Vehicular accident reduction focus of proposed Borough Hall meeting with MTA, Port Authority and New York State DOT
Borough President Vito Fossella announced today that he has written to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT) to request vehicular accident data for the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the Port Authority bridges, the Staten Island Expressway and the West Shore Expressway.
This correspondence follows the Borough President’s recent statement of concern about the high number of traffic accidents impacting these crossings and corridors, which he maintains creates a ripple effect on local roads, hurting the local economy and negatively affecting the quality of life of Staten Islanders.
Borough President Fossella stated in his letter that he will invite representatives of these agencies to Borough Hall to discuss this data, and to begin a dialogue on ways in which to raise public awareness and ultimately lessen accidents and injuries.
“Staten Islanders are forced to rely on our bridges and expressways to a vastly greater degree than other boroughs,” said Borough President Fossella. “Unlike those other boroughs, our lack of mass transit forces us to depend on roadways and bridges to connect us to things like jobs and family.
“This is why we are so concerned about the health impacts and the tremendous congestion caused by traffic accidents.”
“We've all observed how a single accident on the Verrazano Bridge can back up traffic all the way to the Goethals Bridge and around to the West Shore Expressway. Such an accident can cause tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles to wind up navigating narrow residential and local commercial corridors. This becomes a nightmare for Staten Island drivers,” he added.
According to the Borough President, data from law enforcement sources indicate a large percentage of accidents are caused by day-to-day things such as distracted driving and improper lane changes. He also cited road work as a likely contributor, forcing drivers into making awkward turns and lane changes. Speed limit enforcement is also an issue, and he maintained that all of these symptoms should be diagnosed with an aim toward implementing greater driver safety.
“We must try to calculate the impacts of all these idling vehicles: the delays that a parent experiences trying to get their child to school on time, or the anxiety felt by an adult child trying to get a senior-citizen parent to a doctor for treatment. There are more negative scenarios than we can list, and though Staten Island is not unique in grappling with this problem, it is here, on this island, that we must get a handle on it.”
“With this meeting, I hope to get our most experienced experts from these authorities focused on deeply examining potential solutions, and working with our community leaders on reducing the number of accidents and increasing public awareness about responsible driving. It is also important that we raise public awareness about the new NYPD policy allowing drivers to move to a safe portion of the roadway, to exchange information in the case of minor fender benders. That alone will go a long way towards decreasing traffic jams.”
Borough President Fossella asked the agencies to be prepared to provide the data by June. We encourage all drivers to stay alert on all roads ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Please keep eyes on the road and wear a seatbelt at all times for your protection.
BP Fossella initiates Apple, DOE partnership to provide advanced curriculum in schools across Staten Island
Borough President Vito J. Fossella is pleased to announce a public/private partnership with Apple and the New York City Department of Education that has piloted a training in various schools across Staten Island which he initiated along with District 31 Superintendent Dr. Marion Wilson and Mark F. Cannizzaro, President of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.
Early in January, BP Fossella and Mr. Cannizzaro sought to identify this particular coding and app design program as a way to incorporate Apple into our schools. The resources available within Apple’s portfolio were then suggested by Fossella and Cannizzaro to Superintendent Wilson which resulted in this partnership. This endeavor increases access to programs that will better prepare students for a technology-driven market found in both academic and career pathways. The training is primarily geared toward project based learning in coding and app design that will examine the role of strategic, intentional Apple technology in order to drive deeper learning.
The pilot, which began in January, is currently implemented in 10 schools across the borough including: P.S. 21; P.S. 29; I.S. 34; P.S. 56; P.S. 59; P.S. 60; The Eagle Academy for Young Men; Tottenville High School; McKee High School; and Staten Island Technical High School.
