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Opinion

Last December I announced that I would run this year for police district commissioner. Since that time, however, my situation and lifestyle have improved by virtue of re-entrance into the state of holy matrimony, and I find that married life is too much fun to allow any time to fulfill the duties of police district commissioner. So, I'm not running.

Anyone who wants to unseat Commissioner Sal Zimbardt should file their nominating petition (25-plus signatures required) between Oct. 15 and Nov. 4.

On Sept. 9, a meeting was held at Town of North Hempstead town hall regarding the Port Washington School board's request for a permit to add an additional curb cut along Bogart Ave. adjacent to the Schreiber Athletic Field. The new cut is to provide entry to a new partially constructed parking area on the Bogart Ave. side of the field. There is an existing cut that may be used for exiting the parking area, although there is some question whether it is suitable. Supervisor Kaiman and Councilman Fred Pollack, chaired the meeting. Assistant Superintendent Mary Callahan, who was asked to represent the school administration on extremely short notice, showed great patience and did a great job under the circumstances. Two members of the school board were in attendance, but felt they should not make any comments during the meeting.

Although the meeting was called to discuss the application for the curb cut, it turned into a discussion of the need for, and advisability of, the proposed parking area. This letter addresses some key issues raised at the meeting. Other issues related to the proposed parking area were raised in the Letters to the Editor column of Sept. 16. It is my hope that the board will withdraw or otherwise put on hold the current application until the questions raised at the meeting are adequately addressed.

It is estimated that the new area would add between 25 and 35 parking spaces; the exact amount depends, to some extent, on how much space on either side of the new and existing cuts is required for safe entry to, and exit from, the new area.

The administration does not know at this time whether the proposed area will have to be expanded to accommodate future staff increases. I left the meeting with the clear impression that the area would be expanded since further growth of school staff is expected.

The impact of the proposed location on student and driver safety and traffic patterns had not, at the time of the meeting, been discussed with the Port Washington Police. I note that the stop sign at Elm and Bogart which is almost exactly where the new cut would be placed, is routinely ignored and will increase the risk of an accident as cars enter the parking area.

At this point school policy appears to be that if a senior student requests a parking spot, it is issued. The district should rethink whether senior parking is a right or privilege and whether need should be considered before a parking spot is issued.

There appears to be unused space adjacent to the existing Monfort Field parking area (behind the Post Office). If that space has not been considered for the additional parking then it should be.

The new fencing arrangement that surrounds the proposed new parking area restricts safe access to the Schreiber playing field. Those desiring to enter the field, either to use it for play or as a shortcut for Bogart to Schreiber must now do so by walking on the track and exiting to the field at a fence opening at the Campus Drive end of the track.

Why can't the unused area bounded by the new wing of Schreiber, Campus Drive and the track be used for parking? While the initial costs to make this alternative space suitable for parking may be greater than the cost for the space along Bogart, over the longer term the alternative space makes more sense. For example, if additional parking is needed in the future the area could be readily expanded to include unused areas along the Schreiber exterior wall facing the athletic field.

I respectfully request that we take another look at our alternatives for resolving the need for parking so that we are not facing the same issues in a year or two.


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