Calls for additional analysis of bridges and expressways’ accident data
Borough President Vito Fossella today expressed deep concern over the number of traffic accidents on Staten Island’s expressways, the Verrazano Bridge, and the Port Authority crossings after reviewing the publicly available data from the Metropolitan Transit Authority (Bridges & Tunnels).
He has asked the MTA, the Port Authority, and the State Department of Transportation to provide him with accident data and safety and enforcement information that would shed light on why the accidents are occurring and how the agencies can collaborate on reducing accidents and raising public awareness.
“The data shows that the Verrazano Bridge has the highest number of collisions, and more importantly, collisions with injuries of any bridge or tunnel in the MTA system. That prompted us to reach out to the Port Authority which governs the NJ to SI crossings, and the state DOT which regulates traffic on the interstate highways, which includes the Staten Island Expressway and West Shore Expressway. This will allow us to look at the totality of the accident rates on our bridges and expressways,” said Borough President Fossella. “We look forward to reviewing the data that’s provided to us in more detail so we can come together again with these agencies to determine plausible solutions.”
According to the public data from 2021, 197,000 cars drove over the Verrazano Bridge each day which resulted in 423 accidents for the year. Almost half of those accidents occurred because drivers were following too close. Ten percent of accidents were caused by an unsafe lane change, and 8% of accidents happened because of improper passing.
“We as Staten Islanders experience many times over the frustration of sitting in traffic on our expressways or bridges due to vehicular accidents,” Fossella added. “These accidents range from severe crashes with tragic loss of life to minor fender-benders. However, all result in a ripple effect of delays and congestion throughout the Island whenever an accident occurs. Typically, motorists will try to find alternative routes which clog our neighborhood streets. So, the impact often is not limited to the bridges or expressways – it is felt throughout many neighborhoods and many lives.”
BP Fossella adds that Staten Islanders rely greatly on the efficiency and safety of our bridges and expressways. It is vital that we obtain a better understanding of safety on these transportation corridors, which carry millions of vehicles per year. Our office looks forward to better understanding the data and then work urgently to decrease the number of accidents.
Construction on Hylan Boulevard in Midland Beach expected to be completed this summer
Borough President Vito J. Fossella joined New York City Department of Design and Construction Commissioner (DDC) Tom Foley recently to view the progress of the infrastructure improvements on Hylan Boulevard, which rounds out the latest phase of the New Creek Bluebelt project.
The construction phase of the project affecting Hylan Boulevard and adjacent areas is anticipated to be completed this summer, according to the DDC.
“We are pleased to know that construction on Hylan Boulevard will be coming to an end this summer. This work is important to the surrounding neighborhoods because it updates aging infrastructure, while providing a drainage system that will help mitigate flooding during heavy storms,” said Borough President Fossella. “I want to thank the DDC and DEP for their efforts to get this project done. I asked them to work with local businesses throughout the ongoing project to ensure any potential issues are resolved, particularly with customer access to the several businesses in the area."
“As construction continues on Hylan Boulevard, we look forward to learning from these experiences as the DDC and DEP plan ahead for additional Bluebelt phases going forward,” Fossella added.
The Bluebelt approach was pioneered by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Bluebelts help control neighborhood flooding by directing stormwater away from homes and into a network of ponds and creeks. The New Creek Bluebelt will convey stormwater (from higher inland communities) down under Richmond Road and Hylan Boulevard and ultimately out-to-sea. DEP and DDC are upgrading the sewer system under Hylan Boulevard, which resulted in heavy construction work between Jefferson and Seaver Avenues. Large detention ponds on either side of Hylan Boulevard will hold stormwater and gradually release it into streams and culverts, mitigating the flooding that often affected nearby homes and streets. New storm sewers have also been installed by DEP and DDC.
The New Creek Bluebelt drains a watershed area covering approximately 2,249 acres. When completed, this Bluebelt will preserve large tracts of wetlands with new pond ecosystems that not only beautify the area but also help protect neighborhoods from flooding after heavy rains. Over the last 25 years, DEP has built more than 70 Bluebelts across Staten Island with additional sites currently in construction and design. These are fine examples of combining human and natural engineering to address our stormwater challenges.
BP Fossella Calls Increases Alarming, Encourages Citizens to be Alert
Staten Island Borough President Vito J. Fossella cited data released through CompStat, the NYPD’s crime statistic reporting system, which revealed that in more than half of the seven major crime categories, Staten Island has seen substantial increases.
Overall, crime in the borough increased by more than 40%. When comparing our borough’s year-to-date numbers, robbery is up by more than 56% when compared to 2021, while grand larceny has increased by almost 46% and felony assault by 33%. CompStat is a weekly-released collection of crime statistics reported on a city-wide, borough-wide, and precinct-by-precinct basis. These are then broken down into weekly, monthly and year-to-date percentages.
“This is alarming,” said Borough President Fossella, after the latest statistics were released on April 17th. “Look at these numbers – they reflect years of state bail reform which makes it easier for criminals to get out of jail, while making it more difficult for our police to do their jobs. We are also seeing an increasing boldness by criminals who feel there are no consequences for their lawless actions.”
