The trucking industry received a hard-fought win in the beginning of 2018 that has unfortunately gone unutilized. Since the Triborough Bridge was completed larger trucks were not allowed on the Grand Central Parkway due to the low bridge clearance (12 feet) turning Astoria Boulevard into the designated truck route to the bridge, much to the chagrin of the community and of frustration to the industry. This changed back in December 2017 when New York State DOT wrapped up a project lowering the roadbed of the section of the parkway that is concurrent with I-278 giving that portion a 14-foot vertical clearance specifically to allow trucks to stay on the Grand Central through the BQE without having to get off on Astoria Boulevard.
All through traffic should now stay on I-278 and leave Astoria Boulevard clear for local deliveries. This will improve the flow of commerce throughout Astoria and make life easier for truckers who now have a much more direct route through the region. As we know, old habits die hard and truckers might understandably be skeptical of going on a parkway, especially with bridge strikesmaking the news recently. Also, they legitimately may not know about this change, which is likely as it was announced during the holiday season and easily fell through the cracks. City Councilman Costa Constantinides, who helped lead to fight for this change was the one who brought it to our attention, but he revealed that there are many trucks who are not taking advantage and continue to drive through Astoria Boulevard needlessly.
This new parkway routing is a safety and economic win for all involved and it is important that trucking companies take advantage of it. More so, as the industry seeks improvements in routing, parking, and length requirements in parts of the city these necessary changes will become easier to ask for if positive changes are being properly utilized. To reiterate, truckers driving through Astoria, Queens should stay on the Grand Central Parkway to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and stay off Astoria Boulevard.