From the Queens Chronicle:
A plan to close two exit ramps on the Van Wyck Expressway that was opposed by local community boards and the Queens Borough President’s Office has been suspended indefinitely.
The proposal was crafted by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and Department of Transportation and was designed to speed traffic flow into Kennedy International Airport, according to both agencies. The EDC confirmed this week that the proposal would be put on hiatus for now.
The plan would have closed the Jamaica Avenue off-ramp on the northbound side along with the Liberty Avenue off-ramp on the southbound side.
However, since it was announced earlier this summer, the proposed closures drew the ire of business and civic groups, and community boards 9, 10 and 12, who said it would negatively impact emergency vehicle traffic into Jamaica Hospital and hurt businesses in the area.
City officials had argued the closings would reduce car accidents on the Van Wyck while cutting travel time to the airport.
Mary Ann Carey, chairwoman of Community Board 9, said she would continue to oppose the plan if the city attempts to revive it.
“I am very pleased the they are not going to pursue this ridiculous idea,” she said. “I don’t understand the reasoning behind it.”
Carey said she had discussed what effect the closures would have with officials from Jamaica Hospital, and they had raised concerns about making it harder for ambulances and hospital staff to get to the facility.
She said the EDC had floated an idea where the exits would be closed for regular traffic but open to emergency hospital traffic, but Carey expressed doubt at the logistics of that plan.
“How is that going to happen?” she asked. “Are they going to have a cop sit at the exit ramp all day? It doesn’t make any sense.”
Also, Carey said closing the two exits would further congest traffic on roads like Liberty Avenue.