Questions, with Answers and Supplementary Comments by Battalion Chief John J.T. Waldron, Who Received Highest Mental Killing

(Continued from last issue)


To Be Finished by 5:30 P. M.

Write a report of not OVER twelve hundred (1.200) words addressed to the chief of department on the following subject. Elaborate discussions are not desired. Use enough words to express your ideas and no

“It is generally admitted that New York’s peculiar traffic problems have added immeasurably to its fire dangers already so hazardous that New York’s yearly fire loss is greater than that of any city in the world.

Assume that the chief of fire deportment has appointed you on a committee to make a study and to report on the aforementioned problem with the object of formulating ways and means to be adopted by the fire department and other city departments for dealing effectively with this constantly increasing menace to life and property in the city of New York. Make a statement of, and discuss, the nature and the scope of the investigations to be made, and the recommendations as to the action to he taken by the fire department and other city departments. Also suggest changes in the conduct and operation of the uniformed fire-fighting forces, as well as changes in existing regulations and laws you deem necessary in order that your recommendations can be carried out-

N. B. 1—In rating this paper, the chief consideration will be given to the knowledge of the subject and value of the ideas expressed in the limited number of words allowed but consideration will be given also to Conciseness, clearness and arrangement.

N. B. 2 -Sign the name “John Doc, Deputy Chief ” to this report. If you sign anything else, your paper will not be read.


John Kenton, Chief of Department,

Sir:—To cover the peculiar traffic problems of New York City and their relation to the fire dangers, I suggest that a committee studying this problem shall consider the following features;

  1. At present, on the lower East Side, with buildings densely occupied, and streets congested, with a multiplicity of vehicular and pedestrian traffic and many streets with curbs lined with push carts.
  2. The theatrical and hotel section, particularly during the hours just before theatre performances begin and again during the hour after they close each evening present a traffic condition with streets choked with motor vehicles and sidewalk with pedestrians throughout nearly every street in the district from 39th Street to 51st Street and from 5th to 8th Avenues, and all feeder arteries to these districts are proportionately congested.
  3. Fifth Avenue during nearly all hours of the day but particularly at the peak of travel from 1:00 o’clock p.m. and up to 8:00 o’clock p.m. is similarly” congested with lines of traffic from curb to curb, for the shopping districts attract persons to this line of travel as well as such motor traffic as is enroute from and to the lower part of the city, and cross town streets in the vicinity present a similar spectacle.

In event of a fire occurring within the area mentioned, or even alarms being transmitted necessitating response of companies of this department, delays in travel now ensue, and there is an ever-present possibility of fatalities resulting through accidents en route as well as at premises wherein fire has occurrd.

And while the delay of fire apparatus as a result of these conditions is a matter of concern, the real problem of traffic conditions and the solution really is one requiring a more comprehensive plan than merely regulating or directing lines of travel in the specific districts mentioned, and to be worthy of genuine consideration it must be city-wide in scope.

Thus it becomes necessary to suggest a logical plan of having the so-called “distance traveling vehicle” on a separate street from the “local traveling vehicle ” A broad avenue, sufficiently wide for at least six lines of vehicular traffic, and elevated to avoid grade crossings, should be constructed along the water fronts on both the east and west sides of Manhattan. The elevation of these roads would permit access to the water front at streets beneath and ramps to permit entrance to the avenues could be placed at cross streets where deemed feasible. All north and south traffic, which would travel a considerable distance, would take these roads, where speed limits could be increased as hazards of cross-streets and pedestrian traffic would be eliminated.

Connections should be made from these elevated vehicle “speedways” to other elevated vehicle “speedway” bridges crossing to Brooklyn and Queens, and on the west side, a connection should be made to the vehicular tunnel now in course of construction from Canal Street, Manhattan, to New Jersey.

A cross boulevard elevated is possible but with grade crossing eliminated at main north and south avenues at least, to be constructed through Canal Street to permit tnrough traffic from Long Island to New Jersey or vice versa to pass across Manhattan with as little addition to congestion as is possible. A similar cross street to be provided at about 59th Street to connect the “Riverside Boulevards from the west to the east sides of the City.

This outline would reduce the “midtown” congestion considerably, and leave only the local traffic to be dealt with, and by maintaining arrangement of alternate streets now running east and west as “one way” streets, prohibiting parking of cars except in certain streets or open spaces, the problem of fire apparatus proceeding through streets would be partially solved. I would also suggest that a specific number of east and west bound streets be designated as ‘Fire Department Routes” and on such streets no parking of any vehicle be permitted during hours when traffic normalty congests street and also that a small line of traffic space at centre of street be maintained open and free from traffic for fire, ambulance, or other emergency response, the police department through the traffic officers to regulate this arrangement.

On the lower east side, it would be necessary to restrict push carts from being kept except on one side of any street, and if possible to create market spaces to eliminate such use of strets entirely.

