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Simotas to the MTA: Tear Down that Billboard

Photo: Aravella Simotas’ office

Feb. 22, 2018 By Christian Murray

The MTA is in the crosshairs of an Astoria elected official yet again—this time for a giant billboard located on the Astoria Boulevard stop deemed to be a distraction to motorists.

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas has written separate letters to the MTA and the Department of Buildings requesting that the digital billboard at the Astoria Boulevard station be taken down since it is an “accident-causing distraction.”

Citing 114th Precinct statistics, Simotas said the billboard is located on a site—by the intersection of 32nd Street, Astoria Boulevard and the Grand Central Parkway exit ramp—known for having the highest number of traffic accidents in Astoria.

“The removal of this glaring distraction would go a long way to mitigate this major safety hazard,” both letters read.

Simotas said the billboard is also in violation of the Department of City Planning’s zoning regulations. She says that it has a surface area of 672 square feet and that it is located in a C4 commercial district that limits illuminated signs to 500 square feet.

In the letter to the MTA, she said: “While I understand that the billboard brings revenue to the MTA, it should not come at the expense of people’s safety. I look forward to working with you to resolve this issue.”

A spokesperson for the MTA was not immediately available for comment.

MTA Letter- Billboard by Queens Post on Scribd

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I agree there are several problems with this intersection. They only add to the problem of the billboard. Getting rid of it won’t stop all accidents but I believe some of them.
I drive onto the bridge every day and I know I get distracted by this billboard. Even when I try to not look at it, the colorful and changing display are still distracting in my peripheral view.


You must also realize that a motorist has (additionally) to read twelve (count them) DOT signs in a matter of seconds.

I. S

Stop blaming the MTA, it’s the roads! It’s really messed up!!! Everyone is crossing over each other! Removing a lane on both sides of the GCP ramp was even worse! Now there’s bottle-necking entering and exiting GCP at 31st / Astoria Blvd. Stop wasting tax payers’ money! Now there’s even more congestion and confusion! DO YOUR JOBS!!


The billboard can be a bit blinding, but really, it just compounds upon the already confusing and un-clearly marked intersection.


Perhaps they should move the Billboard to the top of the corner diner and help the place stay in Astoria with the money it makes off of it.


billboard has nothing to do with the accidents. why not stagnate the lighting pattern for the driver coming off the gcp, the drivers from astoria blvd and then have the 31st street lights. also, put boxes under that intersection and impose larges fines for blocking the box. hoe about forcing drivers to utilize the second lane on the outer part 31st when making a left turn rather have all these drivers from 2 lanes trying to turn into the same lane.

this is why i hate our idiot elected politicians. too stupid to actually see what the real problem is.

ahem, btw…diblasios vision zero initiative is causing all this congestion by purposely making our streets smaller, and infecting us with all these bike lanes that no one uses! 20th avenue, hoyt ave south. good job! ? ? sarcasm btw.


Aravella, your focus is in the wrong you can see if the comments prior to mine the people are complaining about the construction and how the lanes disappear. Listen to the people that live in the area and fix what is needed. I for one am fed up with bike lanes on 20th ave and the park.

nuff said

If I am a jackass, what are you for calling her “It”? and what is She for waging war on a billboard when there are far bigger fish to fry?


Think the billboard is a distraction and causing accidents? Not the lanes that disappear or the criss cross by the bridge. The whole area needs an overhaul.


This is so silly. There are fender-benders there because that intersection is a confusing mess, not because of this billboard.


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