Call For Investigation In Qns Plaza Crashes

Michael Gianaris

April 14, 2011

Queens Tribune wrote about the press conferenceĀ Senator GianarisĀ held in response to the crashes at Queensborough Bridge.

In the wake of two similar disastrous car accidents on the Queens side of the Queensboro Bridge, local officials are asking the city to change the traffic pattern that they say has caused two accidents that killed two and destroyed a business - twice.

In the span of two weeks, two Volkswagen Jettas crashed into a store on Queens Plaza South and Crescent Street. Both cars collided with the store after jumping the curb exiting the Queens-bound outer roadway of the Queensboro Bridge. Both accidents occurred at about 4 a.m., when the normally-congested bridge is nearly empty. Tragically, both drivers each lost an arm.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) joined State Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria), Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Sunnyside), Community Board 2 Chair Joe Conley, local residents and business owners at the site of the crashes to announce they had drafted a letter to Queens Dept. of Transportation Commissioner Maura McCarthy demanding that they investigate factors besides speed that may have contributed to the eerily similar accidents.

In response, the DOT said both cars hit a barricade on the bridge prior to the crash, which they say is evidence the pattern on the street had nothing to do with the accidents.

Gianaris said DOT has shrugged off the problem, noting that it has not changed traffic patterns on the bridge since 2007, but he said the problem was not on the bridge, but with recently placed orange cones on Queens Plaza directing traffic from the bridge to the south side of the Plaza at Crescent Street. The cones make the turn onto the plaza from the bridge sharper and angles traffic toward the stores. The old lines in the street are still painted, which Gianaris said confused drivers.

"DOT needs to stop saying they have nothing to do with this," he said. "When there's been a series of accidents like this, accept responsibility."

Read the full article here.