Dec. 25, 2013 By Christian Murray
The city will be prohibiting nighttime traffic on the Queens-bound lane on the 59th Street Bridge—following the death of an off-duty police office who died while exiting the lane about two weeks ago.
The Department of Transportation announced that the single lane of the Queens-bound outer roadway of the bridge will be closed from 9 p.m. through 6 a.m. each day, reducing the potential for speeding and other unsafe nighttime driving when the lane is underused.
The nighttime closures will go into effect on Monday, December 30.
The DOT said the decision to close the lane at night follows a review of existing safety measures, traffic volumes and travel speeds.
The review came shortly after the death of Elisa Toro, an off-duty police officer who lost control of her Ford Focus while driving off the exit ramp.
Her car bounced off a guard rail, struck a cement jersey barrier, then flipped over and went through a storefront. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
“I applaud the DOT for finally giving this dangerous stretch of road the attention it deserves,” said State Sen. Mike Gianaris. “Hopefully, the nighttime closure of the Queens-bound outer roadway will provide the time for a proper evaluation of the street design.”
Politicians have been calling for the redesign of the exit for years.
In 2011, an alleged drunk driver killed a pedestrian while getting off at that exit ramp. About two weeks later, another driver lost control and was killed while getting off the exit.
I only used this lane for the first time earlier this week and it helped me understand this article. While it is a little disconcerting to drive so close to the edge of the bridge, it is not hazardous. Coming off the bridge, the lane is well-marked with plenty of speed limit signs and caution signs, and there is nothing inherently dangerous about the lane. I don’t know how any driver who is driving at a reasonable speed, sober, and not distracted can have such a major accident on this road.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I think the speed limit is 25mph. The pictures and descriptions of the crash suggest a much higher speed crash.
I agree with all of you.How could she have flipped the car at this exit? Unless she was speeding or something.I’ve used this outer roadway for the past 15 years no problem.It’s going to be nightmare for drivers now.
I AGREE WITH CRACKER JACK, I USE THAT RAMP ALL THE TIME. The first paragraph should have included what was known about the death of the police officer. She was partially ejected and sustained massive head injuries. The previous two accidents resulting in serious injuries or death had speed and impaired drivers. Responsible drivers are being made to lose an access because it is an easy photo opp. for politicians who don’t have to do any heavy lifting.
The problem isn’t the exit ramp, it is people who drive unsafely. Anyone who is driving properly, not drunk, and not speeding won’t have a problem here. Unsafe driving is what has caused these accidents. The outer roadway is my preferred way to cross the bridge and it sucks that people who can drive properly will force me to sit in traffic. Losing control of your car because weather is inclement is one thing, losing control of your car because you can’t drive at a safe speed is another.
It’s the lower level.
“The city will be prohibiting nighttime traffic on the Queens-bound lane on the 59th Street Bridge”
Which Queens-bound lane? Considering there are two levels to this bridge, this is ambiguous. And this story has been driving me nuts for its continued lack of facts.
Did the cop drive off of the upper level exit ramp or did she somehow do so on the lower level? When the story broke I naturally assumed it was the upper level. But the articles never specify, and the same picture keeps appearing, which is clearly the lower level.
So, for the love of good journalism, please fill-in the missing facts. Perhaps it’s just me, but I cannot understand how the lower level exit lanes are so dangerous. On the other hand, the upper level’s perils are obvious.
Thanks LIC Post