NBC 4 New York
One lane of the Queensboro Bridge will be closed each night beginning at 9 p.m. in an effort to curb the fatal accidents that have occurred along a dangerous curve of a Queens-bound ramp. Michael George reports.
One lane of the Queensboro Bridge will be closed each night beginning at 9 p.m. in an effort to curb the fatal accidents that have occurred along a dangerous curve of a Queens-bound ramp.
Neighbors and community leaders called the ramp a death trap, the problem being at the end of the outermost Queens-bound lane of the bridge. At night, with no traffic, drivers may speed down the ramp, not seeing the curve coming, and in three cases in the past three years, lose control and slam into nearby stores.
Most recently, an off-duty NYPD officer died after her car flipped over the ramp in that spot.
"That curve was clearly directing cars onto the sidewalk and into storefronts," said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. "Too many people were dying."
Bramer says DOT has tried flashing lights, speed limit signs, rumble strips and barriers, but they haven't worked. Now the DOT and NYPD say the entire lane is too dangerous to drive overnight.
Van Bramer supports the shutdown but says it's a temporary fix.
"We don't just need rumble strips and signage, we need a complete redesign of this highway," said Van Bramer.
But the idea of closing an entire lane every night doesn't sit well with drivers who rely on the route to get home.
"I think that's too extreme," said Joe Calderone, who takes the bridge every night. "It's crazy to shut it down. I mean, traffic is bad enough on the lower level."
But for supporters, if it can save lives, more traffic is a small price to pay.
"There could be a small impact, but the truth is we are in a situation where people are dying," said Van Bramer.
The councilman said he plans to talk with the new transportation commissioner and the de Blasio administration about a permanent solution to the dangerous ramp, but for now and the indefinite future, it will stay closed every night from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.