Daniel Garvey made a name for himself as CB 11’s transit chairman

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In the Dec. 18 Bayside Times article “Ex−CB 11 member Garvey, transportation chair, dies,” you noted the passing of Daniel Garvey, a noted professional and community activist. You mentioned some of the noteworthy accomplishments during his life, but failed to mention some of the more important issues and activities he was involved in and how he left his mark on this world.

In 1972, the city’s movable bridge operators went on strike, leaving all 25 movable bridges in the open position across the city’s rivers and canals. This caused the most monumental traffic jam in city history.

Garvey, then the Community Board 11 Transportation Committee chairman, was able to close the Harlem River swing bridges and directed the closure of all others so traffic could flow again.

A year later, when the West Side Highway collapsed, he gathered staff engineers and consultants to evaluate the highway to see whether it was worth saving or if it should be torn down. The latter was his recommendation as a result of technical evaluation. Route 9A is now the replacement boulevard along the Hudson River.

When serving as chief engineer of the state Thruway Authority, one of the worst tragedies occurred when the Schoharie Creek Bridge, north of Albany, collapsed in 1987. During a major flood, the water beneath the bridge rose from the normal 2−foot depth to more than 30 feet. Ten people died as the Thruway was severed.

Garvey, with staff, consultants and contractors, directed the design and construction of a new, almost 800−foot bridge, opened to traffic in less than a year — in less time than it took for the recent reconstruction of the I−35 bridge in Minneapolis, one similar in size to the Thruway bridge.

Also not mentioned in the article was his life service to the Boy Scouts of America. He was for decades one of the top officials in Queens in the Scouts, teaching young boys to be upstanding citizens.

When I was chairman of CB 11 and Garvey the Transportation Committee chairman, he had the credentials that could never be matched on any community board in the city.

He will be greatly missed. He left his mark on his community, city and state that will be matched by few.

The writer was chairman of CB 11 from 1972−2002 and a close friend of Garvey.

Bernard Haber


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