Calvin D Van Name.

Staten Island : a report by the President of the Borough of Richmond to the Mayor online

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great commerce, beautiful beaches, highest hills on the
Atlantic Coast, bays and rivers, great shipyards, manu-
facturing plants, miles of frontage for commercial
purposes upon deep water, and the only frontage of
the city on the west side of the harbor, a marginal
railway connecting with all the trunk lines to the
South and West and of a construction superior to any
that the city can hope to possess in any borough, a
great area, picturesque, beautiful, healthful and de-
sirable for homes, and a well-to-do population of thou-
sands of sterling citizens with most patriotic impulses.


The New County Court House

The new County Court House at St. George, situ-
ated next to the Borough Hall, denominated in the
records of the Board of Estimate as the "Additional
County Court House in the Borough of Richmond"
is now completed, and ready for occupancy. There
will be housed in it the Supreme Court of the State
of New York, the County Court of the County of
Richmond, the Surrogate, the Sheriff, the County
Clerk, the Clerk of the Surrogate's Court, the District
Attorney, The Commissioner of Jurors, the Assistant
Medical Examiner, other County officers, and the Court
of Special Sessions.

I have also assigned the large front room and two
additional rooms on the top floor to the Richmond
County Bar Association for a county law library, and
for meeting and business purposes connected with the
affairs of the Association.

The total appropriations made from time to time by
the Board of Estimate for land, construction of build-
ing, formal gardens, and furniture amount to $964,-
973.22, and were made in various sums during the
terms of Borough Presidents Cromwell, McCormack
and myself.

The contracts were signed as follows :

Date of

Contract. Purpose of Contract.

Dec. 22/1.3. Excavation.

Jan. 5/14. Construction of Foundation,
Shell and Roof of Build-

July 25/16. Plumbing.

Oct. 9/16. Incidental Plumbing.

Oct. 13/16. Heating and Ventilating.

Jan. 3/17. Interior Construction.

Sep. 17/17. Electrical Work.

Oct. 30/17. Elevators.

Jan. 4/18. Approach Work.

May 8/18. Lighting Fixtures.

May 9/18. Clocks.

May 15/19. Furniture.

Name of President
Signing Same.

George Cromwell.
Charles J. McCormaek.

Henry P.

Calvin D,
Calvin D,
Calvin D.
Henry P.

Henry P.

Henry P.

Calvin D
Calvin D
John 1-:.


, Van Name.
, Van Name.
, Van Name.



. Van Name.
. Van Name.


Other appropriations and contracts will be neces-
sary for furniture and for beautifying the gardens,
which will make the total exceed one million dollars.

The St. George Ferry

The municipal ferry service to Staten Island is
maintained by five swift boats the largest and finest
ferryboats in the world, constructed for the city, and
put in commission in 190=;. They are named "Man-
hattan," "Brooklyn," "Bronx," "Queens," and "Rich-
mond." The schedule time between the Borough of
Manhattan and the Borough of Richmond is twenty-
three minutes. The number of passengers carried in
the year 1918 exceeded 17,000,000, and the number
of vehicles exceeded 528,000.

Four of the ferryboats are in constant service.
They have a capacity of 2,500 passengers each; and in
addition each has space for carrying about twenty-
two automobiles. The average daily traffic to and
from Manhattan is 50,000. The maximum rush hour
traffic is 9,000 per hour. The population and business
of the borough are too great for service by ferry only,
and the rapidly increasing harbor congestion, a great
hindrance to ferry operation, has made necessary some
additional means of communication between Staten
Island and the other boroughs.

Because of the efforts of leading men and influen-
tial organizations coupled with natural advantages, the
population of the borough has greatly increased, and
the industries have developed on a large scale, and to
such a degree that the municipal ferry is not able to
comfortably or expeditiously handle the increasing
daily passenger and vehicular traffic.

The development of the port is retarded by the loss
of time (which is money) of high powered auto trucks
standing in long lines awaiting passage on the over-
crowded boats.

