Queensboro Bridge exit claims another life
by Andrew Pavia
Dec 17, 2013 | 499 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Senator Michael Gianaris.
State Senator Michael Gianaris.
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A storefront window boarded up after a vehicle smashed through it.
A storefront window boarded up after a vehicle smashed through it.
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For the third time since 2011, an individual has lost their life due to the curved exit ramp that spits drivers out from the Queensboro Bridge directly into a traffic lane adjacent to a line of stores.

The most recent incident occurred on Tuesday, Dec. 10, when former NYPD officer Elisa Toro, 36, hit a guardrail that sent her car careening onto the sidewalk, where it flipped over and crashed into a storefront window.

In the wake of the accident, local officials are calling on the Department of Transportation to make changes to the ramp to make it safer for drivers.

“Sadly, we are standing in the same spot we were in just over a year ago discussing another death that happened because of a poorly designed exit ramp,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris. “This happened the same exact way.”

In addition to the senator, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney all signed a letter that was sent to the DOT calling for the renovations.

Gianaris noted this is not the first time they have asked DOT to address the ramp.

“We have pleaded with the DOT to redesign the traffic pattern coming off this bridge, and all we got was some signage and a barricade that couldn’t even stop a car from crashing into a store,” he said.

A DOT spokesperson said the agency has added a number of safety measures to the ramp over the last three years.

“As of 2011, this ramp has been equipped with a large variety of traffic management devices, including three 20 MPH word messages and ‘shark teeth’ markings on the roadway, and 14 yellow and 12 white 36”-by-8” aluminum-backed reflectors,” said Seth Solomonow an NYC DOT spokesman.

“Plus another 150 yellow and white prismatic reflectors on the bridge rail uprights, four sets of rumble strips to warn delivers that they are approaching a reduce speed zone and an electronic sign that displays the speed of passing motorists using radar technology,” he added.

Despite these safety measure, local officials are calling for the DOT to take a much larger approach regarding redesigning the exit ramp.

“What we have seen time and time again is the DOT say we’ve done everything we can,” said Van Bramer. “What I’m saying is that it is not enough. If cars are still flying off this bridge and into storefronts, clearly they have not done enough.”

Van Bramer accused DOT of playing favorites and not making this ramp a priority because it leads to Queens and not Manhattan. “If this were happening on the Manhattan-bound side of the Queensboro Bridge and cars were flying off the bridge into businesses, this would have been fixed.”

“This is an important spot not just for Queens,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership, “it’s part of the citywide transportation system. So we look forward to working with everyone and resolving these issues in the future.”

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