After Assemblymen Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) and Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing) called on the MTA to address the traffic mess caused by construction at northeast Queens’ two bridges to the Bronx, they seem to have gotten some results. The staging areas for cashless tolling on the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges take up space that cars normally use; traffic has resulted from congestion at the merging points. Drivers in the areas have been frustrated because of the traffic, which has caused major backups on the Whitestone Expressway.
To mitigate the traffic issues, MTA Bridges and Tunnels has tapered in the closed construction zone for the open road tolling on the Whitestone Bridge’s southbound side. According to a Braunstein staffer, the transportation agency reopened a northbound lane on the Throgs Neck bridge in late May. And for cars going south on the bridge, the agency is modifying a toll lane to make it flexible to, as need changes, be easily switched between cash toll collection and E-ZPass.
During peak hours, the MTA is now operating all toll booths at the Whitestone Bridge. And to better distribute traffic among the booths on it, according to Braunstein chief of staff David Fischer, the agency has channelized the bridge’s toll plaza.
At the Throgs Neck bridge, the transportation agency has reopened the center toll lane and is allowing it to “flip” for northbound and southbound cars in response to traffic in each direction. And because the work zone has been tapered, another toll lane for drivers paying in cash has been opened.
In the fall, both bridges’ tolling will be completely cashless.
Source: Queens Chronicle