Tucked away on the west side of the small town of Broad Channel in the middle of Jamiaca Bay is a narrow, dead end, street that goes by the name of West 12th Road. Those of us who live there know that the nice part about living in a small town is that when you are not quite sure what is going on, someone else always does!
[Peter J. Mahon West 12th Road, Broad Channel]
Rockaway traffic backs up over the Marine Parkway and Cross Bay bridges. View Full Caption
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.
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.