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THE FUTURE WITH THE RAMPS AND DEVELOPMENT

 
Overview:


The Van Wyck Expressway ramps are one key component of an enormous new development that City planners want to situate at the confluence of our well-travelled Queens roadways. The $4 billion development – which is to be shoehorned into the Willets Point triangle located between the intersection of the Whitestone and Van Wyck Expressways on one side, and Roosevelt Avenue on the other, with CitiField stadium right across the street – is to include 5,500 housing units; a 700-room hotel; a convention center; a retail destination mall; a school; a multiplex movie theater; office space; and more.

As stressed as the Van Wyck/Whitestone Expressway bottleneck already is, City planners mistakenly expect it to also accommodate:


•   All of the families that reside within the 5,500 housing units;
•   Guests of the 700-room hotel, arriving and departing at all times;
•   Employees of the 700-room hotel;
•   Exhibitors at the convention center, including deliveries of convention displays;
•   Attendees of events at the convention center;
•   Employees of the convention center;
•   Customers of the retail destination mall shops;
•   Employees of the retail destination mall shops;
•   Students, their parents, faculty and staff of the school, including school busses;
•   Customers of the multiplex movie theater;
•   Employees of the multiplex movie theater;
•   Tenants, visitors and administration of the office space.

That's a lot of people, a lot of cars, and a lot of traffic.

Although new access ramps to and from the Van Wyck Expressway are integral to the development described above, and may be intended to alleviate some of the traffic to be generated by that development, the net combined effect of the ramps and the development is to severely worsen traffic conditions on surrounding roadways, other access ramps, and neighborhood intersections – many of which are distant from the proposed site of the new ramps.

For an overview of the severe traffic congestion that will result if the ramps and associated development are allowed to be built, view two brief videos:


Video (3
minutes): The testimony of traffic expert Michael O'Rourke at the New York City Planning Commission on August 13, 2008. O'Rourke states: "We would expect traffic speeds cut in half; unsafe ramps would be created; and there is a potential for back-ups and increased accidents."


Video (3 minutes)
: The testimony of traffic expert Bernard Adler at the New York City Planning Commission on August 13, 2008. Adler states: "I have never seen this level of unmitigated impact, in the forty years I've been practicing."


Detailed Written Reports:


The City was obligated to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) addressing the effects of the proposed ramps and development.

The EIS reveals intersections that will deteriorate to a Level Of Service of "E" or "F" (representing "Fail"). For example: "In the weekday AM peak hour, 17 of the 27 analyzed signalized intersections are projected to operate at overall Level Of Service E or F." (page 17-59)

A chart showing the analyzed intersections and various times of day is nearly filled with "x" marks, which indicate that "the intersection would be significantly impacted." (page 17-61)
IntersectionImpactChart
The Grand Central Parkway, Van Wyck Expressway, Whitestone Expressway and various ramps all would experience significant adverse impacts. However, the extent of certain anticipated adverse impacts is many times what qualifies as "significant." For example: During weekday PM hours, traffic on the ramp from Northern Boulevard (westbound) to the Van Wyck Expressway (southbound) will be adversely impacted as follows:

•   Speed: Decreases from 28.9 MPH to 1.4 MPH (NOT a mis-print)
•   Density of traffic: Increases from 24.0 pc/mi/ln* to 248.9 pc/mi/ln*

     (density increases by a factor of 10; NOT a mis-print)
•   Level Of Service: Decreases 3 levels, from "C" to "F" (Fail)  (pages 17-73 and 17-77)

*passenger cars per mile per lane

Another example: During weekday PM hours, traffic on the Van Wyck Expressway main line (northbound) will be adversely impacted as follows:

•   Speed: Decreases from 39.5 MPH to 16.7 MPH
•   Density of traffic: Increases from 33.4 pc/mi/ln* to 85.4 pc/mi/ln*
•   Level Of Service: Decreases 2 levels, from "D" to "F" (Fail)
  (pages 17-73 and 17-77)
*passenger cars per mile per lane

The EIS freely admits: "The substantial increases on the Van Wyck Expressway in both directions would be due to traffic entering from and exiting to the new access ramps connecting the highway to the Willets Point Development District." (pages 17-75 and 17-76)

Read the entire Traffic and Parking chapter of the Environmental Impact Statement here:


Traffic expert Bernard Adler's written review
states: "The Project, as proposed, will do irreparable harm to the well-being and safety of the general public and, therefore, should be denied." Read Adler's entire written report on the ramps and associated development here:


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