The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) recently addressed the concerns of East Meadow residents who recently spoke out against the installation of a fence on Hempstead Turnpike between Carmen and Franklin avenues.
The placement of the fence is part of NYSDOT's initiative to improve pedestrian safety along the 16-mile turnpike.
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.
Jennifer Post, spokesperson for the New York State Department of Transportation, said that the fence will keep all pedestrians safe.
"There are no breaks in the fence," Post said. "The fence will encourage pedestrians to cross at intersections that are more visible."
Amato said that she is also concerned that emergency vehicles won't be able to park on the median where the fence is being installed.
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"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."
"The median is 20 feet wide," Post said. "If emergency vehicles needed to utilize it they should be able to park on it and if they needed to, firefighters can cut the fence or knock it down."
John Nikiel, who has lived on Roosevelt Avenue for 12 years, 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."
Post said that the NYSDOT has met with both county and local officials and discussed the safety of the corridor.
"There has been publicity on this initiative," she said.
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