Signs of waste
Members flag contractor's traffic goofs
|BOTCH JOB: Local 1455 President Mike DeMarco stands at intersection in the Annadale section of Staten Island where private contractor misplaced DOT traffic and
By DAINE S. WILLIAMS
Dangerous goofs by a private contractor brought Mike DeMarco and other drivers to a screeching halt at a rotary in the Annadale section of Staten Island, where the Dept. of Transportation eliminated a two-way street and paid the contractor to replace the signs.
"Our taxes paid for this job, but what we got was a road hazard and a traffic mess at a busy transit hub," said DeMarco, the president of New York City Traffic Employees Local 1455.
"These signs are all wrong. The number of DOT violations is mind-boggling," said DeMarco. "This sloppy work would not have been done by our members because we have to meet the Federal Transit Administration's guidelines."
DeMarco ticked off a long list of the private contractor's violations of FTA codes and standards:
The private contractor used single-sided One Way signs, instead of two-sided, and mounted them unsafely, too low for many motorists to see.
Street-name signs used lettering that New York City doesn't use, some were partially obscured by the galvanized posts they were mounted on, and in some cases the contractor wastefully used double posts.
Most of the new One Way signs were hung below Stop signs - a DOT no-no.
|TDM George Held says municipal workers in Local 1455
are ready to correct contractor's dangerous mistakes.
Contractors waste money
And the contractor haphazardly hung No Parking signs at wrong angles along the circle, a goof that could cost many drivers the price of a parking ticket.
"What's most disturbing," DeMarco said, "is that we find these contractors' mistakes and safety hazards throughout the city all the time."
"This is an accident waiting to happen," said Blue Collar Council Rep David Catala, "and a total violation of DOT's mission to safely direct and control traffic flow." Local 1455 Traffic Device Maintainers in the area alerted the union to the signage errors.
"We can't correct anything until the bosses give us the go-ahead," said TDM George Held, who has hung a lot of road signs in his 24 years on the job. It will take a work order from DOT management and the keen eyes of the TDMs to correct all the contractors' goofs and messed up work, Held said.
TDMs will eventually replace these signs with ones that meet FTA standards and remount the parking signs at the correct angle for drivers to read them.
"Usually contractors screw up jobs by not bothering to put signs back. In this case they did it all wrong," DeMarco said. "It's really a waste of the taxpayers' money. It's never cheaper to have contractors do our work because their primary goal is a large profit."
— Public Employee Press, December 2010