From the Queens Gazette:
Motorists who travel through the maze of traffic at 31st Street and Hoyt Avenue in Astoria to reach the Grand Central Parkway, Astoria Boulevard or the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (Triborough Bridge) should pay special attention to new signage at the bustling intersection – where the city recently installed a series of new traffic patterns, signs and signals.
Drivers are advised to take notice of the changes, since failure to follow messages on new signage puts them in risk of a $130 summons and two points on their driver’s license, law enforcement sources said.
The changes were made following months of hearings and an exhaustive traffic study that showed a need for safe crossings on Astoria Boulevard from 29th to 33rd Streets, reduced congestion and new vehicle-to-vehicle safety measures in the designated area, a city Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesperson said.
From the Queens Courier:
Two local Queens elected officials want the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to green light a plan that would allow large trucks to access the Grand Central Parkway (GCP) from the RFK Bridge, instead of having the large vehicles come in and cause congestion on the local streets of Astoria.
City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. and Assemblymember Michael Gianaris sent a letter to acting DOT Commissioner Stanley Gee and Regional Director Phillip Eng asking the agency to support an MTA construction project that, when completed, would eliminate the need for trucks to use local streets to access the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE).
Since November 2003, small commercial vehicles have been allowed to use the GCP to access the BQE from the RFK Bridge in the eastbound direction.
Local elected officials said that this program, which started out as a pilot, has been very successful, but larger commercial vehicles – trucks higher than 12 feet, 6 inches with more than three axles – are still required to exit at 31st Street. The vehicles are required to make a sharp right turn onto 29th Street and then a sharp left onto Astoria Boulevard to avoid the low clearance on Hoyt Avenue South under the elevated train.
Recently, the city’s Department of Transportation installed a traffic signal at 29th Street and Hoyt Ave South. The MTA Bridges and Tunnels wants to perform construction that will allow the large trucks to stay on the GCP to gain access to the BQE.
By grinding the highway lower, these large vehicles will meet clearance requirements. Legislators believe this will improve the operation of the newly installed traffic signal, and reduce traffic delays and safety concerns at this intersection.