Hamilton Beach — where the streets have two names.
While it sounds like a U2 spoof, the dually-named streets make it difficult for people to find addresses but more importantly, cause serious problems for first-responders heading toward emergency scenes.
Twice this year, an ambulance responding to a Hamilton Beach resident with diabetes was delayed because the dispatchers failed to recognize her street, Burlingame Court, a local leader alleged. Only the street’s other name, 163rd Road, rang any bells.
“It’s unbelievable that in this day and age we have this problem,” said Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “It is something that could lead to a really serious issue down the line.”
Hamilton Beach has historically been off the city numerical mapping grid, and the streets all originally had names instead of numbers.
In 2007, the city decided to make it part of the grid, following street numbers and avenues from Old Howard Beach, just to the west.
City officials changed some of the street names to numbers but one year later decided to de-map the proposed grid and keep the original names along with the new numbered street names.
The names versus numbers issue has arisen before.
In 2007, a fire broke out on one of the newly numbered Hamilton Beach streets, but fire trucks responded instead to the Old Hamilton Beach side of Hawtree Creek and the house burnt down, Gendron said.
After that, the civic association requested that the streets revert to their original names. But officials instead combined the old and new, leaving many streets with dual names, such as 163rd Drive and James Court or 163rd Road and Burlingame Court.
Councilman Eric Ulrich said he has been working with the 106th Precinct to figure out whether the recent screw-ups were human error or a system problem.
As the precinct investigated the 911 mapping system, they found that both Burlingame Court and 163rd Road showed up. Officials came to the conclusion that it was most likely an issue with the dispatchers and ambulance drivers not being familiar with the neighborhood, according to a representative from Ulrich’s office.
But Gendron is afraid next time may be too late.
“Thankfully they got there in time,” Gendron said. “But something has to be done.
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