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East Norwich Civic Association Meets And Updates Current Local Issues

DOT Proposal on Traffic Calming on Route 106 Discussed

East Norwich Civic Association President Matthew Meng said after their Jan. 26 meeting. “We had a good meeting. We had about 10 people and had a good healthy talk about what we are going to do this year. It included comments on the traffic up and down Route 106 [and the DOT proposal for only one lane southbound in the area of the Vernon school, plus a turning lane.

“East Norwich Fire Department Chief John DeBellis said they will oppose it because it would slow down the response of the volunteers getting to the firehouse so their response/arrival time will be impacted.

“On the other hand, if you are one of the people living on Route 106, anything is better than it is now. In general people don’t want to see a change,” Mr. Meng said.

Joe Boorstein said, “People are suspicious of it. If it slows cars without jamming traffic I am in favor of it, but if it makes the road look like the Oyster Festival, I don’t want it.” [During the October Oyster Festival weekend traffic is a continuous line coming and going along Route 106.]

The men added the concern that to avoid that possible bottleneck of traffic drivers might go through Sugar Toms Lane to miss the one lane section change proposed.

“And then there are people who would use the turning lane as a passing lane, [which already happens] and that would create greater accidents as a result,” said Mr. Meng.

Mr. Boorstein said, “A good way to slow the speeding cars would be to have a radar speed monitor wired to the Vernon traffic light and someone going 50 mph would turn the light red. The word will spread and people will learn not to speed.”

“If you stay at a constant 40 to 42 mph you can go right through. If you go over you get caught,” said Mr. Meng.

Mr. Boorstein said the NYC subway system already has such a method of insuring trains don’t speed. He added, “You have to ask the DOT to do it. It’s easy for me to say, but the technology definitely exists,” he added.

Rob Brusca arrived at the meeting after the MSA meeting and suggested, “It’s worth a try.” He said the DOT is willing to try the proposed system and if it doesn’t work they would remove it.

Mr. Boorstein commented, “It’s not a long enough distance to make that much of a difference to get to the East Norwich firehouse.”

Mr. Brusca commented on the Route 106 issue, “I don’t see that it will necessarily be a steady stream of traffic in the southbound lane all the time. At the most heavily traveled times, it will be a more steady and single stream of vehicles, but it will slow things down and make things safer on that stretch of roadway, in my opinion, which is the entire point in seeking slower and less aggressive driving in one of the most dangerous areas of 106 in OB-EN for everyone.

“Also, the light at Vernon will continue to operate as it does, providing some degree of breathing room from any stream of traffic - whatever the time of day,” he added.

The DOT sent their proposal letter to the Oyster Bay Civic Association; the East Norwich Civic Association; to NYS Senator Carl Marcellino; Assemblyman Montesano; Legislator Judy Jacobs; Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton as well as to Town of Oyster Bay traffic and safety officer Josephine Macchia.

A town spokesperson said they sent the information they received on to the East Norwich Fire Department and the Nassau County Police Department for their comments – which they will then send on to the DOT. The state is the lead agency on the issue. “Route 106 is a state road so the town does not have jurisdiction over it,” she explained.

Route 106 Accident

The ENCA did not meet in November and December because of the holidays. At the January meeting they discussed an accident that occurred in November on Route 106, opposite the firehouse at the entrance driveway to a flag lot. “An accident caused $9,000 in repairs to a BMW,” said Mr. Meng.

A truck was going into the 9-foot wide driveway of a flag lot off Route 106. He said a truck had to pull out into traffic to get into the driveway. “The lot was so small, the builders had to contract with the neighbors for a place to put the dirt. They had no room to put the dirt on the site as they dug the foundation.” No one in the civic association was aware of just how big the house was going to be. The members said the builder had to get several setback variances for the house. It had been an empty back lot of the original owners, who recently sold the wooded property for development.

Only one neighbor tried to fight the use of the lot for a house, but no one in the civic group was aware of how big the house would be when completed. The town has tried to discourage using panhandle lots by requiring variances – which in this case the ZBA allowed.

Cell Tower Issue

Mr. Meng said Muttontown Mayor Julianne Beckerman attended the meeting. He said there is a possibility that there might be a cell tower put into the Muttontown Preserve. Muttontown has jurisdiction over what happens there. Mr. Meng said he informed Lisa Ott of the North Shore Land Alliance of the proposal and added, “They are not allowed to put cell towers on parkland. Lisa didn’t know that.”

Mr. Boorstein commented, “At least it is away from public view,” but Mr Meng said, “The issue is - then what else can you take from the parks. Where does it stop?” and Mr. Boorstein agreed.

The ENCA meets the third Thursday of the month at the Community United Methodist Church in East Norwich at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome and discussions and issues are open for residents’ comments.