Let us look at some figures as to this loss to the
public. It is a common sight to see in line awaiting
turn on the boats forty auto-trucks and touring cars.
Strike an average of $4,000 for each truck or car, and
you have in the line standing idle a value of $160,000.


Again assume that there are of the forty vehicles
thirty auto-trucks, each with an average load of the
value of $2,000, there is an additional sum standing
idle of $60,000. In all, idle capital amounting to $220,-

I feel sure that no other city in the world would
tolerate this large waste.

Many trucks are loaded with foodstuffs that are
needed at their destinations and enhanced in cost by
the waste of capital and time of men before reaching
the retail stores.

I have made application for the construction of
five new ferryboats of the character and size of the
"Richmond"; one to be launched in 1921, and one
each succeeding year.

New Ferries

Two new ferries have been established; one from
the terminal of the Municipal Ferry at St. George to
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and the other from Linoleum-
ville to Carteret, New Jersey.

There are in use on both ferries, ferryboats, com-
modious and strong, with a capacity for carrying
numbers of trucks and automobiles.

Shortening the Time of Travel by Improved Streets

Between the Shores East and West, and

North and South

With limited funds for the purpose of construction
of improved pavements each year, it becomes important
that there should be some fixed policy as to the selection
of highways upon which to make expenditures. Two
methods are suggested. One is to improve short
stretches of streets within the thickly populated towns;
and the other is to improve long stretches of highways
running north and south, and long stretches of high-
ways running east and west, and thus shorten the time
of "travel between towns of importance and between
attractive locations ; in other words, by the latter plan
to make the borough more compact, endeavor to have
no isolated villages, no feeling of clannishness for this
shore or that shore, make the people of all shores


neighbors, and encourage the extension of all towns
large and small until all have grown together. For a
time at least the latter method should be used.

If I am allowed to carry on my plans in this re-
spect there will soon be a feeling that all of our people
are residing in the same civic division. Although the
present names for convenience of designations of
locations may continue, the feeling of distance will
no longer be apparent.

This idea will be carried out by the proposed
improvement of Richmond Avenue, Richmond Turn-
pike, Richmond Road, Willow Brook Road, Arthur
Kill Road, Manor Road, Clove Road and Rockland

In adhering to the policy of using the limited
funds awarded to me by the Board of Estimate to
shorten time of travel between the towns and between
the shores, the nine and one-half miles from New
Dorp to the Perth Amboy Ferry, comprising the
Amboy Road and Bentley Street, were paved with a
wearing surface of bituminous concrete, two inches
thick, on a concrete foundation six inches thick. This
is said to be the most delightful riding surface to be
found anywhere. The asphalt used is genuine
Bermudez Lake asphalt, from Yenezue'a, South

The expense of such a pavement one or two years
hence will be prohibitive if the rapidly mounting costs
of labor and materials continue their upward trend.
Hence it is imperative that this pavement be carefully
protected from rough use by auto-trucks.

An awakening is in the growing size of the auto-
truck, now approaching fifteen ton load capacity.
These large auto-trucks will be very destructive to
bituminous covered pavements. They were not laid
for heavy wear. Such wear and tear were not known
when they were planned and could not reasonably
have been anticipated.

If the heavy trucks cannot be excluded from the
Ambov Road its bituminous pavement, which is the
finest in the world, will be destroyed.

\Yhen the late Henry P. Morrison, then Commis-
sioner of Public AYorks, which office lie held at the


time of his death, and Theodor S. Oxholm, Chief
Engineer, planned and drew specifications for this
pavement, the large auto-truck with a carrying-
capacity of nine tons, now often seen on our high-
ways, was in the experimental stage, and no provision
was made for an attack upon the wearing quality of
this character of pavement that these heavy trucks
will make. Many of the heavy trucks are not destined
for points in the borough, but they are doing a grow-
ing business between Baltimore, Wilmington, Phila-
delphia, New York City and New England.