To aid in relieving conditions, it is also suggested that the principal north and south bound streets be widened by moving the present curb lines back to include sidewalk space, and recessing sidewalks inside present building lines. To add facilities for two additional lines of vehicular traffic would be of material assistance toward relieving congestion on 6th Avenue and other streets.

As to orders to the uniformed force and changes in operation there is little possible under existing conditions other than observance of common sense procedure to avoid use of 5th Avenue whenever possible when street is congested and use other north and south bound streets particularly when companies are responding on additional alarms and going any distance, and also that officers and chauffeurs exercise all caution to avoid accident. The police department, however, should direct efforts in the handling of traffic on Fifth Avenue and other main streets so that when movement of traffic east and west bound is halted, regulation to stop vehicles on such side streets in back of the crosswalk line is observed, so if a fire occurs between any two streets on Fifth Avenue, movement north and south can be halted and the traffic then on the block where fire occurs shall be directed into the streets next below (this applies when congestions on avenue prevent straight travel to clear block).

The problem of traffic is one for a “Committee on CityPlanning, reaching as it does not only into heart and outermost arteries of our great city, but also far out into the all-surrounding sections, which will some day ail be a real part of our greater metropolis, and the planning of today should offer not only a solution of the present but a forethought of the future.

Respectfully submitted,


Deputy Chief.

Note—Ihe examiners gave Chief Waldron a rating of 94 per cent on this reoprt.

Gouverneur, N. Y., Considering New Water Supply— Gouverneur, N. Y., is considering the development of a new water supply from Trout Lake, tyvo miles north of the village, and preliminary plans have been made.

Hamburg, Pa., Absorbs Windsor Water Company—The city of Hamburg, Pa., has purchased the Windsor Water Company, supplying residents of that city, for $150,000.

Substantial Decrease in Newcomerstown Water Rates— Water rates have been substantially reduced at Newcomerstown, Ohio. The new schedule went into effect January 1. 1925. The maximum charge for domestic consumption is now $18 per year instead of $33, as formerly. The minimum charge has been reduced from $16 to $12. Sprinkling service from May I to November 1 has been reduced from $8 to $6. In the new schedule the board of public affairs reserves the right to install meters for any consumer at any time consistent, in their judgment. with the best interest of the town. No change was made in the meter rates, which were not affected by the increased rates adopted three years ago. Following are some of the changes made under the new schedule: In no case will water be furnished to a consumer at a rate less than $3 per quarter. This charge will include service for kitchen sink. A charge for additional fixtures will be made each quarter as follows: bathtubs 25c, water closets 25c, wash basins 25, sprinkling 75c. This rate is interpreted as service to one tenant.




Questions, with Answers and Supplementary Comments by Battalion Chief John J. T. Waldron, Who Received Highest Mental Haling

(Continued from last issue)

Rules and Regulations (Continued)

Weight 1—To Be Finished with Report by 5:30 P. M.

Question No. 4—Discuss the consderations which determine

  1. how many companies and how many chief officers respond to alarms.
  2. Whether or not special apparatus and special companies shall respond.
  3. The movements of locating companies.
  4. Specific precautions and departures from ordinary practice on Independence Day and on Election Day.

Answer to Question No. 4

Considerations which determine:

  1. Companies and chief officers responding to alarms: Character of occupancy, class of general construction in vicinity, life hazard as to density of population or physical condition of buildings in which persons are housed. In a high value district, manufacturing or mercantile, with non-fire proof buildings covering entire plot areas and contents of buildings highly combustible the number of people working in district considerable, the maximum response should be provided. Where residences are the general type, and there is more open space at rear and fronts of buildings, less than the maximum response is required and in suburban section where buildings are isolated and limited in height the minimum response is needed. As the general hazard prescribes the response of companies, the number of companies which would be present (under ordinary circumstances) prescribes response of chief officers.
  2. Special hazards or conditions require special apparatus. Refrigerating occupancies in districts, demand rescue company to respond. Where buildings are higher than normal, aerial ladders of maximum height are needed. In suburban or even residential sections chemical lines are very effective, and wagons with chemical tank equipment should be assigned on alarms. Along the water front, fire boats are imperatively needed. Gasoline supply wagons must be provided for where gas pump ers arc working at prolonged fire.
  3. Locating of companies is the saving feature of any fire department. Provisions should be made so as to have all sections covered fairly well even where a series of fires occur. And movement of companies should be such that even when normal location of quarters is lengthened out through companies being out at large fires, the distance being companies in quarters on location and otherwise is always kept in proportion of companies available and area to be covered. High value section or extreme life section such as down town central portion of Manhattan and lower east side should always be covered by locating companies.
  4. Specific precautions for Independence Day and Election Day. Experience shows increase in alarms received on these dates but many alarms are for street fires or other trivial causes, and therefore, practice of having the last due company remain in quarters is justified and necessary. It relieves headquarters from necessity of sending many special calls and saves total stripping of territory for trivial alarms.

Answer to Question No. 4, received a rating of 87 per cent.

(To be continued)