According to local residents, truck drivers and commuters are using 39th Street as a cut through when they find traffic on the Long Island Expressway backed up. The problem is that 39th Street is a one-way in the opposite direction.
Stephen Grande, Jr. shot video this spring of the traffic situation from his bedroom window. The video shows a white truck backing up the entire block, so as to not break the one-way law. Another driver thought it was a good enough idea that they joined the truck as it reversed down 39th Street next to it.
Grande said that once one person ignores the one way, others are bound to follow. “You see one person do it and you’ll get a stream of it,” he said.
On Friday, August 24, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer called on the Department of Transportation to take measures to prevent drivers from blatantly disregarding the one-way laws or driving backward down the entire street.
“If you saw the video,” Van Bramer said, “you see several cars, including trucks going backwards and forwards the wrong way on a one-way street just to avoid traffic. We’re lucky that no one has died yet here on 39th Street.”
When asked what he thinks the DOT should do to fix the problem, Van Bramer told reporters the DOT should increase signage and dedicate a traffic agent to this particular location.
He is also calling on the NYPD to increase enforcement. “So that folks who are doing things that are illegal and dangerous are fined,” he said.
Grande explained that the traffic violations occurred, mostly, during rush hour because commuters were avoiding traffic on the LIE.
“On any given day during rush hour you can find cars going either backwards or forwards down 39th Street with blatant disregard for any sort of safety issues or road signs.”
He went on to explain that these violations occur at least twice a day when school is in session and people are back at work from vacations.
“It’s frustrating when you live somewhere and you see this happening,” Grande said. “You know there is an opportunity for something bad to happen, whether it be to me or whether it be to one of my neighbors.”