Slowing down motorists on Hempstead Turnpike

DOT agrees to lower speed limit amid safety concerns


The New York State Department of Transportation, acting on the recommendation of State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, will reduce the speed limit on Hempstead Turnpike in West Hempstead from 35 to 30 miles per hour after conducting a traffic study. The change will make speed regulations consistent with neighboring communities that the road runs through, including Franklin Square, Elmont and Hempstead.

“Anything to promote pedestrian and vehicular traffic safety is something that the community and this association appreciates,” said Rosalie Norton, president of the West Hempstead Community Support Association. “Lowering the speed limit will help accomplish that.”

Norton said that residents, along with the WHCSA, had urged local legislators to look into this issue. In August 2016, Kaminsky wrote a letter to DOT Regional Director Joseph Brown calling on the agency to study lowering the speed limit on the West Hempstead portion of the turnpike. Brown met with Kaminsky and agreed to have his office conduct a traffic study, which determined that a lower speed limit was prudent.

“Hempstead Turnpike is a major artery of West Hempstead and Long Island at large, which is exactly why we need to lower the speed limit, thereby reducing accidents on this busy thoroughfare,” said Kaminsky, who is a member of the Senate Transportation Committee. “I am pleased New York State DOT heeded my call to make consistent the speed limit throughout Hempstead Turnpike at 30 miles per hour, and I look forward to continue to work with transportation officials to ensure our roads are safe and well-maintained.”

Norton added that while she thought this was the logical choice for the DOT to make, the WHCSA’s support, along with that of residents, was needed to make this change possible.

“You can’t do this by yourself,” Norton said. “You really have to have the cooperation of our [community] to do something like this. This change won’t be detrimental to pedestrians and motorists. It can only help them.”

More important, Norton said, motorists usually speed along the turnpike, which is lined with storefronts and local businesses. She said she was hopeful that lowering the speed limit would solve the problem.

“If [motorists] adhere to the speed limit, it will certainly go a long way in helping pedestrians to cross the turnpike more safely,” she said. “The end purpose is to make it safer for everyone.”

Norton also said that with more focus on speeding, the DOT should conduct other traffic studies on busy roads in Nassau County.

“In this day and age,” she said, “with the amount of residents that we have, and the amount of traffic that’s on the road, you’re going to have to start rethinking what they allow as far as speed would go on every major road.”