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.