Turnpike gets safety upgrades

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Erath added that she sees a driver run a red light at least once a week, but students usually listen to her when she tells them to wait on the corner as cars turn left onto Hempstead Turnpike, or to walk before the light turns red.

A crossing guard is also posted at Hempstead Turnpike and Carman Avenue when school ends, from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., but, said East Meadow PTA President Roxanne Rose, students in grades 11 and 12 can be seen crossing the roadway during their lunch break, and many others walk across the eight-lane road when after-school activities let out.

Currently, the only scheduled DOT improvement on the East Meadow section of the road is the addition of median fencing between Carman and Franklin avenues — which, Rose said, was not discussed with community members.

“When you have a school involved, it’s in your best interest to contact the community to see what the issues are,” she said, “because sometimes a blanket solution isn’t going to solve the problem.”

When Rose met with PTA presidents this month, there were more questions about the fencing than answers, she said. PTA members wanted to know details that are not yet available, and are asking for a community discussion with the DOT.

“Everyone’s heart is in the right place,” Rose said, adding that safety is the priority for both the community and the DOT. “The question becomes implementation.”

The roadway improvements began after McDonald called in February for the first comprehensive engineering safety analysis of Hempstead Turnpike in its history. The analysis studied both short- and long-term ways to improve safety. The DOT focused on educating the public on pedestrian safety, in addition to physically improving the roadway. And this spring, the Nassau County Traffic Safety Board began a public education campaign focused on pedestrian safety.

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