The Department of Transportation (DOT) developed a bypass plan because roughly 460 trucks have been exiting the Long Island Expressway at Grand Avenue, in a residential area, to take side streets into Brooklyn for the last 10 years, board members said.
Community Board 2, which also represents the area affected by the truck traffic, approved the plan last month.
According to the DOT’s plan, Maurice Avenue would be a northbound one-way between Maspeth Avenue and 55th Drive. It would make 58th Street a southbound one-way between 55th Drive and Maspeth Avenue.
The plan would also change 57th Place into a northbound one-way between Maspeth Avenue and 57th Road, and 59th Street would be a southbound one-way from Maurice Avenue to 56th Drive.
This way, truckers who want to take side streets to Brooklyn to avoid the tumultuous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway will have to get off the LIE at Maurice Avenue and take a route through an industrial neighborhood.
Congressman Joe Crowley, who secured $500,000 in federal funds for the DOT to develop the plan, said he was thrilled that the board approved it.
“With the passage of the plan by Community Board 5, we are one step closer to turning our hopes for an improved, quieter community into a reality,” Crowley said in a statement.
Gary Giordano, the board’s district manager, said this was the second time the plan had been put before the board for a vote. After the first vote was tabled, the DOT altered the plan in an attempt to accommodate local business owners who expressed concern about it, he said.
“We need to get as many trucks as possible off of Grand and Flushing avenues,” Giordano said. “Trucks have overwhelmed the community for far too long.”
But not everyone is in full support of the plan. Several attendees said they were concerned about how the businesses around the 59th Street and Maurice Avenue intersection will be affected by the changes.
For example, several mentioned the Junior’s Cheesecake factory on Maurice Avenue.
The day after the hearing, Jean Tanler, Maspeth Industrial Business Zone Coordinator, said Junior’s has one loading dock, which extends at a southwest angle onto Maurice Avenue.
“So it’s an awkward angle if the road is only going north,” Tanler said. The trucks can’t unload their cargo onto the street because it contains perishable food items, she said.
Representatives from Junior’s were not available for comment after the meeting.
However, those in attendance at the Board 5 meeting were overwhelmingly in favor of recommending the Liquor Authority not renew an alcohol license for Hush Lounge on Grand Avenue.
The lounge has been a source of noise complaints from neighbors who live on 57th Road, which runs directly behind the bar, since it opened in 2007.
“Hush reportedly doesn’t turn down their music” at an appropriate time of night, Giordano said.