After reading the article "Terino Announces Candidacy for Town Supervisor" (Hicksville Illustrated News, June 22, 2007), it sounds to me like Mr. Terino, if elected, is ready to throw in the towel on the Cerro Wire Mall issue and "...negotiate with all concerned for a settlement with which all parties can live..."
I believe we are already past that stage. Simply put, the owner wants nothing less than a mall and the residents want no mall. What's left to negotiate? In the end there is either going to be a mall or not. This is why the case is in the courts. I feel that up to this point, the town has acted in the best interest of its residents on this issue. The town, in support of its residents, is turning its back on a lot of tax revenue. Our town leaders realize that there are some things more important than money.
Furthermore, I don't understand why the courts would allow this nonsense to go on. I know that if I wanted to build on my residential property and there were zoning issues and massive public opposition, the town would not allow it, and the courts would not support it. Period.
What I find most astounding is the lack of vision concerning this property. In close proximity to the Long Island Expressway and the railroad spur along its north border, the property would make an excellent place for a tunnel entrance to Connecticut.
The road system could seamlessly integrate into the expressway eliminating the possibility of traffic on local roads, and a high speed E-Z Pass only restriction would greatly reduce if not eliminate the possibility of traffic jams. Overall congestion, especially in western Nassau and eastern Queens would be alleviated.
Rail lines could also be built and connected into the existing rail service for a truly intermodal transportation system, reducing the cost of shipping goods on and off of the island, ultimately reducing truck traffic on area bridges and roads.
Our elected local, state and federal representatives should open their eyes and see this opportunity to make a significant positive difference in our quality of life. Cut through all of the nonsense. Seize the property through eminent domain before the opportunity is lost forever and start digging. If ever there was a public project which was truly in the public interest, this is it.
Of course, there are the naysayers of this sort of project. Besides your usual NIMBY crowd, the Long Island Traffic Plan study of 2000 indicated that crossings to Connecticut from Long Island would not have a significant impact on alleviating traffic congestion on the island. This study is over seven years old. Significant growth has occurred since that study, making its data obsolete. Also, did anyone ever question the validity of the original study? They could have been wrong, like the bad decision some traffic engineer made when additional traffic lights were added at the Hicksville train station for pedestrian safety. Because of those lights, traffic congestion has become a nightmare. Pedestrians are not any safer because they still cross the street against the light.
The Cerro Wire property, if properly used, can have a significant positive impact on the entire region. The next study that should be conducted is not whether we need another park, shopping mall or office complex, but when and how we are going to make a crossing. Let's stop wasting precious time and take three important steps; seize, plan and dig.