NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, in conjunction with State Senator Tony Avella and Council Member Paul Vallone, today announced plans to install bollards at the Third Avenue Exit on the I-678 service road of the Whitestone Expressway for added traffic calming. Flexible delineators will be added once the ramp opens to deter speeding as vehicles exit. In line with Vision Zero’s efforts to create safer neighborhood streets, the local input from civic organizations, including We Love Whitestone, Welcome to Whitestone and Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association, Inc., proved instrumental in the design and support for this project.
The Queens approach reconstruction work is winding down, and MTA Bridges and Tunnels expects to reopen the exit by the end of May. Completing the work is heavily dependent on good weather. The Third Avenue exit off ramp was closed to traffic in 2013 as part of a $109 million MTA Bridges and Tunnels reconstruction of the bridge’s Queens approach and the rehabilitation of the roadway superstructure.
“Local intelligence is critical to creating smarter, safer designs for streets,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Our ongoing conversations with the community and these elected leaders led to this important safety upgrade which will make vehicles slow down as they approach residential streets.”
“We have been working very closely with NYC DOT on the design and collaboration of these safety enhancements to the Third Avenue exit, which are in keeping with the Mayor’s Vision Zero program,” said Chris Saladino, MTA Bridges and Tunnels facility engineer at the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.
“When it comes to traffic safety, we can never be too careful. As the Third Avenue Exit was being redesigned to improve conditions on the Whitestone Bridge, I was pleased to see that NYC DOT also took this time to install additional safety measures. The implementation of these flexible delineators and bollards will not only increase safety, but will help make the flow of traffic even smoother and help decrease congestion when the Third Avenue Exit reopens next month. I applaud NYC DOT for listening to the concerns of the community and adding these traffic calming measures to make the revamped Third Avenue exit even safer for the neighborhood,” said Senator Tony Avella (D-Bayside).
“For years we have all witnessed the dangerous speeds of vehicles coming off the Third Avenue Exit and no one should have to be afraid of the traffic outside their home,” stated Council Member Paul Vallone. “I’m proud to have worked with the DOT in adding traffic calming measures that directly address the surrounding neighbors’ safety concerns, and I look forward to continue working with them to determine if any additional safety measures are necessary.”
Better managing the speeds of exiting vehicles and commercial traffic at this exit has been a long-standing safety request by the Whitestone community. DOT has been working closely with MTA/TBTA to coordinate schedules for the upcoming enhancement. In addition to deterring speeding, the new 70’ of flexible delineators better organizes traffic by minimizing conflicts between vehicles already using the service road and those merging on to it from the exit.
At the request of the community and elected officials, NYC DOT will continue studying the area for additional safety measures. This includes reviews for enhanced signage, markings and other traffic calming.
For more information about NYC DOT and its safety efforts in Queens and citywide, visit www.nyc.gov/dot.