Consider broader impact of Oak Street bridge closure

*Consider broader impact of Oak Street bridge closure

Consider broader impact of Oak Street bridge closure

I read with interest the recent letter submitted to The Daily Gazette by Maureen Halloran pertaining to what she thought was money “wasted” by the city of Schenectady on the Oak Street bridge.

The Oak Street bridge for many years has been the path of travel by motor vehicle, bicycle or on foot between the Mont Pleasant section of Schenectady and its neighboring Bellevue neighborhood. In some situations, it may be considered a shortcut or a convenience. But what about the instances this short cut is a necessity to be used by emergency personnel to travel between the two adjacent neighborhoods?

Since the closest fire station to the Bellevue neighborhood is located in Mont Pleasant, the time saved by traveling this route can save precious minutes that can be vital to saving someone’s life or property.

I ask, how can public safety be considered a waste of money?

Yes, it’s true that there are alternate routes to go from one neighborhood to the other in a matter of minutes. But in an emergency situation, those minutes add up and can potentially cost someone their life or property.

Throw in inclement winter weather (Don’t think this winter will be as snow-free as last.) and you can double or triple those response times. And that doesn’t take into account the potential for heavy traffic on the other routes, which include eventually traveling parts of Broadway or Altamont Avenue.

It also sounds to me that Ms. Halloran hasn’t considered the inconvenience to the residence on Congress Street due to the increase in traffic through their portion of the neighborhood since the bridge has been closed to traffic.

Has thought been given to the firefighters, police and other emergency personnel responding to emergency calls that have to travel this increased distance? The greater distance their responding vehicles have to travel increases the dangers faced by them.

People often get up in arms with what they perceive as a nuisance in their backyard without taking the bigger picture into consideration. They are also very quick to pass these supposed nuisances off to others without thinking of the negative effects on the community in its entirety. A self-imposed nuisance or convenience on one day may be a necessity the next.

Ms. Halloran, would you still feel that repairing or replacing the Oak Street bridge is money “wasted” by the city if you found yourself in an emergency situation that required a rapid response time, and arrival of emergency personnel would be delayed by minutes when every second could be vital in saving your property or the life of you or a loved one?

I truly hope you now see the bigger picture and not just the one you see when looking out your front window or standing on your porch.

Tony Buonome


Categories: Letters to the Editor

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