Assemblyman Tom McKevitt, R-East Meadow, recently addressed the new No Turn on Red signs on Hempstead Tunrpike and the fence that was installed in East Meadow between Franklin and Carmen Avenues at February’s Levittown Property Owners Association meeting.
The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) said they installed the new signs to improve pedestrian visibility and safety after Hempstead Turnpike was rated the deadliest road for pedestrians.
However, McKevitt and a number of residents have taken issue with the new signs, stating their placement was not well thought out.
“The NYSDOT’s response was, ‘there’s bad press, so do something’,” McKevitt said. “It seems like every place there was a cut, they put a NTOR sign. It was a knee-jerk reaction.”
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Eileen Peters, a Public Information Officer for the NYSDOT, told Patch in January that the signs are supposed to work in conjunction with pedestrian intervals that are being installed at traffic signals on the street. The goal is to give pedestrians a head start in crossing a street before vehicles are given a green light to proceed, she said.
The signs were installed at a number of locations along Hempstead Turnpike. as well as an additional 142 locations between the Nassau/Queens border and NY Route 110, bringing the total to 232 locations.
McKevitt said the signs have caused more traffic and congestion now on Hempstead Turnpike than before, with drivers being more impatient as a result. He said it has also made it more difficult for emergency vehicles to get through.
“It was not a well thought out plan,” McKevitt said. “They just put them up.”
Another issue brought up at the meeting was a newly installed iron fence in front of Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, which McKevitt said has been causing problems for the fire department.
The fence was installed to discourage pedestrians from crossing Hempstead Turnpike mid-block and to rather use the intersections. However, this scenario prevents emergency vehicles from using the center median for travel in case of an emergency.
A number of East Meadow residents oppose the fence, calling it a “safety hazard” for emergency vehicles and citing other concerns.
“Although there hadn’t been any fatalities there, they put it up,” McKevitt said. “Getting in and out of the medical center is another big problem.”
McKevitt said he’s been in contact with the department and expects them to do a further study of their safety initiative.
Do you think these NTOR signs on Hempstead Turnpike are necessary. Do you think the fence should be in East Meadow? Tell us in the comments below.