Friday, July 17, 2015

Goldfeder Rips MTA for Broad Channel ‘Traffic Nightmare’



Assemblyman Goldfeder this week sent a letter to the MTA about recent traffic woes at the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge.

An area elected official this week blasted the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for reported hour-plus delays last Sunday at the Broad Channel approach to the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge due to traffic jams at the span’s sole cash toll booth.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) said that he and his staff fielded “numerous complaints” at his office and on his official Facebook page about “gridlock along Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel.”
On Monday, Goldfeder sent a “strongly-worded letter” to MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast about the “weekend traffic nightmare,” calling on the agency to open additional cash toll collection booths at the bridge during the busy summer beach season to accommodate the influx of visitors.
“Every day, tens of thousands of local families and visitors from across the city depend on the Cross Bay Bridge to get to work and, during the summer months, enjoy the beach,” Goldfeder said. “It is unacceptable that MTA does not have the appropriate staff and toll booths in place to allow residents to cross without delay.”
In his letter, Goldfeder also asked that the MTA work with the city Police Department to enforce applicable traffic regulations at the bridge, citing reports of motorists crossing yellow lines and driving on sidewalk curbs to bypass the traffic. He encouraged the MTA to collaborate with the city Office of Emergency Management to ensure smooth operation at the toll booths in preparation for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season.
“In general, traffic volume across the city was heavy (on Sunday), especially on routes to area beaches due to this weekend’s sunny hot weather,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels spokeswoman Judie Glave. “Specifically, there was extremely heavy traffic on the Belt Parkway, on Flatbush Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard, which are the main off-property approaches to and from the Marine Parkway and Cross Bay bridges. We make every effort to staff our toll plazas according to need. We encourage customers to get E-ZPass, which will save them money and time otherwise spent during a cash toll transaction.”
According to a source, the E-ZPass share at Cross Bay Bridge during the height of volume on Saturday was 73 percent. On any given weekend, the agency can have as many as three or as few as one cash lane open depending upon multiple factors, including traffic volume, staffing levels, and shift changes.
However, it appears that off-property traffic leading to and from the span, coupled with perfect beach weather, contributed to the heavy volume last weekend, the source said.

By Michael V. Cusenza
michael@theforumnewsgroup.com

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