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Traffic Light After Death

A month after the death of a woman crossing Route 106 near the Norwich Gate apartments in East Norwich, the state transportation department has approved a new traffic light.

“We’re heartened with the announcement,” said Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs, following the New York State Department of Transportation’s announcement of approving the permit for a traffic light at the entrance to Norwich Gate, on Route 106 here near the Stop & Shop supermarket.

“This is something that we have been working on for years,” she noted, “though it is sad that it happened after such as a tragic death.”

“We’re delighted but it’s long overdue,” said Matt Meng, president of the East Norwich Civic Association. He cited years of efforts by his organizations, the Oyster Bay Civic Association, and others to slow traffic and heighten safety along that stretch of northern Route 106.

The long-standing effort to install a light there to slow down traffic on Route 106, also known as Pine Hollow Road, and to ease crossing by Norwich Gate residents were heightened following the death of Margaret Bolanos, who was struck Jan. 8 while walking back from Stop & Shop.

“She was a beautiful person,” said Pat Brownell, clubhouse attendant and longtime resident of Norwich Gate. “Many of our residents were so upset.”

Norwich Gate is part of Heatherwood Communities, which develops and maintains apartments and rental communities on Long Island. Heatherwood, along with the local civic associations and various government agencies, have been calling for action regarding speed and safety concerns along Route 106.

The state transportation department approved a permit for the traffic light last month “based on studies and plans submitted by” Heatherwood’s engineering consultant, said Eileen Peters, public information officer for Region 10 of the state transportation department, NYSDOT Region 10, Long Island.

According to state law, Peters explained, the state transportation department cannot install a traffic control device at a private driveway. Because the entrance to Norwich Gate is a private driveway, state law would require Heatherwood to install the traffic light and maintain the signal in the future. State approval is required before hand.

“Now the ball is in Heatherwood’s court,” Jacobs said. “I’m confident that they will follow through after having worked on it for so long. The reasons for delays have been eliminated and the way for action is clear.” Heatherwood officials have declined to comment.

The requirement that the property owner install and pay for maintenance of the traffic signal, Jacobs said, was one of the complicating factors that delayed efforts to install the light.

“And with government, things take longer,” Jacobs said.

Before the transportation department’s announcement, the East Norwich Civic Association at their regular meeting at the United Methodist Church here considered the situation. After discussion, the association voted to have Meng contact the transportation department to call for measures to enhance road safety, including a traffic light at that spot.

Meng noted that the local civic associations for years have worked with the state transportation department to encourage action on traffic issues. “They have been fairly cooperative.”

For example, said Robert Brusca, a board member of the East Norwich Civic Association and attorney for the Oyster Bay Civic Association, NYSDOT officials approved a flashing beacon sign on Route 106 near Vernon Middle School here to remind drivers of the school zone speed limit and to encourage more cautious driving.

At the East Norwich Civic Association meeting various speakers pointed out that the lack of a traffic light makes crossing from Norwich Gate to Stop & Shop difficult. In addition, the absence of sidewalks on the stretch of Route 106 in front of Norwich Gate makes it difficult for residents to walk to the traffic light a half a block north and closer to Stop & Shop.

“I’ve lived here 25 years,” Brownell said, including her 10 years as clubhouse manager of Norwich Gate and the concern “comes up frequently.”

“We’re happy” that the state approved the traffic light, Brusca said. “Whatever will make that road safer is best for everyone.”

News

On Saturday, July 5, Building J on the Western Waterfront was opened to the public for a free concert of classical music played by talented youth in the Oyster Bay Music Festival. The acoustics in the large metal shed were lively as the backdrop of the Ida May, a wooden oyster dredge under construction, lent artisanal flavor to the rich stew of mostly sea-related musical selections. People sat on stacks and benches of freshly milled wood or stood in the cavernous space. They soaked in beautiful solos, duets and trios that combined voice, piano, flute, cello and violin. Frank M Flower & Sons provided fresh oysters that engaged the palate, and representatives from Steinway & Sons gave a quick overview of how their pianos are made, relating several aspects of their meticulous process to the construction of the Ida May.

Last week was one of Oyster Bay’s biggest, most anticipated summer events, the Italian American Society’s St. Rocco’s Festival. Returning to its usually spot in Fireman’s Field on Shore Avenue, the festival was filled with amusement rides, live music, and great food and company.

“We come every year to St. Rocco’s with friends,” said Laura Regan of East Norwich. “The rides and awesome food make it a lot of fun.”


Sports

Oakcliff’s intensive training program provided a high level of competition last weekend at the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship in Oyster Bay.

This year, the teams selected for the event were highly ranked through the United States, and several of the competitors are past and current Oakcliff trainees, including Elizabeth Shaw, Kathryn Shiber, Madeline Gill, and Danielle Gallo.

A total of 11 members of St. Dominic Track Team (grades 1-8) recently medaled at the Nassau-Suffolk CYO Championship Finals at Mitchel Field. In the finals, the athletes competed against the finalists from all three regions, representing more than 2,500 athletes from 23 other parishes.

In addition to the student athletes’ success, the track coaches were honored as well. St. Dominic CYO Track coaches Phil Schade (grades 1-3), Julie and Mike Keffer (grades 4-6) and Rich Cameron (grades 7-8) were selected by peer coaches in their region for the NSCYO Team Sportsmanship Award. The Saint Dominic CYO track program, in its second year, has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with and the young runners are among the best on Long Island.


Calendar

OB Band Concerts

Wednesday, July 23

Music Under The Stars

Friday, July 25

Annual Chicken BBQ

Saturday, July 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