2014-08-08 / Columnists

Official Point Of View

People Helping People And Together, Improving Rockaway
By State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. There is no better neighborhood advocate than your own neighbor. And though Sandy tore us down, it is with the help of our neighbors that Rockaway was able to get back up. Though we all know the journey to rebuild continues, countless advocates have risen from Sandy’s ashes and fight day in and day out, which consequently has put our community on the path to recovery.

There are many community advocates who volunteer their time and effort for the betterment of Rockaway. If I was to ask a group of residents, who they think of when I say “Name a volunteer who advocates for the Rockaways,” I can hear them shout the names now…John Cori, Eddie Pastore, Dolores Orr, Lew Simon, Danny Ruscillo, insert any civic president name here, plus many, many other good-hearted individuals who I could mention, but I’m limited to only 500 words in this article. I thank them all for their efforts.

Jeanne DuPont and the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance have several local projects “underway” to improve the peninsula’s quality of life. With a focus on transportation, “Project Underway” is at the forefront to improve the Rockaway Freeway and make it both safer and more accessible to cars, bikes and pedestrians alike. This dangerous stretch of roadway cries out for a positive change.

Filled potholes, well-paved lanes and accurate road signage are all on the agenda. These improvements will not only create a safer environment for drivers, but for pedestrians. According to DuPont, the fastest route for local students to get to school is via the freeway’s bike path, but kids are often deterred from using it because of potential danger. The Alliance’s hope is that if the roadway changes, lives improve all across the board.

Along with my own intentions to further the Alliance’s initiative, the Department of Transportation (DOT) should also take note of the group’s mission. The Alliance has created a petition for the community to express their support of improving the freeway that has garnered about 2,000 signatures. We aren’t talking a change in any infrastructure here, we’re just asking for clearly-marked lines, easy-to-read signs and an overall increase in safety.

As I work with DuPont and the Alliance on improving the Freeway, we also have to highlight the need to save the ferry service. A survey done by the Alliance showed the majority of people using the ferry are not local and I believe this information may be helpful in saving the ferry.

What matters is having eyes and ears in the community to see these issues, expose them, and work together, along with the elected officials and agencies, to find the solutions. I love to see people connecting with each other to create a better Rockaway and in turn connecting us to the rest of the borough and city.

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