Tne Arthur Kill Road will rapidly go to destruc-
tion under heavy wear it being a tar via macadam
highway; and it will be necessary to pave it with a
heavy cement concrete pavement as soon as the Board
of Estimate will make the necessary appropriation.
It will cost a great deal, but I will apply for the
funds, confident of the support of our people in
making the large outlay to relieve the congestion on
the Amboy Road.

One severe winter with the truck travel would at
once destroy the ten miles of the Arthur Kill Road,
and make it impassable, unless paved with cement
concrete as suggested. As much of the trucking is
inter-state, and necessary for the business of the en-
tire city, the Board should consider this fact when
the application for funds is made, and not put a
heavy burden of assessment upon this borough.

Richmond Avenue, running almost north and
south from the Kill Van Kull at Port Richmond to
Raritan Bay at Eltingville Shore, has possibilities
that are important to the borough, and it is my am-
bition to extend the present smooth pavement of
bituminous concrete southerly across Fresh Kills
Bridge to Amboy Road at Eltingville, and on to the
Southfield Boulevard and Raritan Bay at Eltingville
Shore. It will not be an extravagance. The reduc-
tion of time from the Kill Van Kull on the north to
Raritan Bay on the south, by use of a new bitumi-
nous pavement to twenty minutes will be a creditable
achievement. By this improvement Ambov Road,
Eltingville Shore and Great Kills will be but one-
half hour from the growing City of Bayonne. There

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are great probabilities of developments at Elting-
ville Shore and Great Kills.

A cement concrete pavement has been laid on
the \Yillow Brook Road and has the distinction of
being the first concrete pavement laid upon a high-
way in the city.

After an examination by Commissioner Morrison
and Mr. Oxholm of concrete pavements up the State,
it was determined to construct such a highway here.
The use of cement concrete as a pavement has in-
creased very materially, and improvement in methods
and manner of laying it has advanced very much.
The results seem satisfactory, and I am anxious to
extend the same pavement along Forest Hill Road,
Rockland Avenue, and Richmond Road to Amboy
Road at Black Horse Tavern.

\Yillow Brook Road and Rockland Avenue are
a beautiful route, passing fields of green, wild hedges,
forests and streams, and the ravine at Egbertville,
which lias been included in the park system of
the borough. This drive connects the towns of the
north shore with the beaches and the growing locali-
ties of the south shore.

The cement to be used in the concrete will make
a mosaic pavement. It will bear the traffic without
an asphalt surface. It is hoped that this type of road
will meet for at least ten years the demands of the
heavy auto-trucks. These routes will be charming
pleasure drives for those who seek the beautiful rural
retreats of the island.

While I have modified the original plans of
some years ago for the improvement of Center Street
and Tompkins Avenue (sometimes called Rosebank
Avenue) which seemed to me too much in ad-
vance of the times, yet enough of the original plans
has been adopted by me to bring about great improve-
ment in Stapleton, Clifton and Rosebank.

As modified, there will be a wide avenue, where
it has been needed, from the park in Stapleton to
Vanclerbilt Avenue, and there will be constructed
sidewalks, curbing, guttering and a bituminous pave-
ment. The curbing, guttering and bituminous pave-
ment will 1>e continued on as far as St. Mary's Avenue.

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Manor Road between Richmond Turnpike and
Brielle Avenue is paved with macadam covered with

As the pavement is not strong enough to with-
stand the shock of the constant bus travel to and
from Sea View Hospital, the continual efforts by
the Bureau of Highways to keep it in repair are un-

I have made application successfully to the
Board of Estimate for funds with which to lay a
pavement of bituminous concrete on a cement con-
crete foundation. Another much needed improve-
ment \vill be made.

Richmond Road is a very important highway,
being the most direct route from Manhattan and the
St. George Ferry southwesterly to Amboy Road and
Perth Amboy Ferry, and to the South and West.

