Shut the Harding Avenue TN Bridge entrance: CB10

The Harding Avenue enterance for the Throgs Neck Bridge.
Schneps Media/ Alex Mitchell

Locust Point has been battling some severe congestion…caused by modern technology.

The residential area is getting hit hard by traffic-wary travellers that try to cut time out of their trips across the Throgs Neck Bridge by exiting the Cross Bronx and Throgs Neck expressways further north and following map app commands to re-enter the roadway at the foot of the bridge.

According to the Locust Point Civic Association there’s only one solution – close the bridge’s Harding Avenue entrance ramp, which is located at the base of the span, during the offending daytime hours, said Locust Point Civic Association President, Joe Donovan.

He continued to explain that Locust Point residents have quality of life gripes with the issue at hand, noting that many years ago a Locust Point man suffered a fatal heart attack because emergency services couldn’t reach him in time due to backup on the one lane Throgs Neck Expressway service road.

“Residents are up in arms about this,” he continued.

The bridge backups are caused by daytime road closures, lane shifts and the occasional traffic accident.

Community Board 10 sent a letter to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday, August 14, requesting that the entrance be closed whenever the Queens-bound roadway gets backed up.

At one time, the letter states, “The Harding Avenue Exit was closed Monday through Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. It closed each Friday at noon and remained closed for the entirety of the weekend. It re-opened on Monday at 7 a.m. The exit’s closure had a positive impact on the quality-of-life on our lower Throggs Neck communities.”

Since the exit’s reopening several years ago, residents say that they have seen traffic on the local streets exponentially worsen on a daily basis.

“The traffic can back up as far back as East Tremont Avenue which is roughly seven blocks from the exit. This is in addition to the traffic already on the expressways as far back as Randall Avenue,” the letter stated.

“This is due, in part, aside from the construction and vehicular incidents, to the widespread use of mobile transportation applications such as GOOGLE and Waze. These mobile applications recommend that motorists avoid certain portions of the Throgs Neck Expressway by traveling through our local streets to reach the Harding Avenue entrance,” the letter continued to explain.

While CB10 is pushing for the exit to remain closed during periods of high volume, Donovan sees an alternative solution that’s less extreme.

“Why not put a right turn lane at Harding Avenue (where it meets East 177th Street),” he said. “The (bridge) entrance could remain open all day and residents wouldn’t have to wait in bumper to bumper traffic (on Harding Avenue) to get home, it’s a simple solution” Donovan continued.

The civic association president has been working with Councilman Mark Gjonaj to pressure the NYC Department of Transportation to install a turning lane, however nothing is definite at this time, according to Gjonaj’s office.

“If that doesn’t work then I believe closing the exit is the best course of action,” he said.

CB 10 is “waiting with baited breath” for the MTA to respond to the board’s request to close the exit according to district manager Matt Cruz.

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