New York State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and Nassau County Legislator Howard Kopel combined their efforts and hosted a rally on Sunday to pressure the NYS Department of Transportation to invest in our community and build the planned bypass to Rockaway Turnpike in the Five Towns and Rockaways to help alleviate massive traffic congestion and ensure that the road will work properly as a coastal evacuation route. The traffic congestion on Rockaway Turnpike (a.k.a. Route 878 and Rockaway Boulevard) has been the subject of NYS traffic studies since the 1960s, yet no work has been done.
“We urge Governor Cuomo to fund the immediate construction of the entire length of this road as originally planned. This is demonstrably the only way to alleviate the continual intolerable and dangerous traffic congestion and delays on Rockaway Turnpike,” said Legislator Kopel. “More importantly, Rockaway Turnpike now serves as the only major coastal evacuation route for hundreds of thousands of people. It could never bear the traffic burden if a full evacuation is called,” stated Kopel.
“In Far Rockaway, we have had two full evacuations in three years, both on short notice,” said Assemblyman Goldfeder. “These roadways can’t handle rush-hour traffic, let alone a massive evacuation. Waiting for another disaster like Superstorm Sandy to address our vital roadway infrastructure needs will only make the repairs more expensive and potentially put our families at risk during future emergencies.”
In addition to Kopel and Goldfeder, over 100 residents joined the elected officials, which also included NYC Councilman Donovan Richards, Nassau County Legislators Carrie Solages and Fran Becker, Cedarhurst Mayor Andrew Parise, and a representative of Legislator Denise Ford. Also speaking out were representatives for Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corp, the Rockaway Citizens Safety Patrol, Achiezer, and multiple volunteer fire departments from Breezy Point to Meadowmere.
Legislator Kopel and Assemblyman Goldfeder have been fighting for appropriate investment and additional roadwork for years. Recently, they launched a resident-driven campaign to petition Governor Andrew Cuomo to follow through with the proposed construction. Over 3,000 South Shore and Rockaway residents have sent letters to Governor Cuomo asking for the construction of the highway. The residents of the Five Towns and the Rockaways endure grueling rush hours on the current inadequate roadway. This infrastructure investment would not only alleviate the daily traffic congestion on Rockaway Turnpike, but would finally enable a safe and efficient evacuation route for many thousands of South Shore and Queens families.
All residents are urged to continue to remind Governor Cuomo of the importance of this road as a life-saving evacuation route and a daily thoroughfare by sending more letters through the websites at www.Fix878Now.com and www.FixOurRoadsNow.com.