Three years since it was first announced that a roadway-resurfacing and sidewalk-repair project was planned along West Broadway for 2016, work has yet to begin, and Nassau County is just now preparing a design request for proposals for a drainage study.
County Legislators Denise Ford and Howard Kopel, both Republicans who represent portions of the Five Towns, said they hoped residents would soon have a newly paved street, but the county must first overhaul the road’s drainage systems. Ford said that in the last email she received from Ken Arnold, commissioner of the county’s Department of Public Works, in early June, she was told the department was working on the request for proposal.
“There doesn’t seem to be enough drains, we want to make sure the ones we have work or are fixed, and we’ll add any more that we need,” Ford said.
At a public hearing in June of 2017, Kopel explained why it is important to make sure the road can handle heavy rain, especially given the area’s tendency to flood, before the process of repairing it begins. “It would have been exceedingly wasteful and foolhardy to tear up sections of West Broadway while that study was going on,” he said, “and then potentially having to tear up parts of it again after repairing it.”
Kopel blamed the slow wheels of government for the project’s slow start. In most cases, he explained, the county would repair the road and leave the sidewalks and curbs to the town or villages, but the county will repair curbs as well as part of this project. Kopel said he believed the road was neglected for so long that people were driving on the curbs, reducing many of them to rubble.
Ford said that she and Kopel would push to have sidewalk improvements included with the road and curb repairs, but, Kopel explained, “The sidewalks are technically the responsibility of the local municipality. There are exceptions, and Legislator Ford and I are trying to get them to make that exception here. Money is an issue. Money is always an issue . . . It’s a matter of if the administration wants to allocate the money from the capital budget.”
“We’ll be looking to get as many of the sidewalks repaired as we can,” Ford said.
According to Mary Studert, spokeswoman for the DPW, the county is planning to do curbs where feasible or necessary due to the Americans with Disabilities act or drainage needs, but “Full sidewalk replacement is not in the plans,” she said. “As the county is not responsible for sidewalks.”
The West Broadway Committee, a group of resident who are campaigning for the project, expressed concern that pedestrians have to navigate West Broadway without sidewalks in many places, and that there are several damaged utility poles along the street, which only add to the hazards. In some cases, the poles’ bases have splintered, and are lashed to newer poles for support. The residents describe the double-pole look as unsightly.
“I’d like to see [West Broadway] repaved,” said Wendy Klang, a Woodmere resident. “New curbs and trees should be put in as well — it’s in pretty bad shape right now. It all needs to be redone. We’ve been waiting for a while.”
Klang mentioned the PSEG substation, across from Serena Road in Hewlett, as a particularly bothersome eyesore. There used to be landscaping in front of the station, she said, but now those who pass by see a parking lot full of trucks. “[PSEG] could do their part to help beautify the road,” Klang said.
The double-pole problem appears to be an issue for the utility companies to solve. “The last company to move their facilities off the pole is responsible for removing it,” said PSEG-Long Island spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler. “There are still some facilities left on the pole, likely from the cable company. Our wires are up high; cable and phone companies’ wires are lower.”
While residents are understandably eager for the repairs to begin, Ford warned them that once it does, West Broadway will not be any easier to traverse. “It’s going to be hell,” she said. “Everyone is anxious to start . . . but we want to let residents know that while this is going on it, won’t be a lot of fun. At least parts of the road will likely have to be closed down at different points.”
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