“We will continue to work closely with Staten Island DA Michael McMahon, the NYPD, and our colleagues in government to address this spike in crime, but we also want to alert the community that the soft-on-crime approach of recent past years has failed. That’s why we continue to urge support for the NYPD and for criminal justice measures that actually protect the public.”
“And here’s something incredible,” Fossella added. “Grand Larceny Auto – stolen cars – is up 100% to date when compared to the same time period in 2021. This is not only the result of more criminals remaining on the streets, but people taking unnecessary risks with their cars.”
Local law enforcement encourages certain preventive measures including not leaving your car running while you go into a store, always locking your vehicle, and to avoid leaving your keys in the car, among others.
“While my office and the NYPD work tirelessly to make our communities safer by holding offenders accountable, we remain troubled by the rise we have seen in certain crime categories, especially Grand Larceny, Grand Larceny Auto, Robbery, and Felony Assault,” said DA McMahon.
“We know many grand larceny cases are the result of scammers preying on innocent and unsuspecting victims, and we encourage all Staten Islanders to help us prevent these crimes by remaining vigilant and always reporting potential scams to my office and the police. At the same time, with domestic violence accounting for nearly 56 percent of felony assaults on Staten Island, we also encourage victims of these serious crimes to contact my office, the NYPD, and the Family Justice Center to access resources and to help us hold their abusers accountable. To address the immense rise in car thefts, my office also continues to advocate for new license plate reader technology to be brought to Staten Island to catch the crews coming to our borough from other areas and put these criminals behind bars. We also strongly encourage Staten Islanders to take simple yet effective preventative measures by always remembering to lock their cars and never leaving their vehicle unattended with the keys still in the ignition.
Any amount of crime is too much, but my office and the NYPD have also been successful in driving down gun violence on Staten Island, even as it still plagues many other parts of our City. Shootings in our borough are down, and gun arrests and prosecutions are up for the year. Criminals know the incredibly serious consequences they face for carrying or using a firearm on Staten Island, and we will not relent in our mission to prevent violence and other serious crimes from occurring on our streets. I will continue to partner with Borough President Fossella and all our partners to maintain Staten Island as a safe place for all.”
April 17, 2022 CompStat Report Highlights
CompStat data is measured by seven index crimes: murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny auto. All increases are year-to-date 2021 vs. 2022.
· Overall crime is up 42%
· Grand Larcenies are up 85%
· Felony assaults are up 40%
· Robberies are up 40%
· Overall crime is up 61%
· Grand Larceny Auto is up 118%
· Grand Larceny is up 75%
· Felony assaults are up 83%
122nd Precinct (smallest overall increase in crime on Staten Island)
· Overall crime is up 4.5%
· Grand Larceny Auto is up 119%
· Robberies are up 137%
· Burglaries are up 23%
· Overall crime is up 70%
· Grand Larceny Auto is up 312%
· Felony assault is up 33%
· Grand Larceny is 67%
Statement from Borough President Vito J. Fossella on the new Staten Island Emergency Coordination Center
We are pleased to announce that a location has been selected on Staten Island to be the site of a New York City Emergency Management coordination center, one that will best serve the Staten Island community and the operations of NYCEM in our borough.
This new location checks all the boxes. It is close to the Staten Island Expressway and is not located in an evacuation zone. The physical space is also large enough to accommodate multiple NYCEM personnel and includes a multi-use room, equipment, and additional resources.
We have worked with NYCEM over the last couple of months to identify a suitable location. Early January after taking office, one of the first things we did was we visited the NYCEM command center in Brooklyn, and we identified that a new site would be a top priority for our borough.
In times of emergency and throughout the year, Staten Island relies on NYCEM for its expertise in emergency response, preparedness, and public awareness on safety.
A centralized location for our Staten Island NYCEM coordination center is crucial for our borough emergency management. As we’ve seen during intense storms, flooding events and power outages, Staten Island depends on the coordination that NYCEM brings in multi-day efforts to protect lives and property, and provide resources for our residents.
We know more storms and emergencies will come. We must expect the unexpected and prepare for it. Our office commends NYCEM for their diligence, and we thank the Department of Education for its partnership. We look forward to an official announcement with more details soon.
There continues to be a push from all levels of government to fight to keep the Department of Veteran Affairs clinics in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island open to serve our Veterans.
I want to commend Senator Chuck Schumer for recently releasing an advocacy plan, and using his resources to bring this fight to the White House. Along with the efforts of Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis and the opposition from Mayor Eric Adams, we are hopeful that the VA will reconsider its recommendations to close the clinics which will in turn limit access to care for not only Staten Island Veterans, but those living in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
We owe all of our freedom to our Veterans. We cannot give up this fight to provide proper and accessible care to them and their families. Let’s continue to work with our partners in government to find a solution.
Statement from Borough President Vito J. Fossella on Mask Mandates for Toddlers Overturned by Staten Island Judge
This is overdue but welcome news for young families.
We believe it’s time to move on from these mask mandates and that is certainly true for these young children. My hope is that the city does not appeal the judge's decision.
The court has ruled that this mask mandate is unconstitutional. Let it be.