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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.

John Bohl Sr January 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Maybe people should install common sense and learn how to cross a street without looking down at their phone or with headphones on. Then the government wouldn't use our tax dollars to "protect" us.
det2659 January 11, 2013 at 02:02 PM
I guess the governor has enough money to waste on a useless fence. I am assuming this may go hand in hand with the rash of newly installed NO TURN ON RED signs that appeared overnight. Try making a right turn onto Hempstead Turnpike from the Colony Diner now. NYSDOT get a life somewhere else!!
Frank T January 11, 2013 at 02:32 PM
What's the rush? So you make the right on red and then sit in traffic on Hempstead Turnpike. The problem with the right on red is that many drivers do not stop and then make a right turn. This makes it difficult to cross the street when a driver does not look for pedestrians before turning. In regard to the fence it probably is a waste of money and another eyesore on that blighted stretch of roadway.
Charles January 11, 2013 at 05:28 PM
The money wasted by this Administration & local gov is pathetic!!!! I can't!!! Just pathetic! A fence? Why not put barbed wire while you're at it!! Just because the fence is black, it'll be a rusted nasty, sore eye maintenance headache down the line!!! Way to go idiots!!!
Susan January 11, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Not giving my opinion here but fencing was installed on Queens Blvd, which has 10 lanes and not just 6, and countless lives have been saved. Queens Blvd. has been called the Boulevard of Death. People can no longer cross just anywhere and now must go to corner where there is usually a traffic light. Of course, people should use common sense when crossing Hempstead Tpke or any street, but in most cases they don't. I have had to slam on my brakes many times because of people running across the Turnpike both during the day and at night wearing dark clothes, especially by the hospital. Yes, you can blame the person for crossing like that but can you live with the fact that you hit somebody if you did??? People have been killed crossing Hempstead Tpke. I remember 2 brothers who were hit (one died) a few years ago. It might not have been in that exact location but it's happened. And I personally know of 2 others who have been hit and critically hurt. They are still recovering years later. To Ms. Amato, it is NOT going to make crossing Hempstead Tpke, easier, It's going to make it harder to cross. That is the whole point of the fencing in the first place.
Brent M. January 11, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Some places were definately needed for the right turn on red signs.. but did the NYS DOT do the research and study the rate of accidents compared to the traffic patterns at the dangerous locations... bc they just spammed Hemp Tpke with too many signs! and yeah the signs at colony diner do stink.. it causes more traffic when the school lets out and now you are going to have people cutting around the diner parking lot to avoid the sign! So basically its just a matter of time till it causes an accident!
paul January 11, 2013 at 09:09 PM
You are so correct. It is tuff to correct stupid though..
paul January 11, 2013 at 09:11 PM
I love reading nonsence that the naysayers bring to the table.. BUILD IT BIGGER
robert January 12, 2013 at 07:19 AM
It looks nice and neat now, but how will it look a year from now when all the garbage that the pigs throw out of their cars gets stuck in the mesh.
Anthony Cimaglia January 12, 2013 at 02:45 PM
This is the real problem. Every one has an opinion. It's a good idea period. This is why builders run from long island... All these opinions stunting jobs and growth on long Island. Dumb opinions like this killed the lighthouse project and even 135 going to Connecticut. Get over it and go with the flow.
Brent M. January 13, 2013 at 12:40 PM
I was driving by Hospital and didnt even notice the fence.. so I dont think its a major distraction.. it is what it is... and yeah I guess we can blame the people who cross illegal.. and I also agree with robert, it looks nice.. but what till we have a few wind storms... newspapers and bottles will probably accumulate all over fence..
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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