So guests of a local catering facility can more easily reach the Throgs Neck Bridge on weekend nights, plans are in the works to re-open an on-ramp to the Throgs Neck Expressway at Harding Avenue that is usually closed during the weekends and the rush hour.
Leaders of several civic associations have weighed in on opening the Harding Avenue entrance ramp on weekends between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on a three-month trial basis, in a proposal presented by Senator Jeff Klein to help the customers leaving Marina del Rey parties reach the bridge faster.
“For decades, Marina del Rey has hosted every prom, sweet 16 and wedding in our community, serving as a supportive, good neighbor,” Klein said. “So, when the owner asked me to look into opening the expressway entrance only during nighttime, weekend hours when guests leave the hall, I told him I would get feedback from my community to see if it’s feasible.”
The on-ramp has been closed during rush hour and weekends for over 20 years to prevent motorists from using the Throgs Neck Expressway service road as a shortcut to the bridge’s toll plaza. Before the entrance hours were modified, travellers would use the last expressway entrance before the bridge to avoid traffic backup at the toll plaza. This traffic, especially on holiday weekends, would exit the expressway at Randall Avenue and follow the service road to the entrance just before the toll plaza, according to former Throggs Neck Home Owners Association president Peggy Vega. Vega said this sometimes led to chaos on the service road when traffic clogged the residential streets, sometimes effectively shutting down access to Locust Point. Current TNHOA president Lynn Gerbino said the organization is reluctantly going along with the proposal, as long as its being tried on trial basis.
“I know what the community went through to get this closed,” Gerbino said. “We are trying to be good neighbors, but we are doing this reluctantly. We are going to ask to have it closed again immediately if we see the service road being used by large trucks waiting to go over the bridge.”
Jerry Landi, the president of the Locust Point Civic Association, said that he has polled the members of his group and found them to be amenable to keeping the entrance open on weekend nights. The on-ramp sits right beside the only roadway access to Locust Point.
“We are basically extending a hand to a local business that needs our help,” Landi said. “I brought this before our board and at the general meeting and the members are fine with the proposal.”
Landi said that the matter is still under discussion among different community groups.
When the entrance is closed, travellers access the bridge via the on-ramp near the Throggs Neck Houses, at Randall Avenue.
Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393 or procchio@c
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