The corner of Lexington Avenue and West Main Street has long been recognized as one of the two most problematic traffic areas in the hamlet. West Main Street resident Barbara Genco has been watching the traffic exiting Lexington Avenue and turning onto West Main Street heading west toward Mill Neck, Locust Valley and Bayville and is aware of the problems.
In the Oyster Bay Hamlet Build-Out and Cumulative Impact Analysis: Oyster Bay Hamlet study, there is a mention of the Lexington Avenue and West Main Street corner. It states: "Several of the intersections in the Hamlet have movements that are approaching capacity such that additional trip generation at build-out will exacerbate the situation, particularly at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and West Main Street, and to a lesser degree at the intersection of South Street/SR 106 at Lexington Avenue/Berry Hill Road."
The same areas have been highlighted in previous traffic studies of the hamlet with the same hazardous distinction.
Most recently there was an accident at the corner of West Main Street and Larrabee Avenue on Friday, Jan. 9, something Ms. Genco has been afraid of seeing happen. To prevent further accidents, she has written a petition asking the police to do a traffic study for the area. The petitions are available for signing at Buckingham's Variety Store on West Main Street.
For the past 10 months she has been talking to the 2nd Precinct seeking a solution. Part of the problem, she explained, is that the light on Larrabee Avenue is green at the same time the one at Bayside Avenue is green: The two lights are synchronized. As a result, people hurry to catch both lights while they are green, despite the fact that they are in a 20 mph school zone.
Additionally, the Bayside light is green for a very short time and as a result many cars on West Main Street end up jumping that light. She feels that the lights should be synchronized in a very different conformation.
One of her neighbors said he would rather see a stop sign on Bayside Avenue. "Then we can go out when we see the traffic is clear. What is happening now is that people jump the light while driving fast despite being in the 20 mph school zone," she said.
"This morning (Jan. 9) there was an accident causing the car coming out of Larrabee Avenue to spin around. It happened at about 9 a.m. when most people were driving their children to school. There is a terrible traffic jam at Larrabee, every school day. On the weekend it is relatively quiet.
"But the school crossing guard is the one jeopardizing her life. She sees the cars racing toward Bayville at that crossing," said Ms. Genco. The crossing guard stands in the middle of the intersection of Lexington Avenue and West Main Street directing parents and children as well as directing the traffic. One suggestion is to have a police officer at that spot for the 20 minutes that the traffic is heaviest in the morning and afternoon.
Ms. Genco said, "The police changed the lights, but the one on Main Street is too long. The lights on Larrabee and Bayside stay green for two or three minutes. They synchronize with the light on West Main Street. When you make a left onto West Main Street, the green is too long. We need a revision of the traffic study and enforcement of the speed limit."
The police did put up one of their mobile speed signs for a while on West Main Street, but then removed it. There is a shortage of these signs in Nassau County and they don't stay in one place for long, she said, after checking with the police.
Ms. Genco was told the Oyster Bay School District had one of the mobile speed signs and she called the school about two months ago saying the sign was needed "before there was an accident." It was put in place for a short time, but the problem continues.
Another possibility for the area is the installation of a rumble strip on the road that creates a vibration in a car as a hindrance to speeding. She plans on suggesting it to the 2nd Precinct commander.
One thing Ms. Genco feels stongly about is, "Hats off to the crossing guard. She is just standing there in the center of West Main Street and trying to direct traffic. She has been there a long time doing a good job trying to direct the pedestrians which includes the children who live near the school. [The OB-EN district does not bus children who live a quarter-mile from the school they attend.] These are little kids. Seeing them on the corner with the crossing guard, you can see that it is very dangerous. I am surprised people have not made this an issue before."
She said the biggest deterrent to speeding is for the police to be visible in the area and to give out tickets, as a way to get the public more aware of the problem.
One of the police officers from the POP division said he would try to make an appearance there, she said.
In the meantime she is working on giving out petitions to encourage the police to work on a new traffic study to slow the speeding in the 20 mph school district zone as well as to make the public more aware of the problem. Signing the petitions will make it clear to the police that the community is aware of the problems and wants them solved.