When a being towed eastbound on the Long Island Expressway caught fire late Tuesday, eastbound traffic came to a standstill stretching back from Exit 46. The LIE was closed in the vicinity for hours.
We've all been there: stuck at a dead-stop with no where to go, people getting out of their cars and rumors flying. No explanation and no apparent efforts to divert traffic.
Think of the Cross Bronx Expressway or, even worse, crashes on the New York State Thruway north of the Palisades. Car wrecks often turn those roads into notorious traffic nightmares.
Tuesday night, Plainview firefighters worked gallantly to put out the stubborn fire. Other neighboring departments lent a hand.
No one would argue the necessity of closing the roadway because of a crash. Victims need to be helped. Firefighters already face various hazards at the fire itself and need to get emergency equipment to the scene. They don't need cars moving at high speed around the wreck.
But couldn't something be done about the mess left behind the mess?
For example, couldn't police officers be called to divert traffic -- obviously -- a secondary priority to helping the rescue effort? Could auxiliary police be used for this effort?
Could a handful of fire police or uniformed cops be stationed at exits to help alleviate the traffic and direct it elsewhere? Could they talk to the drivers and explain what happened?
Or should our government devise a better system for those times when a major highway gets shut down? (Such as special lanes, or safe turnaround exit ramps?)
Take our poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments. This could help us form a future story on the subject. Keep in mind: No one is suggesting the police and fire departments are not doing their job. This is about finding ideas for improving the quality of life on Long Island.