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Is It Safe To Cross The Street In Hicksville?

Pedestrian deaths may have residents

thinking twice about traveling on foot

Though Hicksville is home to some of Nassau County’s most desirable shopping destinations, the trip may literally cost you more than an arm and a leg.

“There are places I recommend never crossing, like where the roads run together between IKEA and Sears. It is impossible for someone on foot – it’s a nightmare,” said John O’Brien, whose four children are between 9 and 15 years old.

O’Brien’s home is minutes from Route 106 (Newbridge Road) and Elmira Street – the site of a fatal accident that resulted in the death of Hicksville resident Leema Karnati, 48, last month.

“She goes to our church [Holy Family]. She got out of the 5:30 p.m. mass, tried to cross the street and got hit. My son is in the class with her daughter. It’s a fine, upstanding religious family. They volunteered for everything. It’s just sad,” O’Brien said.

Karnati’s death wasn’t the only tragedy that shook the Hicksville community during the holidays. Rose Tantillo, 84, of Melville, passed away after a vehicle struck her following a service at Hicksville’s Our Lady of Mercy Church on South Oyster Bay Road.

While Nassau County Police Department 2nd Squad detectives noted that no criminality was involved in either case (and that Karnati did not utilize the crosswalk), distracted drivers and poorly lit roads may still present potentially deadly conditions for pedestrians.

“On busy routes, I think many drivers go into an automatic-pilot mode. Drivers either are not thinking or have forgotten what it’s like to walk places,” O’Brien added.

Old Country Road is especially difficult to cross, O’Brien said – notably for those who happen to move a little slower.

“I have a bad knee and can only cross half the street. At Old Country Road, I have to hold my hands out like a cop at an intersection. I’m holding one hand toward the cars and the other is waving my kids along to move faster,” O’Brien explained. “It’s the same at the Hicksville train station.”

Mayer Horn, a traffic engineer affiliated with Metropolitan Section Institute of Transportation Engineers, noted the level of ease increases when crossing road that feature an island in the center of the road.

“One of the things that’s been found to be helpful for pedestrian safety is having to cross fewer lanes at a time, or a ‘shelter’ in the middle. You’re dealing with something relatively easier there than if you’re trying to cross somewhere like Old Country Road,” Horn said.

Horn’s grandchildren attend Syosset’s Midway Jewish Center on South Oyster Bay Road, slightly north of Hicksville.

“The Midway entrance and exit is controlled by a traffic signal. If that’s a frequent phenomenon where pedestrians are present and vehicles are turning in and out, maybe that’s something that warrants a study,” Horn said.

According to the Nassau County Police Department’s public information office, 35 pedestrians were involved in vehicular accidents from Nov. 1, 2011 to Nov. 1, 2012. More than 5,600 vehicular accidents took place in Hicksville from Nov. 1, 2009 to Nov. 1, 2012, police noted.  

“I still hold my children’s hands crossing these roads and in parking lots. This embarrasses the older girls but it makes me feel better. There is room for improvement, like better lighting in some places, which helps pedestrians as well as drivers, and better intersection planning for turns at locations like Old Country Road,” said O’Brien.

Kathleen Seaman lives near Route 106 and Levittown Parkway and her two children will soon be crossing Newbridge Road on foot once they start attending Hicksville High School.

“I have instructed my kids to cross at the crosswalks at the light. I hope and pray that they do. With the amount of traffic on the roads lately, I think people need to be educated more about crossing only at designated areas and not to try to ‘beat’ the traffic,” said Seaman, adding, “Sometimes it leads to tragic results.”

News

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Board of Education Meeting

October 22

Oktoberfest

October 25-26

Pancake Breakfast

October 26



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com