Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Goldfeder Leads New Queens Transportation Commissioner on Community Walkthrough

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder

Newly-appointed Department of Transportation Commissioner Nicole Garcia joins Assemblyman Goldfeder on walkthrough to tour roads and transit infrastructure in southern Queens and Rockaway

Stops on tour included 104th Street in Hamilton Beach, Lindenwood traffic triangle at 88thStreet & 153rd Avenue, Cohancy Street and North Conduit in Ozone Park, and 1st to 5thRoads in Broad Channel

Visit follows Goldfeder’s welcome letter to Garcia requesting tour, pledging close cooperation and communication on issues of transportation infrastructure in Sandy-damaged neighborhoods

Howard Beach, Queens – Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D – Howard Beach) joined newly-appointed Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia on a walkthrough late Friday of locations throughout southern Queens and Rockaway. The visit, which Goldfeder requested in a recent letter, was an opportunity to highlight some of the areas of concern to local families and urge repairs to infrastructure still damaged from Superstorm Sandy.

“Our families deserve to have the safe, reliable transportation infrastructure they need to move around the community each day,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “We have made tremendous progress after Sandy in repairing damaged infrastructure, however there is still work left to do. That’s why it’s so important that our city agencies be made aware of any issues with our roadways so that the necessary repairs and changes can be made. I want to thank Commissioner Garcia for taking time out of her busy schedule to see first-hand how we can improve roadways and infrastructure for families in southern Queens and Rockaway.” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder.

"Improving safety and the state-of-good repair of our streets is the core of DOT's mission and I thank the Assembly Member for highlighting opportunities throughout his district where we can work together to deliver both," said Nicole Garcia, DOT Queens Borough Commissioner. “From resurfacing to pedestrian safety studies and more, DOT is committed to building on its past and present work in Lindenwood, Ozone Park, Hamilton Beach and Broad Channel to make streets safer and work better for local residents," said DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia.

The tour included a stop along Cohancy Street in Ozone Park to review current parking availability and discuss DOT's plan to convert the one-way residential street into a two-way road with bike lanes. According to correspondence with the Assemblyman's office, residents and the local Ozone Park Civic Association have expressed concern over the loss of parking spaces under the proposal, citing the already heavy car volume from commuters parking on the street to access the nearby Aqueduct-N Conduit A Train station. Residents have also requested beautification efforts to improve cracked sidewalks and roadway in the vicinity of the station.

In Hamilton Beach, the tour focused primarily on the plan to repave 104th Street with federal funding from Superstorm Sandy recovery aid. Residents have long complained of large potholes and cracks along the main street in the neighborhood, a situation made worse by Sandy. According to reports, DOT plans to begin resurfacing work on the street this fall. New Hamilton Beach Civic Association President Roger Gendron showed Garcia the roadway conditions, emphasizing the importance of 104th street the only road out of the neighborhood for residents and first responders from the local West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department.

In Lindenwood, Goldfeder brought the Borough Commissoner to the traffic triangle at 153rd Avenue and 88th street. There they were joined by Joann Ariola, President of the Howard Beach - Lindenwood Civic. As Goldfeder explained to Garcia, the configuration of the triangle has long caused confusion among motorists and is a frequent issue for residents that Goldfeder has addressed with the Commissioner's predecessors. In winter, the unusual positions of the crosswalks at the triangle prevent Sanitation Department plows from properly clearing paths for pedestrians, Goldfeder noted. The Assemblyman also took the opportunity to praise Garcia for agreeing to repair potholes and direct DOT to study possible resurfacing work along 153rd Avenue.

On their final stop, Goldfeder and Broad Channel Athletic Club Financial Secretary Leo Chavanne led the Commissioner on a walk along Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel to inspect heavily damaged sections of sidewalk and roadway between 1st and 5th roads. In 2014, Goldfeder and the Broad Channel Civic Association had secured an agreement from Garcia's predecessor at DOT to include the stretch of the boulevard in federally-funded Sandy repairs to roads and sidewalks in the community. Also discussed was the proposed removal of the 5th Road Q52/Q53 bus stop to make way for DOT's new Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards Select Bus Service program. Goldfeder has expressed his opposition to the plan, noting the stop's proximity to the BCAC fields and the local American Legion Hall. In conversations with the Assemblyman's office, DOT has said they are currently investigating both concerns.

"I want to thank Commissioner Garcia as well as Borough Planner Craig Chin for taking time from their busy schedule to see first-hand what the residents of Hamilton Beach, and those who visit, have to deal with regarding the conditions of 104th Street. After past empty promises about repairing the roadway, I truly feel that this time the long delayed work will finally be completed. Commissioner Garcia is also looking into missing signage for some of our blocks. Thank you to Assemblyman Goldfeder for arranging this walkthrough," said Roger Gendron, President of the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association.

“The Broad Channel community is very pleased that DOT Commissioner Garcia took time out of her busy schedule to come walk through Broad Channel and survey the area between 1st and 5th roads which was severely damaged after Hurricane Sandy and in dire need of repairs,” said Leo Chavanne,  Financial Secretary of the Broad Channel Athletic Club.

“Seeing the problem first hand, is something the Civic considers vital when it comes to understanding the unique traffic trouble spots throughout the Howard Beach-Lindenwood community,” said Joann Ariola, President of the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic. “The fact that our Assembly Member agrees in that philosophy and brought DOT Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia into the community to witness the traffic nightmares our residents have endured makes us much more confident that we will have a resolve.”

The Assemblyman is currently working with DOT to address multiple concerns on the Rockaway Peninsula. In May, Garcia and various DOT officials joined Goldfeder on a walkthrough of Far Rockaway to inspect intersections along Beach 17th Street and Plainview Avenue where local residents have requested increased pedestrian measures. Next week, Goldfeder will again host the Commissioner for a tour of Beach 94th Street at Beach Channel Drive with local community leaders and business owners to address concerns over DOT's planned reconfiguration of the street.

Last month, Goldfeder wrote to Commissioner Garcia to congratulate her on her appointment to head DOT's Queens operations. In his letter, the Assemblyman praised Garcia's work in her previous position as Deputy Commissioner and pledged close cooperation and communication on the transportation issues affecting communities in southern Queens and Rockaway. The letter also included the request for a walkthrough that prompted Friday's visit.

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