“We wanted to find a way to use the resources available through private businesses such as Apple to offer students diverse opportunities in the world of technology. Coding and app design programs are becoming a main aspect of employment in today’s workforce,” said Borough President Fossella. “With the curriculums the company has provided, we can better introduce interested Staten Island students to work that will translate to real-life experiences in this field. The translation of this program results in possible solutions to issues Staten Islanders face throughout the community. I want to thank Dr. Wilson and Mark for hopping on board with this idea, and we hope to extend the opportunities to more schools in the future. I also would like to thank Apple and the teachers for bringing our students an advanced level of education.”
“We are creating a generation of 21st century learners - preparing them for jobs that we are not even aware of yet. One of the great aspects about this curriculum is that it is not a one size fits all model, but can adapt from grades 3-K to 12,” said Superintendent Wilson. “By exposing coding and project-based learning to students, we can incorporate skills needed for both college and career pathways at an early age. We are thrilled to support this partnership that brings real life connections to students, and help keep teachers and staff current. I want to thank Borough President Fossella and Mark Cannizzaro for putting Staten Island’s students ahead of the curve in this digital age.”
“Partnerships with private businesses can enrich our students’ lives and provide them with high-quality learning opportunities that will impact them for years to come,” said CSA President Mark Cannizzaro. “We thank Borough President Fossella, Superintendent Wilson, and Apple for their efforts in developing this forward-looking program, and we applaud Principal Bonanno and the other Staten Island school leaders who have successfully implemented this meaningful learning.”
The pilot at P.S. 60 has engaged students of all ages to think about how they want to make a difference in their community. It has also opened up opportunities for teachers to introduce more complicated topics to their students, including financial literacy and civil rights issues.
“The biggest benefit of this program is the students’ impact on the community and helping them identify who their audience is for these projects,” said Donna Bonanno, Principal of P.S. 60. “This partnership with Apple gives us the ability to teach our students ways to apply skills in a collaborative manner toward issues that they see in their own communities. I want to thank Superintendent Wilson, Borough President Fossella, and Mr. Cannizzaro for initiating this partnership and giving our students an education that amplifies what’s already being done in each school across the borough.”
The coding curriculum provided by this partnership will provide teachers with access to two different programs. “Swift Playgrounds” is an app that teaches coding for kids through a world of interactive puzzles and playful characters geared to introduce coding language used by professional app developers. “Develop in Swift” is a comprehensive coding offering intended for students in grades 9 and above. The curriculum prepares students for college or a career in app development using the Swift programming language, and is complemented with free online professional learning for educators. As students move from this app to more advanced concepts, they’ll explore designing and building a fully functioning app on their own and can even earn AP credit or an industry-recognized certification.
Don’t Trash On Me” will encourage Staten Islanders to partake in cleanups, organize their own, report littered areas directly to Borough Hall
Borough President Vito J. Fossella launched his litter initiative, “Don’t Trash on Me,” today which brings collaborative attention and effort to the fight in keeping Staten Island clean by encouraging residents to join a cleanup, organize their own, or report locations to our office. This long-term campaign also invites city agencies to work together to improve the standards of excellence in the Staten Island community when it comes to litter.
In addition to this announcement, BP Fossella named staff members Tiffany Arguello and Zsakee Lewis as Borough Hall’s litter liaisons. Their role will be to help encourage Staten Islanders across the borough to report littered areas to our office so cleanups that will address these unkempt locations can be coordinated. “Don’t Trash On Me” will have a dedicated page on our website to offer residents a calendar of cleanups and a litter log of locations that have been cleaned.
“There are too many streets and neighborhoods across Staten Island that contain litter. We want to get those areas clean; street by street, if necessary,” said Borough President Fossella. “Our goal is to tackle this problem using any and all resources - both in the private and public sector. It’s time we stop those who consider our streets a garbage dump, and we can do this together. We ask our fellow Staten Islanders to report to our office what they see and how we can improve our borough. We have appointed two litter liaisons to handle and to coordinate with other partners to clean up our town. Now let’s get to work.”
