Exclusive: Perilous Queens Traffic Island

Fury Reigns Over DOT's Decision To Put Cars Close To Trains

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Who would install a traffic island that forces drivers to go perilously close to speeding trains to make a turn?

If your answer is the New York City Department of Transportation, you’d be right.

“The fact that the DOT engineers could have approved this, it boggles the mind,” said City Councilman Dan Halloran, R-Queens.

Halloran said that’s not the only thing that boggles the mind. In addition to the new traffic island near the Little Neck train station, DOT engineers also installed a sign that makes it illegal to make a right turn during morning and evening rush hours. So your choice is to make an illegal right turn and risk a ticket or make a legal left turn and risk your life.

“Someone is going to get killed,” Halloran said.

CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer watched that intersection during the morning rush hour and guess what?  She found that driver after driver chose to make illegal right turns, and run the risk of getting a ticket, rather than take the more dangerous DOT-approved option.

Needless to say, residents and commuters are furious.

“This is a monstrosity. This has got to be the worst designed island I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Little Neck resident Sal Del Giudice. “This is going to create accidents. People stop here regularly dropping off people for the train. The people get backed up because they used to be able to get around. Now they’re going to be backed up on the tracks.”

“This is a safety hazard,” one woman added.

“School buses come down here, garbage trucks, tractor trailers. They can’t make that left turn, because there’s not enough room between the island and the gate when it comes down. You have to almost go into the gate to make the left turn,” said Jay Sapiro of Roslyn Heights.

It took Kramer six hours to get a response from DOT. The agency said it’s part of a plan to establish a “quite zone” and stop trains from honking their horns.

DOT spokesman Seth Solomonow said “these safety changes are part of the community-requested railway quiet zone being implemented to improve the quality of life for local residents.”

And here’s another question: what happens in the winter when the plaza is covered with snow? The councilman said it’s going to be even more dangerous.

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  • phil

    Someone’s going to get killed? I’d lay money somebody already died. Standing in that spot where the traffic island is. That’s why there’s an island now.

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    […] including forcing an ambulance to pull into on coming traffic to get to the emergency room, and in Little Neck put in a traffic island that makes drivers go perilously close to speeding trains to make a […]

  • James Donohue

    Maybe it’s safer to ride a bicycle.

    Maybe motorists should forget about making left turns at that intersection.

    Motorists come perilously close to bicycles everyday, and no one cares. Now the motorists get to see what it’s like to be “buzzed” at a close distance.

    What goes around, comes around.

  • L

    Closing the road is not an option. There are only 2 ways out of the Manor, Douglaston Parkway and Sandhill Road (Back Road), and what do the residents of the road do! If the planners of the quiet zone actually stopped to observe the use and traffic flow of the intersection they would have realized that the placement of the median (as it has been placed) would obstruct traffic flow not help it. The installation of the new no left hand turn signs to turn into the Back Road from Little Neck Parkway will further obstruct traffic flow through the intersection. Maybe the cops should ticket the pedestrians who walk in the way of on-coming traffic instead. That would solve alot of the problems.

  • Resident

    Maybe that street between Little Neck and Douglaston (Sandhill Rd/39th Ave) should be closed permanently where it attaches to Little Neck Parkway, that would solve the controversy. It’s not even like a real street anyway, only big enough for 1 car to go in any direction and you get to play chicken and nerves of steel with oncoming cars. You think that is any safer? Put a cop there and hand out tickets to all the cars making the illegal turns, that will speed up the behavior modification. If this is what is necessary for a Quiet Zone, finally, then so be it.

  • Boougah

    You asked for it and you got it! The law, if anyone bothered reading it requires these islands on both sides of a crossing for it to be made a quiet zone.

    The community lobbied for it. Too bad you fools didn’t read the law.

    Now you’re gonna cry when someone gets killed because there are no horns?

  • J

    I live in the area, this is the craziest thing I have ever read- the scary thing is, it’s by a government agency. If they don’t want the LIRR to honk their horns that should be a policy governed by in house management. Once again this is the beginning of socialism in New York (where the government decides whats best for us). This is a working class area, so if everyone is going to work and the homes/apartments are empty, who is actually complaining? Seems like a DOT trick, or stupid management , or a WAY TO MAKE MONEY. But residents are furious, so on one hand, we have an attempt to improve quality of life when no one is home, on the other residents are upset when they are not home. Something stinks like a diaper and it’s a socialist regime called NYC DOT. Paladino for Governor.

  • Jane

    I find it hard to believe that a traffic island will prevent a train engineer from blowing their horn. Especially 3 in the morning. We asked for a quiet zone not a safety hazard.

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