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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Cleaning up the Nassau Expressway
Worthy volunteer effort in Inwood, but New York state is responsible
Jeffrey Bessen/Herald
Inwood residents and landscaping business owners in Inwood mowed the grass and cleaned up the shoulder areas of the Nassau Expressway.

Nearly three months ago, after hearing non-stop complaints from residents about the overgrown grass and debris on the Nassau Expressway, which runs through Rockaway Turnpike in Lawrence to the Atlantic Beach Bridge, Inwood resident Pete Sobol decided to bring volunteers together to mow the grass and clean up the roadway.

“It’s always been a thorn in the side of Inwood residents,” Sobol said about the roadway’s condition A state road, it is designated Route 878. “In Lawrence, [the grass along Route 878] looks like a professional ball field, but in Inwood it looks like an overgrown field.”

According to Beau Duffy, the director of Communications for the New York State Department of Transportation, the state is responsible for maintaining the “shoulders” along the expressway from the railroad tracks, north to Burnside Avenue.

“During the summer months, we mow about once a month,” he said. “We’re not responsible for mowing along Route 878 in the Village of Lawrence, that is the responsibility of the village and Nassau County is responsible for all maintenance on Route 878 north of Burnside Avenue.”

Sobol and other residents, as well as landscaping business owners, meet each Saturday morning for a weekly cleanup. “We went from a small focus team to a nice group of people practicing good citizenship,” he said. “We’re proud of who we are and where we live and we don’t want our community to look like this.”

Longtime Inwood resident Patty Vacchio got involved with the clean up of the roadway after Sobol contacted her and she attended several meetings to discuss the planning and coordination of the group.

“The appearance of our community means a lot,” she said. “I don’t remember [Route 878] being maintained regularly and I always felt it had a very unkempt look before anything was done.”

Roy Meserole, a lifelong Inwood resident, has been a member of the New York State Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway Program for the Nassau Expressway since the highway was built in 1988. “We mainly pick up litter because it’s nice to see everything is nice and clean,” he said.

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