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Residents Oppose Installation of Fence on Hempstead Turnpike

Residents say that the fence between Carmen and Franklin Avenues can be a safety hazard.

East Meadow residents are speaking out against the installation of a fence on Hempstead Turnpike between Carmen and Franklin avenues. The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) started to install the fence on Wednesday morning. 

"This project is part of our initiative to improve pedestrian safety on Hempstead Turnpike," Eileen Peters, public information officer at NYSDOT said.

However, some East Meadow residents think that the fence could do more harm than good.

John Nikiel has lived on Roosevelt Avenue for 12 years. He said that the fence is unnecessary.

"The state is installing a fence to prevent pedestrian fatalities on a stretch of roadway where, in the past 12 years that I have lived here, there has not been a fatality or serious accident," he said. "The nearest fatality was when three high school students were struck by a car at Carmen Avenue."

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Yvonne Amato, who has lived on First Street for 31 years, said that safety is her main concern. She said that if there is a passageway in the middle of the fence and a proposed red light installed, students from East Meadow High School would have to cut through the passageway to cross the busy street and residents were not informed if crossing guards will be in the area.

She also said that a possible opening in the fence could lead to more Nassau University Medical Center employees parking in neighborhoods on the south side of the hospital because they would be able to cross Hempstead Turnpike easier.

Both Nikiel and Amato have requested for residential parking permits for people who live across from the NUMC, due to the medical center's employees parking on their streets for hours at a time.

Amato is also concerned that emergency vehicles won't be able to park on the median where the fence is being installed.

"There was a major fire on Hempstead Turnpike last week and fire trucks and emergency vehicles parked on that median," she said. "If they were not able to, I don't think they would have been able to extinguish the fire so quickly. That is a major safety issue."

Nikiel said that he is bothered by the fact that the community was not given a chance to express their thoughts on the fence being placed on Hempstead Turnpike. 

"It is being installed without any input or requests for opinions from any of the residents in this area," he said. "It is also being done without any previous input from or notification to any local government officials."

What are your thoughts on the fence being installed? Tell us in the comments below.

Frank T January 13, 2013 at 03:59 PM
One knucklehead pedestrian interviewed by Newsday didn't notice the fence either while crossing and had to walk along the fence to the corner to get across the street. So it looks like it is already working.
Rebecca January 13, 2013 at 06:11 PM
*angels singing* Thank you. At least SOMEONE gets it!
Rebecca January 13, 2013 at 06:13 PM
Anyone here, against the fence, who actually works in traffic engineering? What, you mean you DON'T have engineering expertise, and you're just shooting off your mouth and your uninformed layperson OPINION? Let the NYSDOT do its JOB. For Christ's sake, if the fence isn't put in, and someone (else) were to die crossing mid-block on Hempstead Turnpike, these fools like Amato would be first in line screaming at NYSDOT to do something. Hypocrites.
John Bohl Sr January 14, 2013 at 03:37 AM
More than once ambulances responding to NUMC have had to use the island as an extra lane. I have already seen people get halfway across the road only to look up and see that they can't cross, then they walk along to fence to the end....people need to wake up and pay attention.
Susan January 14, 2013 at 08:23 AM
Thank you Rebecca! I cannot believe that people are against something that will actually save lives! As far as ambulances using the median as an additional lane, yes, I have seen that happen but not right in front of the hospital where this fencing is. Why would they need to be in the center of Hempstead Tpke. with the hospital right in front of them? I also don't understand why people feel that the State needs to "ask permission" of the residents to make improvements to the neighborhood. Like Rebecca said below, I'd bet none of you have engineering experience or apparently have even read the stories about this in Newsday. . It would have been nice if the author had interviewed someone for this article whose comment actually made sense or had interviewed someone in favor of the fence instead of presenting such a negative picture.

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