Nassau Legislator Richard Nicolello, chairman of the Committee on Planning, Development and the Environment, has scheduled a public hearing on the recently released Nassau Hub Study.
The hearing, which is actually the second that the legislator has called pertaining to this issue, is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. It will be held in the legislative chamber, located on the fifth floor of One West Street in Mineola.
"The purpose of this hearing is to focus on the critical issue of the traffic in the central Nassau area, specifically as it relates to access to and from the Hub area," Legislator Nicolello said.
"At first glance, I do like some of the proposals contained in the study. They do sound like they could definitely improve traffic congestion in the area. On the other hand, there are other elements of the Hub study which could, in fact, actually work against us.
"My goal in scheduling this hearing is to put everything on the table, let the public see it, and stimulate talk about it," the legislator continued.
"You know, these committees, like the one that is formulating a plan for the future of the Hub, hold meetings and decide on proposals and the average citizen doesnt even know they exist. That, in and of itself, is bad for the residents who will be impacted by those decisions.
"At the same time, I believe that it is also bad for these committees. They're operating in a vacuum," Nicolello said.
The legislator made reference to Robert Caro's acclaimed biography of builder Robert Moses, who changed the face of the New York metropolitan area over a 50-year career, and who was known as a man who pursued his goals without thought to the potential consequences.
"The fact is, we're in the situation that we're in now because there was'nt enough participation by the public and even by local government officials while suburbia was growing."
For the upcoming hearing, Legislator Nicolello has arranged for a series of presentations by people involved in formulating the proposals contained in the study.
These include Dr. Lee Koppelman, director of the Long Island Regional Planning Board; Paul Ponessa, Director of the Nassau County Planning Commission; Steve Latham, Commissioner of the Nassau Department of Commerce and Industry; and Dr. Paul Koch and Michelle Bertomen, of the New York Institute of Technology.
"Among the elements of the report that I most object to," Legislator Nicolello said, "is the proposal to build a new train station in Carle Place. The numbers of people using mass transit presently are miniscule, and I really dont see how building that station would really enhance those numbers.
"Further, I don't really see it as reducing automobile traffic in the area. Trying to get Long Islanders to abandon their cars is really going against human nature."
While the legislator believes that there is merit in connecting some sites within the Hub by a people mover &hibar; his law office is actually located within the borders of the Hub and he believes a people mover of some type would help curb lunchtime traffic at the very least &hibar; overall he thinks the plan contained in the report "is overreaching."
"By no means do I mean to denigrate the entire report," Legislator Nicolello said. "As I've stated, my goal is to bring the public into the process. At the same time, if there is something good contained in this two-volume study, let's shepherd it along."
However the bottom line right now, as far as the legislator was concerned is this:
"Mort Certilman, the chairman of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Privatization Committee and a member of the Long Island Regional Planning Board, can put his stamp on this, but remember, Nassau County government hasn't endorsed any specific plan yet."