Saturday, July 18, 2015

Lack of Cash Lanes Blamed for Rockaway Traffic Problems

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By Katie Honan | July 15, 2015 1:11pm 

 Rockaway traffic backs up over the Marine Parkway and Cross Bay bridges. 
Rockaway traffic backs up over the Marine Parkway and Cross Bay bridges. 
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan
BROAD CHANNEL — Local streets have been jammed with outgoing beach traffic this summer because the MTA doesn't staff enough cash lanes on bridges off the Rockaway peninsula, a local politician and a union president said. 
Traffic was backed up in Rockaway and Broad Channel the last two weekends, wreaking havoc through residential streets, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder said.
The jam could be avoided if drivers weren't cramming through only one cash lane on the Cross Bay and Marine Parkway bridges, he said. 
"It is unacceptable that MTA does not have the appropriate staff and toll booths in place to allow residents to cross without delay," he said.
The president of the Bridge and Tunnel Officers Benevolent Association, Wayne Joseph, said this year there were only four seasonal workers hired to staff the Cross Bay and Marine Parkway Bridges.
That's less than the usual number, which varies, he said. 
"[The MTA] makes that decision based on whatever they want to do," he said.
Drivers without an E-ZPass were backed up on the Cross Bay Bridge after the Fourth of July weekend, causing a blockage on the entire stretch and at least 10 blocks up from the approach to the bridge in Rockaway. 
But a spokeswoman for the MTA, Judie Glave, said the beachside gridlock was the fault of mother nature, not the agency.
"Traffic volume across the city was heavy, especially on routes to area beaches, due to this weekend’s sunny hot weather," she said.
While she didn't have an "hour to hour breakdown of the entire weekend" on staffing of cash lanes, she said the bridges generally have as many as three and as few as one cash lane.
It depends on traffic, staffing levels and shift changes, she said. 
"We do monitor traffic closely and the off-property traffic leading to and from the bridge, along with perfect summer beach weather, helped contribute to delays at Marine Parkway last weekend," she said, while encouraging drivers to get an E-ZPass.
Dan Mundy, Jr., the president of the Broad Channel Civic Association, said it causes a "major safety concern" for emergency vehicles in Rockaway and Broad Channel. 
He blamed the traffic on poor management by the MTA and said the bridge toll staffing should be re-evaluated as New Yorkers flock to the beach. 
"There is a simple solution to this problem and that is to staff additional cash lanes at this toll bridge,” he said.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, you can't blame the MTA for that. Who would have expected it to get hot and sunny in the summertime?