A piece of this initiative includes the partnership between Borough President Fossella and the Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. Both offices will encourage groups to organize cleanups across the borough and reach out if they need a site to clean or need support with supplies including masks, garbage bags, and/or gloves.
"I am proud to join Borough President Fossella to continue the longstanding partnership between our offices to keep Staten Island clean and free of litter. It is obvious to anyone who travels around our borough that trash, graffiti, and overgrowth are a problem that confronts us all, and which leads to deteriorating conditions throughout our communities,” said DA McMahon. “While my office will continue to shame and hold accountable those who think the earth we share is their personal dumping ground, initiatives such as the BP’s “Don’t Trash on Me” litter campaign are crucial to keeping our streets clean year round and protecting our quality of life on Staten Island. My team and I look forward to joining forces once again with our partners in the community, law enforcement, and government to participate in cleanups all over Staten Island as we continue working together to keep our borough safe and clean."
Borough Fossella has also announced that he’ll be convening a litter summit with city agencies and local stakeholders who often have to deal with this recurring issue including small businesses, residential properties, catch basins, parks and many others.
“The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to support Borough President Vito Fossella on Don’t Trash On Me,” said Linda Baran, President & CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “We encourage all Staten Islanders, small businesses, and community groups to do their part in keeping litter off our streets. Keeping our neighborhoods clean helps sustain a vibrant, beautiful, and welcoming community we can all be proud of.”
Those who participate in cleanups are encouraged to post before and after photos on social media with the hashtag #DontTrashOnMe to be re-posted by both office’s social media accounts.
If you see an area that needs cleaning, please reach out to our litter liaisons or report it through the BP Assist App. Signing up is easy and can be done on our website here: https://www.statenislandusa.com/bpassist.html.
Tiffany Arguello at 718-816-2069 or TArguello@statenislandusa.com
Zsakee Lewis at 718-816-2147 or ZLewis@statenislandusa.com
Arthur Kill Road Improvement Project, initiated in 2015, is three years away from start of construction; Borough President Fossella and Councilmembers Borelli & Carr hold field meeting with DOT, DDC, DEP and Parks
BP requests accelerated timeline to relieve congestion, improve quality of life
Borough President Vito J. Fossella invited representatives from the four agencies involved in the Arthur Kill Road capital project to a site meeting with Councilman Joe Borelli and Councilman David Carr’s office to receive updates on the long-delayed road project and explore ways to efficiently accelerate the timetable. The capital project was initiated in 2015.
BP Fossella and Councilman Borelli, along with Councilman Carr’s chief of staff Giuseppe Deserio, met with DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley, DEP Assistant Commissioner Mario Bruno, Nicholas Barbaro from DEP Bureau of Water and Sewer Operations, DOT Borough Commissioner Roseann Caruana, and chief of staff Joseph Homsey from the Borough Parks office.
When completed, the Arthur Kill Road widening project will reduce traffic congestion along the corridor and create a safer road for motorists. It will also add a multi-use path for bicycles and pedestrians and improve access to Brookfield Park. DDC officials report that the design phase will continue through 2024 and construction is expected to begin in 2025. DDC also reports that the anticipated completion for the project will be in 2028.
“It is difficult to understand how a capital project along a 1.5 mile stretch of road can take 13 years to complete,” said Borough President Fossella. “We found that length of time unacceptable, and so we contacted the lead agency, the New York City Department of Design & Construction, to organize this field visit.”
BP Fossella asked for assurances that every step would be taken, where possible, to accelerate the project. He also requested consistent updates and continuous collaboration among the agencies.
“The DDC, DOT, DEP and Parks all agreed that the timeframe was manageable and that the various agencies would work together,” Fossella added. “My goal is to improve the quality of life for constituents and residents in the surrounding neighborhood. We’re going to work with the Adams administration and its agencies so that the project is completed safely and in a timely manner. There are several projects going on in other parts of Staten Island that are frustrating to commuters so let’s learn from those and get this project done as quickly as possible.”
