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Honking From Queensboro Bridge Makes Sleepless Nights the Norm: Residents

By Shaye Weaver | October 14, 2015 6:24pm
 Traffic from Queensboro Bridge clogs up East 63rd Street, which makes drivers honk their horns.
Traffic from Queensboro Bridge to East 63rd Street
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UPPER EAST SIDE — The constant blaring and beeping of horns from cars chronically backed-up near the Queensboro Bridge exit ramp on East 62nd and 63rd streets is driving residents mad.

The honking is untenable, especially in the evening hours when people are home as it lasts well into the night, several residents said at a East Sixties Neighborhood Association traffic safety forum on Tuesday.

"The street is continually blocked by cars on East 63rd that are stopping in the middle of First Avenue," said Adam Stracher, a resident who lives on the avenue. "Cars constantly honked on First Avenue every night for the last year...it's by far the biggest quality of life issue."

Residents fed-up with the noise have even taken to addressing the issue directly by shouting out of their windows, which just adds to the ruckus, according to ESNA member Judy Schneider.

"One man yells out his window foul language at the cars," she said. "It's just impossible. This is not quality of life. People are just not sleeping."

The problem largely comes down to the timing of the street lights, according to some residents. When the light turns red for those coming off the bridge and green for East 63rd Street, the intersection is already too full of cars from the bridge to allow any movement to go west toward Second Avenue.

Resident Elliot Tatkow, who lives at the East 63rd Street and First Avenue intersection, said the honking goes on for hours, from at least 7 p.m. to midnight. He suggested that the city slow down the amount of time the light there changes to allow the street to empty. He also suggested putting a sign allowing only local traffic, keeping drivers from coming up East 63rd Street for a time.

"No Honking" signs that had been there for years were taken down, one resident said. She asked that the city Department of Transportation put them back up.

But the signs didn't accomplish anything, according to DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione.

"Several years ago the signs were all removed because we don't believe they do anything and don't change behavior and it can be enforced with or without signs. They are not the fundamental root of the problem," she said at the forum.

Forgione promised the DOT would look into the timing of the lights and work with the NYPD's 19th Precinct to see what other measures can be taken to combat the noise.


East 63rd bridge traffic toward 2nd Ave.

A video posted by Shaye Weaver (@dnashaye) on