Breezy Point, Queens – Responding to broad community concerns over the installation of a controversial traffic light on an exit ramp to the Marine Parkway Bridge, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D – Breezy Point) is criticizing the city Department of Transportation’s handling of the project and renewing calls for the agency to reconsider its proposal.
“This traffic signal was never given the green light and was installed overnight with no community input and no real consideration of the potentially dangerous effects it could have on our families,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “For two years, we’ve asked the Department of Transportation to rethink their misguided plans for Beach 169th Street and they simply refuse to engage or respond to our concerns, and have instead made their decision based on ‘projections and assumptions’. Frankly, our families deserve better from the city agencies that are supposed to serve them.”
For over two years, community leaders have voiced their concerns with the traffic signal that DOT installed in 2014 at the westbound off-ramp at the Marine Parkway Bridge. Days following the secret overnight installation, Goldfeder arranged an emergency meeting with the Department of Transportation Borough Commissioner, engineers and community leaders to express serious safety concerns with the unwarranted traffic signal. Subsequently, Goldfeder’s office received numerous complaints from drivers and local residents about the light, which they say caused confusion at the intersection and increased the potential for accidents.
The traffic signals were later covered at Goldfeder’s urging by TBTA while they reconstructed the adjacent overpass, but DOT did not formally respond to the Assemblyman’s request that the light be removed entirely.
In November of 2015, TBTA engineers held an interagency meeting to present its plans for TBTA-owned sections of the roadway south of the Marine Parkway Bridge, and expressed willingness to consider community proposals for the traffic configuration with approval from DOT.
However, DOT representatives did not attend the briefing, despite multiple efforts by Assemblyman Goldfeder’s office to assure their involvement. Following the November meeting, the attendees urged DOT be present at subsequent gatherings before plans for the intersection were finalized.
At this most recent March meeting, DOT representatives presented plans for the intersection that included the dangerous light. One after another, community members voiced their displeasure with the proposal. According to at least one person present, the strongest comments came from Assemblyman Goldfeder himself.
“He came in and said what he had to say and all the engineers sank into their chairs. It was the hardest I’ve ever seen Phil go at anyone,” said Danny Ruscillo, Co-Chair of the Community Board 14 Transportation Committee. “For us, it was beautiful because we all felt the same way. DOT skipped out on our planning meetings and never gave us the chance to voice our opinions. They just showed up with diagrams and artists’ renderings and called it a done deal. You can do something on paper but that doesn’t mean that it will work in real life.”
“Our families deserve better than to have city engineers force their pet projects on Rockaway,” concluded Goldfeder. “I will continue to fight until this dangerous traffic light is removed once and for all.”
Breezy Point, Queens – Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (top left) had strong words for city Department of Transportation officials during a recent interagency briefing (pictured) on plans for a controversial traffic light on an exit ramp to the Marine Parkway Bridge.