On Port Washington Boulevard six parking meters on the west side have been eliminated and a new traffic pattern has been imposed. There was no notice, and no invitation for input from the businesses affected or the residents of the town.
According to Town of North Hempstead Councilman Fred Pollack, this action was taken by the NYS Highway Dept. in order to implement a traffic plan created in 2001, eight years ago.
The plan removes vital parking which directly and seriously impacts businesses including DiMaggio's restaurant which has been at this location for 30 years. The new traffic pattern has sped up traffic considerably and has created a confusing series of turning lanes, one of which actually invites drivers to go into the designated Exit of North Shore Market.
NYS considers Port Washington Boulevard a highway even though the blocks from Knolls Cemetery to Main Street are part of our community's business district where town people shop and children walk to and from school.
In 2005 there were many evening meetings called Visionings held by leaders of the Town of North Hempstead, the village officials of Baxter Estates, Flower Hill, Manorhaven, Plandome Manor, Port Washington North and Sands Point, with the residents of Port Washington to discuss our vision of our town. I attended those energetic and vocal assemblies as well as a Saturday walk through our town with traffic and street design professionals.
In August 2005 the Shared Vision Plan - Port Washington Peninsula was published and distributed. On Page 23 you will find among the traffic and parking goals: "Apply traffic-calming measures," "Create pedestrian-friendly crossings," "Enhance parking availability." The text following states "Residents were interested in applying traffic-calming measures and enhancing enforcement of traffic laws to slow down traffic."
The New York Times, Sunday, July 20, 2008, Around Long Island (Page 5) headline story "Traffic Calming" reports the reduction of Great Neck Road, a major thoroughfare, to two lanes from four. Jean Celender, mayor of Great Neck, says, "It may sound counterintuitive, but our goal is to get traffic moving more slowly and to create more pedestrian-friendly streets." Ms. Celender continues: "We want to change Great Neck Road back into a village boulevard instead of the arterial highway it has become."
I believe our representatives, Councilman Fred Pollack, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and Senator Craig Johnson should be contacted and urged to take immediate action to remedy the parking and traffic changes. We do not need a speedway or a boulevard of empty stores.
Marie R. Bellon
Resident of PW for 43 years
Note: DiMaggio's Restaurant is owned by writer's son-in-law, Eddy and his partner Angelo.