This stretch of Arthur Kill Road has historically been an issue of traffic congestion because it is too narrow, without turning lanes and pedestrian walkways in many sections. It also has an impact on the merchants and stores in the area.
“Even in the best-case scenario, this project will have spanned the full terms of five Mid-Island and South Shore Council Members, three Minority Leaders, two Borough Presidents and two Mayors before it is complete,” said Councilmember Joseph Borelli. “When we talk about how broken the city’s capital development process is, this project is the poster child. Borough President Fossella is absolutely right to push these agencies to speed up this project, and to continue to hold them accountable to the taxpayers that continue to pay, in more ways than one, for its delays.”
“This is an incredibly important project for Staten Island,” said Councilmember David Carr. “Arthur Kill Road has long been a congested thoroughfare and expanding it to allow for left-turn queues and other improvements is critical.”
“I commend Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks for lifting the vaccine mandate for public school proms. This will allow students the opportunity to enjoy their once-in-a-lifetime prom festivities. We saw the impact of vaccine mandates over the past two and half years that drove so much of Staten Island’s catering hall and restaurant business to New Jersey – there’s no reason for that now.
As we publicly stated way back in March, our students have suffered long enough with Covid-19 restrictions severely limiting their academic and social experiences. We are pleased to see the vaccine mandate lifted for proms. We wish all our seniors a great time enjoying this milestone event in their lives. I also want to thank Councilmember Carr and Councilmember Borelli for keeping the pressure on regarding this matter.”
Funding will allow expansion of quality care and treatments for SI newborns, children
Borough President Vito J. Fossella announced this evening the allocation of $2 million to Richmond University Medical Center for the expansion of the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units which focus on the treatment of the most vulnerable newborns and children.
The existing Neonatal Intensive care Unit (NICU) will be renovated to accommodate 25 infants and maximize the quantity of private rooms by incorporating bays and cubicles to meet the adequate number of infant stations. Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) will also expand the Pediatric Intensive care Unit (PICU) to accommodate current space requirements for 3 cribs.
“We are pleased to allocate funding to Richmond University Medical Center as they have been crucial in saving the lives of so many babies throughout the years. These two units at RUMC are highly regarded for their care of newborns and children, and it is an honor to support them for this work,” said Borough President Fossella. “Families across Staten Island and beyond will be able to access more available resources at RUMC with the knowledge and relief of receiving quality care. This funding will also allow their great team to continue to save and treat newborns with a space that’s better for parent-baby bonding and overall satisfaction. This allocation underscores the standard of excellence and quality of care we know exists in our borough.”
“On behalf of our board of trustees and everyone throughout our organization, a tremendous thank you to Borough President Fossella for his support of our hospital, and especially our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,” said Richmond University Medical Center President and Chief Executive Officer, Daniel J. Messina, PhD, FACHE. “His support will benefit the many newborns and their families that require the advanced, specialized care provided by our experienced physicians, nurses, and medical professionals in our Level III NICU. Our NICU, which specializes in the care of high-risk newborns, some weighing only one pound when born, has a survival rate that stands at over 99%, one of the highest survival rates in the country. For over five decades, more than 30,000 newborns have received care in our NICU, which features state of the art technology and provides leading medically proven effective treatments to care for our youngest patients. Borough President Fossella’s commitment to RUMC is also a commitment to ensuring Staten Island families have continued access to the highest quality medical care available without having to leave Staten Island.”
“Thank you to the Borough President for his generous support of RUMC and our NICU,” said Santosh Parab, MD, Director of RUMC’s NICU. “With his help we will be able to further upgrade our unit, greatly enhancing the care we provide so families can continue to see RUMC as Staten Island’s best source of critical care for their newborns. We are honored that so many families have entrusted their children’s care to us. By taking care of us and our hospital, the borough president is also taking care of families across Staten Island.”
The scope of work for the expansion will include: