2014-05-09 / Top Stories

Goldfeder Urges DOT to Update Evacuation Routes

In the event of an emergency evacuation, residents should be confident that local roadways can handle such a situation. To do that, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder has urged the Department of Transportation to take action to ensure designated evacuation routes and signage are updated and maintained regularly.

Goldfeder sent a letter to NYS Commissioner of Transportation Joan McDonald, and NYC Commissioner of Transportation Polly Trottenberg, asking them to urge their respective agencies to take appropriate action.

Goldfeder noted that in addition to having outdated signage, southern Queens and Rockaway neighborhoods are geographically isolated and have limited arteries that serve as evacuation routes, including the Nassau Expressway, Beach Channel Drive and Cross Bay Boulevard. He pointed out that these roads already become busy and congested during peak travel hours and cannot support the heavy flow of traffic, so changes need to be implemented before another emergency occurs.

“We have made tremendous progress in our Sandy recovery, however we must not overlook the most basic necessity, which is our ability to evacuate our families quickly and safely,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “We cannot wait for another Sandy disaster to address roadway infrastructure and outdated signage.”

Currently many of the evacuation signs across southern Queens and Rockaway direct residents to Aqueduct Racetrack, however, during the last major state emergency, Hurricane Sandy, residents were required to evacuate to John Adams High School in Ozone Park. The lack of updated and clear signage marking evacuation routes and partially crumbling and cracked roadways has prompted many safety concerns for residents in the area, Goldfeder noted.

Additionally, the Department of Transportation recently announced scheduled roadwork repairs along the Nassau Expressway—a primary evacuation route for nearly hundreds of thousands of residents—will be postponed until potentially 2025.

“We need to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to emergency preparedness,” Goldfeder said. “I strongly urge the city and state DOT to take immediate action and update all evacuation routes signs and ensure roadways are properly maintained and cleared for thousands of our families in the event of an emergency.”

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