2015-04-29 / Features

Goldfeder, NYCEM Replace Outdated Evacuation Signs

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) Commissioner Joseph Esposito announced on April 20 the installation of new, corrected Coastal Evacuation Center signage throughout southern Queens and Rockaway. The new signs will direct families to John Adams High School in South Ozone Park in the event of major evacuations, replacing old signs that had misdirected motorists during past emergencies.

“This change to our emergency evacuation route signage will save thousands of lives by helping direct families in the event of major disasters,” said Goldfeder. “I’d like to thank NYCEM Commissioner Joe Esposito for his tireless efforts and for making our safety a top priority by quickly installing this new signage.”

“Hurricane season is around the corner, and we want every New Yorker to be aware of what hurricane evacuation zone they live in and how they can get to their nearest evacuation center if necessary,” said Esposito. “We will continue to work together with Assemblyman Goldfeder to ensure that families are fully informed about where they need to go in the case of an emergency.”

The change comes after Goldfeder sent a letter to NYCDOT Commissioner of Transportation Polly Trottenberg last year requesting the agency take immediate steps to ensure designated evacuation routes and signage are updated and maintained regularly. The request came in light of experiences faced by residents during Superstorm Sandy evacuations in October 2012. At the time, emergency personnel directed families to John Adams High School in South Ozone Park, although at the time evacuation route signage pointed traffic to nearby Aqueduct Racetrack.

Together with the support of Commissioner Esposito and NYCEM, the Department of Transportation dispatched crews last month to complete the task of updating the city’s coastal storm evacuation route signage. The work comes as NYC EM and the city ready for the Atlantic hurricane season and prepare to re-launch the “Know Your Zone” hurricane awareness campaign, which aims to encourage New Yorkers to find out whether they live in a hurricane evacuation zone, and take steps to plan ahead.

Goldfeder has long advocated for safe and improved evacuation routes for families in southern Queens and Rockaway. In October of last year, the Assemblyman held a rally with Nassau County Legislator Howard Kopel to demand improved signage and infrastructure repairs along the Nassau Expressway. Goldfeder has also worked closely with NYCEM to ensure community preparedness in the face of future disasters. Just last week, Goldfeder hosted his second roundtable discussions with NYCEM and local community leaders at the Broad Channel American Legion Hall to discuss the experiences of Superstorm Sandy and better prepare for future storms.

“Our community has had two major evacuations in the last four years,” concluded Goldfeder. “The vital information these signs provide is the key to keeping our families safe during emergencies.”

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