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Williston Park Meeting Focuses on Traffic Report

At the last Williston Park Village Board meeting the focus was on the recently released, but very preliminary, traffic report commissioned by the Mineola School District.

The report was conducted by Robert Eschbacher, of Hauppague-based VHB Engineering, a firm specializing in traffic studies.  The final report is not expected for at least another two or three more weeks.  

The study was a series of observations in and around Cross Street, St. Aidan’s and the surrounding neighborhood on or around March 24.

The observations conducted by Eschbacher’s firm included documenting bus movements parent drop offs and pick-up behavior, pedestrian activity and parking utilization. The team has also taken an inventory of traffic signs and regulations and parking regulations.

Eschbacher said, “We are trying to do this properly and not rush it.”

He added, “Our remaining goals include evaluating both the existing and future conditions of the Cross Street School if it were to be occupied by Solomon Schechter and all its activities which include extracurricular activities.

“Recommendations will be made in the report on how to enhance the traffic safety for the students, parents and residents and to minimize impacts to the traffic flow for local residents, businesses and residents.

“I’m trying to develop recommendations which are more operational in nature and ideally which would not involve changes to the existing traffic flow patterns or parking regulations which could be adapted to suit possible changing conditions in the future.”

As part of the preliminary findings, Eschbacher noted three issues, which would need to be resolved:

1. That arrival and dismissal times for Cross Street and St. Aidan’s do not overlap.  He added, “ Solomon Schechter Day School should arrange the schedule accordingly to maintain this separation of arrival and dismissal time. Especially noting that most of the pickup and dismissal activity generally takes place within a 15-minute window.   There is pretty much a clear separation in time, which helps the two to coexist in a reasonable amount and we’d like to keep it that why,” added Eschbacher.

2. The second issue deals with the number of buses for Solomon Schechter.  Eschbacher recommended that the afternoon departure of Solomon Schechter be controlled so that all the buses are not dismissed at the same time.  A staggered dismissal is thought to “spread out the dismissal onto the local streets.”  Eschbacker said that dismissal en masse would result in “some backups” on the streets as they are tying to get out of there.”

3. The final issue involves student parking in the planned expanded parking lot off Meagher Place on the south side of the school.  It was Eschbacher’s view that even with the expansion, due to the use of the lot and use as a drop-off site for smaller buses that an off-site student parking location should be secured.  Approximately 10 spaces were planned to be set aside to accommodate students who drive to the school.  

He also added that U-turns should not be made in a situation where school buses and children exist.  He said that additional signage may be required to be placed to prevent such behavior. Eschbacher also said that the next phase of his study would be to observe any undesirable patterns that exist at Solomon Schechter’s Glen Cove site and to see if  they would be replicated at Cross Street and if so, they could be addressed in anyway.

Report of mayor and village board members at the regular meeting:

Mayor Paul Ehrbar

Mayor Ehrbar said that things in the village are what he called, “a little quiet expcept for the discussion regarding the Mineola traffic study.  He added that the Annual Williston Park Memorial Day Parade will be held on May 30 starting with a brief ceremony behind the American Legion Hall at 9 a.m. followed by the step-off of the parade at 9:30 a.m.

Deputy Mayor William Darmstadt

Deputy Mayor Darmstadt announced that on April19 a rock was thrown at a window on Lafayette Avenue and a rock was thrown at a window on Hillside Avenue. Darmstadt said, “Inspector Canavan informed us that the Third Precinct is now on Facebook.  Their address is just Third Precinct all written out,” he said.

Trustee Terry Thomann

Trustee Thomann announced that Williston Park Fire Department has installed two new members and one of them came from the Junior Firefighters and is her neice Chris Thomann.  She also announced that there is a formal installation planned for June 4.  

Further, the display prepared by the Historical Society in the display cabinet at village hall is centered around baseball.

Trustee Kevin Rynne

Trustee Rynne reminded everyone that there will be an outing of the Recreation Committee on June 4 at Belmont Racetrack Picnic area.  He added, “We have approximately 10 to 15 tickets left.  Coolers are allowed, no glass bottles and the Recreation Committee will supply dessert.”  

Rynne said, “The Beautification Committee meets every Sunday either up on Hillside or Willis Avenue. Weeding, planting in the center medians.  We also do the buckets in front of the stores. We just received a donation from Roberts, in Mineola; they sent more than 60 pairs of work gloves and they are very happy with what we are doing in the village.  Anyone who is looking for any recreation in the village, come out and join us.”

Rynne added, “I’d like to thank the businesses who have been sending in donations to offset the cost of the flowers we have been planting and buying new buckets.  If anyone would like to make a donation, we would be most appreciative.”

Court Report:  Honorable Kevin J. Kiley heard 243 cases collecting fines of $17,290-together with the mandatory state surcharge of $210.  The honorable Beth Swendsen-Dowd heard two cases, collecting fines of $290 together with the state surcharge.

Trustee Barbara Alanga

Trustee Alanga announced that the Pool Manager would be Paul Blake.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Keith Bunnel

Bunnel announced that the road project was almost finished and there are just a couple of “punch list” items left.  The Well No. 1 rehab project is finally finished so there will be no more water running down Board Street.  Funnel said, “We will be putting off Well No. 4 Rehab start because summer is rapidly approaching and we will never get it done in time.  In connection with that our 11-month inspection of the water tank which was the result of the one-year warranty from the in ground storage tank, from last year, will be happening in the next few weeks, so we will have to empty that and then inspectors will go in to make sure that everything is good with the paint job from inside.    

“Further, we are on our way with the pool, getting everything set and we are busy up there and that’s just about it for now.”

Building Inspector Kerry Collins

In the last month, Collins reported, there have been three building applications, nine residential plumbing permits, two licenses to conduct electrical work in the village, one carting and dumpster license, three landscape licenses of companies who want to conduct business in the village, one food and drink, four oil tank either installation or abandonment, one sidewalk sales permit, one sidewalk apron and curb replacement permit, two applications to the Board of Appeals, two street opening permits and one HBHC application collecting fees of $8,325.  

He went on to say, “We issued three Certificates of Occupancy, 12 Certificates of Completion for Plumbing, one HBHC completion, three notices of violation and nine summons were issued.  The three building applications were issued.”

Petition to Mayor

Re: Community Center at Cross Street School

A man in the audience then submitted a petition, with resident signatures, to put a referendum on the ballot to make a Community Center at the Cross Street School.

Mayor Ehrbar said that first and foremost, he has been told that the property is not for sale.  He asked for an opinion by the attorney,  who said he could give no opinion due to the fact that he had not, as yet, seen the petition.

Ehrbar continued, “We have been on top of this from the start and we have tried everything that we could to avoid this.”

The gentleman who presented the petition wanted to know if there was some way that the village could perhaps buy one of the fields that was attached to the Cross Street School and Mayor Ehrbar said he has been told that the property is not for sale.

Residents in the open portion of the meeting complained that the traffic would increase dramatically with Solomon Schechter occupying the Cross Street School.

Residents wanted to also know if the fields go along with the building. It had been established at the original meeting with the head of Solomon Schechter that they would be using the fields until at least 6 p.m.

In an update issued at press time regarding the lease presented by the Cross Street School to Solomon Schechter, according to reliable reports, that the lease was signed last Friday.

The next Williston Park Village Board meeting will be held on June 20 at 8 p.m. at Williston Park Village Hall,  494 Willis Avenue, Williston Park.