP can be made wider and add 1 to 2 new lanes in each direction to reduce congestion.

Also have staggered lights.

Also the police can stop double parking.

Also, the police can stop pulling cars over at that intersection so that the traffic doesn’t back up.

Also, add addition lights so that at night it is easier to see.

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Peter A

The ‘temporary fix’ just made it so much worse. Now you have cars and trucks all crossing each other west of the El to either get on the bridge or to go west on Hoyt Ave. Many times traffic is now back up on the Grand Central, sometimes as far back as the BQE ramp onto the Grand central, because of this ‘fix’. Not to mention cars going south at 31st St getting stuck because of a red light and blocking all the traffic coming off the Grand Central…

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KellyEdsMom

I’ve been saying for years this intersection should have staggered green lights. Hope something finally happens.

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Jon

I think everyone can agree we need a better solution for this intersection.

A few things that would relieve some of the congestion is to remove all the street parking on Hoyt Ave and Astoria Blvd around the intersection to let traffic move better.

THIS INCLUDES THE POLICE who keep double parking and slowing down traffic.

Also, get rid of the Burger King because it’s gross.

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harry

you’re asking a completely separate private business to shut down because of traffic concerns? How would the DOT take this comment seriously when you sound like a communist?

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Jon

No , I’m asking them to shut down because it’s a crappy business that makes the corner look like crap . Completely separate from the traffic idea .

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wendy

so your idea is to tear things down that dont look pretty? they employ many locals at that Burger King…and they are not the problem. They need real police directing traffic, they need to fix the traffic lights so that you have enough time to cross those streets. also they need turning lights on 31st under the L for those who want to get to the parkway. and they stopped giving out tickets for cars who block the intersection…..

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Jon

Yes. Businesses that look like crap and degrade the neighborhood should go. In regards to traffic, that lot creates congestion. It can be used to have a right turn lane onto Astoria Blvd.

I can’t believe people are defending Burger King for Christ’s sake. What next Popeye’s and White Castle?

LNAstoria

I have an idea. You should contact Burger King headquarters and tell them to change their design standards, because people just stop in their tracks and say, “you know what, this BK is really offensive”. I think you may need to write to your local senator about this issue. It’s very serious.

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Jon

No, the city should do it. Ugly 10 story buildings shouldn’t go up against a small house if the architecture can’t be made to work.

Home renovations shouldn’t be approved if the end result is a giant cinder block blob. And yes, restaurants shouldn’t be allow to build a free standing structure that doesn’t fit with the surrounding buildings. It degrades the neighborhood.

Anonymous visitor

Those business get a brisk traffic from pedestrians on Astoria BLVD S and off the train. The risk/congestion of cars double parked doesn’t warrant keeping. Maybe the city shouldn’t have gotten rid of the entire municipal lot right behind it!

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Anonymous

STFU Hipster @$$hole, Burger King is one of the few places elderly folks can sit in during the cold in that area and get some hot coffee. The whole area doesn’t have to kowtow to pukes like you. Matter of fact GET THE F#CK OUT OF ASTORIA HIPSTER PUKE >>> OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jim

Burger King is disgusting . Don’t take it so personally . Control your emotions . You’re so angry because someone called Burger King gross ? It is gross! I’ve been here 40 years and I don’t want those fast food places here either .

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ajoe

What a joke this intersection is. DOT doesn’t give a $h!t and is incapable of applying common sense solutions to this intersection. All they have done with their “temporary” fixes is make it worse. There is no accountability for the mess they made and continue to make.

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Anonymous visitor

a) pave the surrounding roads w/ cement. Given the volume asphalt turns horrible real fast.
b) remove the newly installed temporary barriers on astoria blvd N and simply place a fast changing light right before 32nd st (allowing people to turn into right lane by Neptunes). Service road traffic is minimal there compare to that coming off the parkway.
c) DISALLOW left turns under the train after getting off the GCP on astoria BLVD N!! Instead allow one lane to turn left over the GCP the block before for a turnaround to Astoria Blvd S only. 31st st traffic south of GCP is horrible anyway.
d) Implement a left turn signal under the train ay Hoyt Ave S
e) eliminate the parking and double parking on the eastern most part of Hoyt Ave S (right before 31st st) to accommodate bridge traffic turning right @ 31st.
f) (optional) turn 34th street two lanes (no parking) like 33rd street. a second artery is needed like 33rd street (in the opposite direction). 31st street doesn’t cut it.

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