Director Agency and Customer Service Michael Martinez is grateful for the opportunity to engage the Bedford Park community.
He serves as the Belt’s representative on Bedford Park Community Advocacy Group (CAG). He recently met with fellow CAG members alongside Director of Police and Risk Management Gerald Conoboy, who delivered an Operation Lifesaver presentation. The town’s Superintendent, Donna Smith, and representatives from local Belt customers that transport chemicals and industrial products were in attendance.
A highlight of the meeting included what Martinez called a “Belt 101” presentation. It explained the functions of the Belt and industries it serves. He said it was an opportunity to better inform citizens and reassure them. Martinez outlined the Belt’s extensive safety protocols, including precautions taken when handling chemicals; he made note of the Belt’s strong safety infrastructure and addressed potential concerns — some related to the new Dore Elementary School on 65th Street slated to open in fall 2018. Martinez explained that the Belt will take every safety measure necessary at a nearby crossing and account for increased traffic.
Some citizens were unaware that the Belt facility is gated and policed 24/7.
Martinez, who took pride in informing citizens that the Belt is one of the busiest switching yards in the country, believes citizens left the meeting with a sense of comfort. With local first responders also attending, it was a great opportunity to engage with them, Martinez said.
“It’s important to have a close relationship with members of the community,” he said.