Senator Gianaris Leads Fight for Traffic Safety Improvements Near Queensboro Bridge

Michael Gianaris

April 13, 2011

The Western Queens Gazette wrote a front page story about Senator Gianaris' press conference at  the Queensboro Bridge following two major accidents in 10 days at one of the bridge's off-ramps. Senator Gianaris has helped lead the charge to improve safety along this dangerous stretch of road.

Three local political leaders, demanding that the Department of Transportation take responsible action, held an afternoon press conference Friday, April 8, at Queens Plaza South and Crescent Street, near the site of two recent automobile crashes. The accindets, which occurred just beyond an exit from the Queensboro Bridge, caused two deaths and damaged two stores. Speaking before several radio, television and newspaper reporters and photographers were state Assemblymembers Michael Gianaris and Catherine Nolan and City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. The three denounced a city Department of Transportation (DOT) that they said has thus far put up a Jersey barrier at curbside in front of the ruined stores but has otherwise appeared indifferent to concerns.

Gianaris was incensed that DOT Queens Commissioner Maura McCarthy could refer to the “bizarre coincidence” of two early morning mishaps in the same place nine days apart but fail to consider that the arrangement of roadways on the Queens exit side of the bridge, altered during the extensive reconstruction of the bridge’s approaches and exits, might need to be examined and improved. “I don’t believe in coincidences,” he said. Nolan, who drove her car to the press conference, said she found the makeshift traffic pattern confusing. Van Bramer said signage is needed to warn exiting drivers to slow down, especially since the three-pronged exit pattern in place formerly has been reduced to two during reconstruction. The exit pattern reconfiguration did not take into account the fact that overnight traffic speeds are often hazardously high at the bridge exit, or anywhere else on the bridge or in the plaza. He worried that the Jersey barrier might be left in place so long it would effectively become permanent.

Read the full article here.