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.