Written by Dagmar Fors Karppi Friday, 14 September 2012 00:00
Oyster Bay-East Norwich (OB-EN) Superintendent of Schools Dr. Phyllis Harrington said at the first meeting of the new school year, on Sept. 4, that at the Oct. 2 meeting she would invite the committee and the senator to come and be publicly thanked for their work. Senior citizen Bob Martin’s accident several years ago at Johnson Court and Route 106 pushed him into his safety campaign for the road. He was joined by both Dr. Scott Cavagnuolo who has had experiences with cars driving onto his lawn on the corner of Coral Court and Route 106; and Rob Brusca, Oyster Bay Civic Association (OBCA) counsel and East Norwich Civic Association (ENCA) director, to search for ways to make the road safer. The men held meetings with Senator Marcellino and the Town of Oyster Bay officials and Mr. Martin spoke before the school board on the issues, getting them all on board.
Additionally, in the attempt to make driving along Route 106 safer, the committee has been working for more than two years with the NYS DOT to find a solution. Earlier this year, the DOT engineers proposed one lane heading south on Route 106 as a solution. When community support was not forthcoming for the suggestion, they withdrew it from the table in a letter dated June 5. They said, “Our study had shown one southbound lane on Route 106 could be removed and a two-way left turn lane added to improve the overall safety of this section without significantly impacting motorist delay and we requested input from our various stakeholders. Based upon their input, specifically, emergency response times and congestion due to slower trucks climbing the grade in this area, this proposal will no longer be progressed.” In other words, the community did not embrace their solution and the offer was taken off the table.
Dr. Harrington said the Oct. 2 school board meeting would be dedicated to thanking the traffic safety committee as well as to addressing other health and safety issues.
Christopher Van Cott, Oyster Bay-East Norwich Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Grounds attended the Sept. 4 town board meeting to monitor their discussion on traffic changes in the township. Town Supervisor John Venditto explained that the town is responsible for traffic control on the streets. The town board regularly addresses parking, stopping, crossing, loading zones, through traffic, trucking operations and other traffic regulations.
Among the amendments was a request from the school for no parking along the strip of roadway on the south side of East Main Street in the area by the student parking lot exits to allow better sight lines.
The ENCA has been in contact with the NYS DOT with a similar request for improved sight lines on Route 25A outside of Messina Market in East Norwich. According to residents, cars have difficulty exiting the popular store directly into fast moving highway traffic. The town allowed a parking variance for the restaurant, saying customers can park on Route 25A. The civic association has questioned the safety of that decision.
Virginia Kunken of the Teaching Studios of Art, located on Audrey Avenue, spoke to the town board requesting a change from two-hour parking to three-hour parking. Ms. Kunken said the school offers three-hour classes, and the students have to carry heavy art supplies into the studio, making it difficult to park in Firemen’s Field. “Most of us are seniors and now we all go out and juggle our cars around when we see a code enforcement officer there. If you could change it to three-hours that would solve the problem,” she explained.
Supervisor Venditto said, “If only all problems could be solved that easily.” He appeared to be in favor of the change as indicated on the resolution.
Mr. Venditto commented several times during the board meeting that they were willing to listen to residents complaints and to help solve them. He said, “We were born in a revolution against the government.”
The vote on the resolutions will be held at the next town board meeting on Oct. 2. There will not be a second town board or school board meeting in September because of the Jewish holidays during this month.
While motorists love a shortcut, local residents don’t – when it goes through their neighborhood. Lorenzo DeCullis of Greenvale commented on the traffic issues on Glen Cove Road in Greenvale in the area of Grace’s Market where drivers are taking a shortcut and using residential side streets to access Northern Boulevard as a way to miss the traffic tie-up at the crossroads.
Supervisor John Venditto listened to Mr. DeCillis who spoke regarding commercial vehicle parking signs, and asked the Town to maintain consistency with the signage located on the North Hempstead side of the road.
Complicating the issue is that the small section of land being discussed is under the jurisdiction of several municipalities including the Villages of Old Brookville and Roslyn Harbor as well as the Town of Oyster Bay and the Town of North Hempstead.
Supervisor Venditto said, “It seems like you need to be a lawyer to ride down those blocks.” He said of the cars seeking a short cut, “It’s a sign of the times,” and added a coordinator was needed to solve the problems since they are covered by so many different jurisdictions.