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Assemblyman Goldfeder Calls for On-Site Power Generators at Marine Parkway Bridge


In response to learning of the dangerous lack of on-site portable backup power generators to operate the Marine Parkway Bridge in the event of emergencies, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Belle Harbor) wrote a letter to Con Edison CEO John McAvoy demanding the agency maintain power generators on-site at all times to supply electricity to be prepared for emergencies. Last month, thousands of motorists were stranded for hours when a power outage left the bridge’s mechanical roadway in the elevated position.

“It should not have to take hours to get power up and running at the bridge and a portable generator on site at all times will prevent future problems,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “The Marine Parkway Bridge is one of only three evacuation routes for the Rockaway Peninsula in the event of an emergency. The bridge is also the primary route for tens of thousands of families on the west end of the Peninsula during their daily commutes.”

In a letter to McAvoy dated January 5th, Assemblyman Goldfeder called on the agency to make it their official policy to maintain onsite generators to supply emergency power to the bridge at all times in the event of outages. In his letter, the Assemblyman stressed that it was unacceptable that it took hours for ConEd to dispatch portable generators to the site to lower the drawbridge and allow stranded motorists to return home from work or school.

Shortly after the incident early last month, Assemblyman Goldfeder contacted the Con Edison CEO demanding an immediate investigation into the cause of a power outage to one of the two ConEd-supplied power cables that left the bridge’s elevated mechanical roadway in the elevated position.

In response to the Assemblyman’s initial letter, Con Edison Vice President for Government Relations John H. Banks responded that both ConEd and the MTA were able to dispatch portable generators to the site in order to lower the bridge after one of bridge’s two feeder cables malfunctioned. At the time, the other feeder cable was down due to routine maintenance to the bridge. Vice President Banks added that the MTA is currently using its backup motors to supply electricity to the bridge as Con Edison continues to work to restore the damaged feeder cable. The Assemblyman’s latest letter to the MTA acknowledged these ongoing repairs, but added that many in the community have expressed concern about the potential for future outages.

“It seems illogical that ConEd has not addressed the need for backup generators in preparation of an event like what happened last month at the Marine Parkway Bridge,” said Hank Iori, President of the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association. “We are well past two years since Superstorm Sandy and the lessons learned from that disaster. In the event of future storms, we need to be prepared now.”

The Marine Parkway Bridge, which links the west end of the Rockaway Peninsula to Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, is one of only three access points to the Rockaways, together with the Cross Bay Bridge and the Nassau Expressway. In 2012, the bridge served as the primary evacuation route for tens of thousands of families in the days leading up to Superstorm Sandy. According to the MTA, the bridge carries 23,000 vehicles daily, with traffic doubling during the busy summer months.

“Our public utilities have a responsibility to southern Queens and Rockaway families to ensure that infrastructure will not fail us in an emergency,” concluded Goldfeder. “When problems arise, ConEd should have the resources readily available to respond quickly and prevent an accident from turning into a nightmare.

(YWN Desk – NYC)

One Response

  1. This article refers to Goldfeder as D-Belle Harbor. An earlier story refers to him as D-Howard Beach. Presumably he represents all or part of both neighborhoods. So how do reporters decide which neighborhood to use?

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