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.
#Astoria doesn’t need this giant @MTA billboard. It’s a dangerous distraction to drivers in 7 lanes of traffic. Plus it’s nearly 30% bigger than the law allows. I’m calling on the #MTA to take it down. pic.twitter.com/3ZyJtPSb8A
— Aravella Simotas (@AravellaSimotas) February 22, 2018