The one–lane Cross Island Parkway (CIP) on–ramp to the Throgs Neck Bridge is officially a safety success story: traffic accidents at the ramp are down 83% since January when the Bronx–bound ramp was re–striped and delineated to one–lane operation.
Initially, the single–lane configuration was a temporary lane reduction to allow for deck reconstruction work and repairs from a July 2009 fire; but the arrangement ended up revealing by contrast just how accident–prone the original two–lane merge on the ramp had been.
"We are very pleased with this drop in collisions, and it's all because drivers now have a straight, clear line from ramp right onto bridge with no merge to worry about," said Bridges and Tunnels Acting President Jim Ferrara. "Safety, as always, is our highest priority."
In the past, the merge had always been awkward for drivers because two lanes of CIP cars–only traffic entered the main–span of the bridge squeezed by big trucks coming up the center lane from the Clearview Expressway. Furthermore, the accident rate in the area where the two CIP ramp lanes became one was high, with an average of 50 collisions a year directly related to the mix of trucks and cars. This problematic location accounted for 21% of all accidents on the facility during 2008.
During the construction period from August through January when the ramp was operating as a dedicated single lane the collisions declined dramatically—only four and none of them major. Based on this positive outcome and in the interest of increased driver safety, the Authority decided to continue the one–lane entrance to the bridge from the Cross Island Parkway while continuing to monitor its performance. As part of this initiative, the agency made several subsequent improvements to the ramp and its approach, including:
- Improved signs on the approach with fixed and electronic variable message signs (VMS) to lead drivers to the right lane of the Cross Island Parkway.
- Installation of traffic delineators to better define and mark a smoother transition from the Cross Island Parkway up onto the ramp.
- Posted signs on the ramp to alert customers to "maintain speed/no merge ahead."
- Widened the ramp lane to 12 feet and added a shoulder area on either side.
As part of continuing interagency efforts to improve the traffic through–put in this historically busy travel corridor, the New York City and State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) of the New York City and Long Island Regions have helped with signage and other roadway improvements. There are currently DOT signs on the Grand Central Parkway and Long Island Expressway before their Cross Island Parkway entrances that provide live travel times to the Throgs Neck Bridge via the Cross Island Parkway and the Clearview Expressway. These signs help to encourage a balance in the corridor by diverting traffic to the under–utilized Clearview Expressway where shorter travel times are more common.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels' facilities, which connect the five boroughs of New York City, are the Throgs Neck, Robert F. Kennedy (formerly Triborough), Bronx–Whitestone, Henry Hudson, Verrazano–Narrows, Cross Bay Veterans Memorial and Marine Parkway–Gil Hodges Bridges, and the Queens Midtown and Brooklyn–Battery Tunnels.
|One–lane configuration on Cross Island Parkway northbound ramp to Throgs Neck Bridge provides motorists with a dedicated lane and no merges.|