Local 1455, NYC Traffic Employees Local 1455, NYC Traffic Employees Local 1455, NYC Traffic Employees Local 1455, NYC Traffic Employees

Local 1455 members mount
Signs of recovery

  Local 1455 member Ernest Fink mounts new signs to help revive a Rockaway business district that Sandy ruined.


In the weeks and months following the devastation visited upon New York on Oct. 29 by Hurricane Sandy, the Traffic Device Maintainers of Local 1455 played an important role in rebuilding hard-hit communities — by replacing street signs torn away by the storm’s relentless winds and waves.

“We need signs to set the rules of traffic flow, tell us where we are, and restore the sense of order, direction and normalcy most of us take for granted until it’s gone,” said Local 1455 President Mike DeMarco.

The Dept. of Transportation workers bolt street signs to lampposts and sign posts made to withstand high winds, but Sandy was a superstorm. The record 1,000-mile-wide hurricane packed sustained winds of 60 to 90 miles per hour, and waves that tore through neighborhoods, collapsed buildings, and washed away cars and houses. Sandy ripped parking signs off signposts as easily as a child tears a wrapper from a lollipop.

The night the storm made landfall, ocean and harbor tides surged and high winds fed fires, ravaging the New York City coastal communities of Breezy Point, Beach Channel and Far Rockaway in Queens and Midland Beach on Staten Island, leaving entire neighborhoods in shambles. Thousands of New Yorkers found themselves suddenly homeless, and many more were without light, heat, food and dry clothing.

As part of the city’s cleanup effort, DOT crews methodically installed hundreds of traffic signs in areas decimated by Sandy. Block after block they hung new alternate side of the street parking signs and replaced street and traffic signs that Sandy blew away along Beach Channel Drive and in the Rockaways business districts, where mom-and-pop stores and other small but important local businesses that sustain neighborhood economies lay in ruins.

Traffic Device Maintainer Brendan Kerney drills through concrete to install new signposts near Rockaway Beach.
















— Public Employee Press, March 2013

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  Local 1455, District Council 37, 125 Barclay St., New York, NY 10007.