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Letter: Not Enough Suds to Clean This Mess

In the dead quiet of summer, on Tuesday, Aug. 23, the North Hempstead Town Board granted permission for a car wash to be established, on the block of Beechwood Avenue nearest to Port Washington Boulevard.

For those not familiar with the location, it may seem a quiet block, but in truth it is anything but.

Many, many cars, coming from the residential side of the Willowdale Bridge, turn right onto South Bayles and then left onto this block of Beechwood. They probably hope to avoid a very long wait at the traffic light at Willowdale and Port Boulevard.

I was one of many residents speaking against the proposed new car wash. I am seriously concerned that the additional traffic generated by this business, when added to the amount and kind of traffic already there, will result in a terrible accident.

Councilman Fred Pollack did succeed in getting various ameliorating conditions added to the measure; but he could not stop the car wash measure from getting passed. The councilpersons and supervisor voting “for” cited various reasons, from “beautification” (of what will still be a manifestly industrial block); to thinking they are being vaguely pro-business; to achieving the apparently long-desired ouster of Chester’s Towing. Ultimately, only Mr. Pollack and Mr. Angelo Ferrara voted against the proposal.

Living on the “other” side of the tracks, as I do, I must drive up and down Willowdale Avenue, conservative estimate, ten times a day. I have already lost count of the number of times per day I look up to see a car, SUV, or UPS truck barreling straight for me, in that one short block, because already there isn’t room for us to pass each other in the amount of roadway left by cars, trucks, and what-all parked on both sides of Willowdale.

This is before you factor in cars darting onto Willowdale in a last-ditch attempt to by-pass through the carwash, breaking into the long line of traffic patiently waiting at Willowdale for the Port Boulevard light.

And it certainly does not factor in the 40-cars-an-hour which at its peak the car wash hopes to attract. That’s 40 extra cars, an hour, added to traffic that is already making Willowdale and South Bayles two very busy, very dangerous streets.

Most ominously, the intersection of Willowdale and South Bayles (which would have to feed all the car wash’s traffic to the one-way block of Beechwood where it will be located) is a bottleneck of the worst kind, where all the middle and high school kids who walk to either Weber or Schreiber must cross, twice a day. There is no crossing guard at that intersection or even, from what I can see, a reliable “walk” signal for the light there, where car after car is hoping to make a right-on-red and leave town.

I and many others opposed the car wash not because we are opposed to business, or because we like to keep our cars dirty – but because we are very concerned that, with this business added to an already volatile mix, there will be blood. And when there is, the only clean hands will belong to Councilmen Angelo Ferrara and Fred Pollack. At least they tried.

Judith Epstein Curtis