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Thursday, December 18, 2014
Five Towns residents oppose Costco’s gas station
(Page 2 of 2)
Jeffrey Bessen/Herald
Increased traffic volume in an already congested area is why some Five Towns oppose Costco's plan to build a 22-pump gas station at its Rockaway store in Lawrence.

Elisa Hinken, a longtime Inwood resident, decided to attend last week’s meeting to hear the presentation made by Baker before forming her opinion. Though she is a Costco patron, Hinken said adding gas pumps to its current Rockaway Turnpike location would add to the heavy traffic the roadway already faces. “The design of the roads does not properly serve any of the shopping areas on Rockaway Turnpike,” she said. “There are no right turning lanes, numerous bus stops, and along Route 878, there are no left lanes for turning. The traffic remedies are outside the scope that Costco can deal with, however, the mitigating circumstances cannot support the current traffic situation, let alone any additional traffic in the area.”

Hinken added that she was surprised to learn that Costco leases a portion of their parking spaces on a month-to-month basis from New York State Department of Transportation. “If the state decides to widen Route 878, a number of spaces they are banking on will be removed,” she said. “That could be a real game changer.”

Baker said he has had several discussions with the New York State Department of Transportation about the possible widening of Route 878. “The state has the project on the books but said it will not happen for the foreseeable future,” he said.

The meeting provided a chance to hear the concerns of the community, according to Baker. “We were aware that there were concerns so we thought it was a good opportunity to answer any questions, give more information than they have at this point and address anything we could,” he said. “Now we’re looking at the comments we received at the meeting and we’ll take it from there.”

Approvals are needed from both Hempstead’s town board and its Board of Zoning Appeals. There are no hearings scheduled at this time regarding Costco’s application.

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