Maspeth residents call for one-way street to block trucks
by Daniel Bush
Nov 16, 2010 | 2386 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Jordan Day points out damage to a building at the intersection of Melvina Place and 56th Drive that residents say was caused by truck traffic.
Maspeth-bound trucks exiting the Long Island Expressway are clogging traffic, idling and causing sidewalk damage on residential Melvina Place, residents say.

They requested the two-way street between 56th Drive and Maspeth Avenue be turned into a southbound one-way road at last week's community board meeting to ease congestion while the Department of Transportation (DOT) completes a study of the area's truck routes.

That plan, which would block trucks from using side streets, has been years in the making.

Fed-up residents of Melvina Place said trucks delivering produce to a wholesale warehouse on the corner of Melvina Place and 56th Drive have wreaked havoc on their block for years.

After exiting the LIE at Maurice Avenue, trucks take 56th Drive or Maspeth Avenue to Melvina Place, where they turn onto the side street to park at the warehouse.

“The trucks are way too big to make the turn,” onto Melvina Place, said Peter Seymour, who lives on the street. Seymour and his neighbors also said they line up along Maspeth Avenue to reach the warehouse, idling loudly in the early morning.

“They sound like freight trains in front of your bedroom window,” Seymour said. “If Melvina Place was one-way there'd be no reason for them to come up Maspeth Avenue.”

If the change was made trucks could still access the warehouse from 56th Drive. It is unclear if this would simply cause a larger backup there while freeing traffic on Maspeth Avenue.

“For the street to be a one-way no matter in what direction could make it a lot safer,” said Gary Giordano, district manager for Community Board Five.

Jamie Chen, of Kingsland Meat Wholesale, one of two food wholesalers at the warehouse, said the plan would harm business.

“We know people who live here complain,” Chen said. But “if you make it one-way all the trucks can't go in [as easily] and we can't do business.”

Chen denied trucks idle outside through the night; she said Kingsland opens at 6 a.m.

Management at Maxsun Produce, the other wholesaler, was not available for comment. A dispatcher said Maxsun can't control drivers who deliver produce from other companies.

The intersection of Melvina Place and 56th Drive has taken a beating from trucks. Portions of the sidewalk on either side of the street are collapsed, with gaping holes several feet deep.

A telephone pole is bent out of shape and the corner building at the intersection has a chunk of brick missing. Jordan Day, a supervisor at a fastener supply distributor on Melvina Place said the damage was caused by a truck turning onto the street.

“They're doing whatever they want,” Day said of the truckers. He supported making Melvina Place one-way, but said it might not be enough.

“Is it going to be a better solution?” he said. “I don't know.”

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