Assemblymember Aravella Simotas Calls on the MTA to Remove its Massive Illuminated Billboard on the Astoria Blvd Elevated Station

Simotas calls the sign illegal and a dangerous distraction to drivers
February 22, 2018

The perennial campaign to keep Astoria’s streets safe got another boost from Assemblymember Aravella Simotas who is calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to remove the giant, flashing billboard it has mounted on the Astoria Boulevard elevated subway station. She called the billboard a dangerous distraction for drivers and said it’s so big that it violates the zoning law that forbids illuminated billboards over 500 square feet in that area. The MTA’s billboard is nearly 700 Square feet.

In a February 21 letter to NYC Transit President Andy Byford, Simotas noted that the location of the billboard, facing intersection of 32nd Street, Astoria Blvd and the Grand Central Parkway exit ramp is “the site with the highest incidence of traffic accidents in our area, according to the 114 Precinct. The MTA’s removal of this glaring distraction would go a long way to mitigate this major safety hazard.”

The billboard hangs in bright, gargantuan view of drivers negotiating seven lanes of heavy traffic that converge and turn every which way.

“I know this generates revenue for the MTA but if the price is safety than they need to go back to the drawing board and remove the billboard,” Assemblymember Aravella Simotas said.

In a separate February 21 letter to Rick D. Chandler, Commissioner NYC Department of Buildings, Simotas asked that he investigate the zoning violation from the MTA’s illuminated billboard that is over 500 square feet and that he remove the billboard as soon as possible.