Ozone Park, Queens – Citing danger to motorists along a busy highway near JFK International Airport, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D – Ozone Park) is calling on the city to combat roadside standing and stopping by for-hire vehicles. In a letter to the city Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), Goldfeder is urging the agency’s inspection unit to step up enforcement of the long-standing and dangerous practice.
“The Nassau Expressway is one of the busiest roadways in our community,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “Drivers should not have to contend with parked cars pulling into 50-mile-an-hour oncoming traffic. I urge the TLC to take the necessary steps to put an end to this dangerous practice before someone gets seriously injured.”
In a letter to TLC Chair Meera Joshi, Assemblyman Goldfeder requested increased enforcement of stopping and standing by TLC-licensed vehicles along a stretch of the eastbound Nassau Expressway between Howard Beach and JFK Airport, a section which serves as a major thoroughfare for drivers merging from the Belt Parkway to the Van Wyck Expressway. According to Goldfeder, motorists report vehicles abruptly pulling into and out of oncoming traffic, endangering drivers. The Assemblyman noted in his letter that the practice has been the subject of multiple enforcement efforts by the local NYPD Precinct and Highway Patrol in recent years, but that it continues unabated.
According to the state Department of Transportation, more than 49,000 vehicles on average travel each day along the stretch of roadway in question. The area also borders JFK Airport to the south, which leads many to conclude that the vehicles are using the roadway shoulder to wait for fares arriving at airport terminals. For local community leaders, the practice is an accident waiting to happen.
“Members of our civic often complain of drivers zooming out into traffic when they get the call from a fare,” said Barbara McNamara, Vice President of the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic. “In his short time as Commander of the 106th Precinct, Captain Fey has done a tremendous job in responding to this problem and making the Expressway safer for motorists. The enforcement we’ve seen from the Highway Patrol in recent days has been a direct result of Captain Fey listening to the civic and Assemblyman Goldfeder’s office, and responding to our concerns. Now the Taxi and Limousine Commission needs to follow the precinct’s lead and step up efforts to police its members.”
These safety concerns coincide with multiple efforts by Assemblyman Goldfeder to improve quality of life for neighborhoods surrounding the airport. In recent months, Goldfeder has partnered with the larger airport community to discourage parking by employees on residential streets near the Air Train in Howard Beach and Ozone Park. In February, the Assemblyman wrote to the FAA to strengthen airplane noise restrictions to protect families that have long suffered from the roar of planes overhead. For Goldfeder, it’s a matter of taking steps to address families’ concerns while recognizing the airport’s role a major transit hub and employer for local families.
“JFK airport may not be going anywhere, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take common sense steps to improve our families’ quality of life,” concluded Goldfeder.