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Ramp it up vote

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Many in Throggs Neck and Locust Point want an off-ramp on the Throgs Neck Expressway, next to the Throgs Neck Bridge toll plaza, re-opened after a redesign by the state DOT. Community Board 10 is expected to vote on the request at the next full board meeting.

The off-ramp, located near the corner of Harding and Longstreet avenues, and the Throgs Neck Expressway extension has been closed for years after cars and tractor-trailer trucks used it to unlawfully enter the highway near the plaza because the actual entrance was closed during peak travel times.

According to area residents, motorists would exit the highway at Randall Avenue when traffic backed up, and then jump back onto the highway after cutting past cars and trucks sitting in traffic on the expressway.

An on-ramp to the highway at the location, which was next to the off-ramp, had to be closed during rush hour and on weekends ever since an incident over 20 years ago when motorists, eager to beat traffic blocked the only access road to Locust Point, Longstreet Avenue, and EMS crews couldn’t reach a Locust Point resident who subsequently died of a stroke.

“Currently, the on-ramp is only closed part of the time and there has been a lot of talk that they would open it up full time,” said Chrys Napolitano, a member of the Locust Point Civic Association executive board.

Napolitano said that she is convinced that if the on-ramp is opened once again next to the bridge, a similar incident will occur.

However, Napolitano said the opening of the off-ramp is a different story because it has been redesigned to prevent motorist from using it to re-enter the highway, and would likely serve as asset to the Throggs Neck area.

“[State DOT] is making the off-ramp narrower so it is more difficult for tractor-trailer trucks to use it as an on-ramp,” Napolitano said. “Opening the off-ramp back into a forked roadway is not an issue to us, even though there is someone who lives near the exit who doesn’t want it opened.”

State DOT has already approved the opening of the off-ramp, and the redesign of the off-ramp so that it is narrower should work to prevent improper access. Community Board 10 is expected to approve the opening of the off-ramp, and when they do, it will re-open.

“The community asked us to look at it, and it seems like a reasonable thing to do,” said CB 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns, of opening the off-ramp.

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group