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.
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.
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