PLANS TO untangle the traffic knot at the foot of the
Cars traveling south on 31stSt. will no longer be able to turn left onto Astoria Blvd., leaving them to wind through narrow streets to access the Grand Central Parkway.
And local officials question the wisdom of putting bike lanes in an area where cars jockey to exit the highway and get onto the bridge.
"I've been asking for improvements to this intersection since the day I was elected," said City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., who has represented the area since 2002. "This is the first attempt at some major improvements. I support the goal, but some of the specifics go too far."
The plan was crafted by the city Department of Transportation in an effort to reduce congestion, ease crossings and provide more bicycle access in the area of Astoria Blvd. and 31st St.
Agency officials said about 300 traffic accidents occur at the intersection every year, along with 25 pedestrian accidents.
Borough Commissioner Maura McCarthy cited it as the highest accident location in northern Queens.
The plan also includes placement of a flashing red signal at 29th St. and Hoyt Boulevard South, changes in traffic-signal timing and new street markings.
Vallone (D-Astoria) said residents are especially troubled by the move to block left turns from 31st St. to Astoria Blvd.
They fear that will divert cars into neighborhood streets in search of an entrance to the Grand Central Parkway.
Agency officials said they will monitor traffic for six months to determine whether to keep the ban in place.