It is a city-wide problem. The road is very nar-
row and has upon each side of the small wagon space
sets of rails of the Staten Island Midland Railway

I will obtain the funds with which to improve it
so that the space up to and within the rails will be
made available as a widening of the highway. The
proposed extension of the width of the pavement will
become a fact. There is a petition to the Local
Board to compel the setting back of the fences for
the construction of sidewalks from Concord to New
Dorp. This will bring about an improvement that
is very much needed.

The old route from New York to Philadelphia
and Washington by way of the old Quarantine, now
Tompkinsville, and New Blazing Star Ferry will
again come to the fore. The Staten Island end of
the subway under the bay from Brooklyn will be at
or in the neighborhood of Richmond Turnpike.
Recently there has been established a ferry across
Arthur Kill to Carteret, New Jersey, from the end
of Richmond Turnpike at Linoleumville, and if
there were a proper pavement the distance could be
run by way of this route in short time.

I am urging the importance of the proposed im-


provement and time-saving suggestion upon the
members of the Board of Estimate. There have
been a number of private plans filed in the County
Clerk's office for the development of large tracts of
land on and near this highway. The present pave-
ment is macadam covered with tarvia, and is unfitted
to withstand the increasing automobile and auto-
truck traffic.

This thoroughfare passes Tompkinsville, Silver
Lake Park with the reservoirs, Clove Road, Clove
Lakes Park, Little Clove Road, South New York,
Castleton Corners (Four Corners), Jewett Avenue,
Westerleigh, Willow Brook Road, Richmond Ave-
nue, Bull's Head, Travisville and Linoleumville.
It is a direct route from the east side of the borough
to the west side of the borough, and to the ferry con-
necting with New Jersey.

It may be said that the highways of Richmond
Borough are the finest in the United States.

Projects are under way for new pavements to be
constructed before the end of 1921 which will en-
large the famous improved roadway system of
Staten Island to a degree unsurpassed anywhere.


There is a general feeling of confidence that the
progress in the borough which has commenced w^ill
continue, and there is a determination on the part
of the citizens of Richmond Borough to aid the new
administration at City Hall.

It is very gratifying to note the pleasant relations
existing between our citizens and the Executive of
the City and all branches of the City Government.
All the members of the Board of Estimate are show-
ing every inclination to aid in the new movement to
develop the borough. Our people are \vell aware
that the Board of Estimate is endeavoring to govern
our city economically, business-like and decently.

It is a pleasure to write of the great help in the
administration of the borough and in its now rapid
development received from the three aldermen, who,
with me, compose the Local Board. We have been


in complete accord, and perfect harmony has pre-

I have been heartily supported by the various
officials and employees of this department who have
given close application to their work, and have
served the public in a manner that has won general

In the death of Henry P. Morrison, a dis-
tinguished civil engineer, and an expert of renown in
road building, who had spent years in the service of
the State and City, the borough and the municipality
have sustained a great loss. He died at his residence
in West New Brighton, in this borough, on Decem-
ber 17, 1918.

Superintendent of Street Cleaning, John J. Collins,
died at his residence in West New Brighton, in this
borough, on February 26, 1919. He was a faithful
public official, having served with distinguished honor
as Alderman, Sheriff and Superintendent of the Bu-
reau of Street Cleaning.

Excepting the lamented deaths of Commissioner
Morrison and Superintendent Collins, there have been
no changes in the personnel of the official staff during
the past year, and a harmonious relationship continues
between all members.

Finally, your Honor, I desire to express my sincere
gratification to you and to all members of your ad-
ministration, and to the various members of the Board
of Estimate and the Board of Aldermen, who are all
sincerely aiding in the proper conduct of the affairs
of the City, for uniform kindness and assistance on all
occasions. Without this co-operation my work would
have been far more difficult, and the progress now evi-
dent everywhere would have been greatly retarded.

Respectfully yours,
President of the Borough of Richmond


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Online LibraryCalvin D Van NameStaten Island : a report by the President of the Borough of Richmond to the Mayor → online text (page 3 of 3)