ASTORIA — The city needs a better fix for a crash-prone stretch of Astoria Boulevard, where recent traffic changes have failed to stop drivers from making dangerous turns, a local lawmaker says.
Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas is imploring the Department of Transportation to take "immediate action" at the intersection of Astoria Boulevard North at 32nd Street, where traffic from an exit ramp off the Grand Central Parkway merges with the boulevard into six lanes of cars.
In 2015, the DOT extended the median between the parkway and Astoria Boulevard North from 32nd to 31st street to prevent drivers from cutting across several lanes to turn right or left onto 31st Street.
While the extended barrier has put a stop to the "weaving and crisscrossing traffic" immediately between 32nd and 31st streets, it's pushed the dangerous driving further west, according to Simotas.
"This intersection remains a daily hazard to motorists," she wrote in a letter to DOT officials on Jan. 12, noting that the agency had promised to present solutions for the street last summer but has yet to do so.
Drivers are now trying to cross several lanes of traffic under the elevated subway tracks or to get to the entrance for the Triborough Bridge at 29th Street, the lawmaker says.
"Improvements have been repeatedly delayed despite acknowledgement of the issue," Simotas continued.
During 2016, five motorists were injured in crashes at the intersection of 32nd Street and Astoria Boulevard North, according to the city's Vision Zero map.
The intersection a block west at 31st Street and Astoria Boulevard North saw 12 motorists and one pedestrian hurt last year, the map shows.
The DOT says it's currently working on a safety plan for the location and will present its proposal to the community sometime early this year, spokeswoman Gloria Chin said.