But I’m not writing today to discuss Halloween festivities; I mentioned it only because the operative word in the first sentence is “safe.” While we provide a safe environment inside the park for families, the situation along the service road is anything but. With its notorious lack of sidewalks it is downright dangerous - and it shouldn’t be that way.
Former NFL coach Bill Parcells once said, “You are what you record says you are.” That is nowhere more true than it is in government, where agencies can be – and should be - judged by a simple criterion: are they doing what is right for the taxpayers. In the case of Bloomingdale Park sidewalks, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) announced in late September that it would be installing the sidewalks on the service road between Bloomingdale Road and Lenevar Avenue.
Finally! And let me be clear: NYSDOT is not usually in the sidewalk building business; their usual focus is on highways, like the Staten Island Expressway and the West Shore Expressway.
So NYSDOT has a winning record when it comes to sidewalks at Bloomingdale Park. City agencies? Not so much.
The fact is that after many years of frustration due to the inaction and lack of any sense of urgency by city government, earlier this year I turned to the NYSDOT for help. To their credit, Governor Cuomo and NYSDOT Commissioner stepped up to the plate and responded in a big way. The new sidewalks will vastly improve safety for those who use Bloomingdale Park.
Isn’t it amazing that city government built a park, a park that was a huge hit in the community, but a park that was, due to a lack of sidewalks, downright dangerous for those coming from the direction of the service road? How can the job have ever been considered finished while this unsafe condition continued unabated and unaddressed?
I can’t help but wonder, as well, why NYSDOT had to be the agency to swoop in to help, when city agencies have been aware of this problem for so many years and basically ignored numerous pleas from local elected officials.
Here is the scorecard on this issue:
New York State DOT: Got the job done!
City agencies: Would not. Could not. Did not.
Thank you, NYSDOT, for hearing our pleas. When completed, your work will make this park safer for all those Staten Islander who utilize it each and every day.