The Queensboro Meat Grinder


Classic Scene near Queensboro Bridge on Second Avenue (note red light!)

Every morning I walk past scenes like this near the Queensboro Bridge (QBB) on Second Avenue. Traffic blocks up on Second Avenue north of the two major crosstown exit routes at 60th and 57th Streets all the way to 70th Street and beyond. The problem is that the QBB creates a natural choke point for south bound traffic on Second Avenue as hundreds of cars and trucks enter Manhattan at every change of the light. But instead of trying to discourage drivers from using Second Avenue in that area or deter drivers from taking the QBB, the only attempt to manage this is to place some traffic agents at a few intersections, but it remains a state of perpetual gridlock and lawlessness. It is also one of the most dangerous areas in the city to bike, as shown in the recent health study of cyclist fatality clusters.

In the scene above, cars heading down Second Avenue in the 60s blocked the box (60th and Second was the worst intersection for blocked box in the Borough President’s analysis) for vehicles heading eastward. Instead of patiently waiting for the obstruction to clear, the London Meat Truck (212-255-2153) drove up onto the pedestrian crosswalk, but still couldn’t make it’s way to the next block until people on the sidewalk backed up to allow it space to squeeze through. But then other cars were following the truck, even after the light turned, forcing pedestrians back on the curb, even though they had the signal.


Pedestrians pinned on the Corner As Cars and Trucks Run Red Lights

And so the cycle of frustrated motorists clashing with each other as well as pedestrians and cyclists continue. How much longer must the Queensboro meat grinder churn?

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A DOT proposal that would extend protected bike lanes and add shared lane markings to First Avenue and 59th Street received a 13-1 supportive vote from Manhattan Community Board 6’s transportation committee last night, moving improved bike access at the Queensboro Bridge one step closer to reality after three committee meetings on the topic. The project will […]