On a daily basis, Oceanside resident Rita Paragas’s home violently shakes because of trucks driving along South Long Beach Road — between Foxhurst and Merrick roads. Paragas is one of many people in the community calling on the county to fix the road.
“Something has to be done,” said Paragas, who lives on Franklin Place. “I’m scared.”
Paragas and many Oceanside and Rockville Centre residents have described the daily disruptions as “earthquakes,” and have contacted the county in the hope that the situation will be remedied.
Paragas and other residents said the shaking is more than just a mere interruption; it has cracked windows, walls and ceilings in their townhouses, the Glenn Association Condominiums. It has also deterred them from bringing children outside, where trucks speed by on bumpy roads that have not been paved in years.
“There have been reports of vibrations, movement of furniture and cracks within the units,” members of the Glenn Association board told the Herald via email. “The high speeds of traffic movement along [South] Long Beach Road was also a concern to residents as this street is commonly used by families with young children.”
On Dec. 7, Paragas and five of her neighbors sent a letter to county and Town of Hempstead officials, explaining the issues and requesting road inspections and speed regulations.
According to the letter, the issue affects 23 units within the Glenn Association condos in Oceanside, as well as eight homes across the street over the Rockville Centre border.
“We would ask that you schedule a full engineering inspection as soon as possible so we could discuss what you need to do to correct the situation before it becomes any worse and results in further damage,” the letter reads, “and also to assure the safety of our occupancy and that of our neighbors.”
County officials received the letter on Dec. 10, put it under investigation and have contacted residents about their concerns, according to county spokeswoman Mary Studdert.
In the past, the county inspected this part of Long Beach Road for concrete panel repairs, Studdert said. After this inspection, the section between Atlantic Avenue and Duncan Place, which is one road south from the area in question, entered the approval process for repairs slated to happen this year. After hearing residents’ concerns, the county will conduct a field inspection to determine whether to increase the boundaries of repairs to include Franklin Place. In addition, the county has filed a work order with its traffic-engineering department to investigate the area and determine the next steps to ensure pedestrian and vehicular safety.
“As part of the county executive’s ongoing efforts to repair the county’s aging infrastructure, we currently have traffic studies scheduled for Atlantic Avenue and Long Beach Road in Oceanside,” Studdert told the Herald.
Paragas has lived in the Oceanside townhouse for seven years. She has a 2-month-old daughter, and said she has to sleep in a different bedroom because her room faces South Long Beach Road and the reverberation of noise through the house caused her to wake up throughout the night. “It’s so awful,” she said.
But it hasn’t always been like this. Residents said the problem has gotten exponentially worse in recent years.
Rockville Centre resident Theodora Hamezopoulos has lived across the street from the complex for 40 years and said the trucks were always loud — but the shaking and the damage caused has never been as bad as it has become in recent years. She said she used to hear the noise and feel the shaking only in the front of the house, but now it can be heard and felt throughout her home and has cracked her walls.
“You think you’re in an earthquake zone,” she said. “I’m three houses from the traffic light. When that light turns green and a big 18-wheeler hits the gas, you think the house is going to crumble around your ears.”
At a public meeting in Mineola late last year, she brought the problem to the attention of County Executive Laura Curran.
The county plans to work with the Town of Hempstead to address speeding concerns in the area, including additional speed limit signage, Studdert said.
Paragas said that residents and the condominium board have attempted to get road and traffic conditions resolved multiple times, to no avail, and it has caused residents with young children to move out because they are scared to be in their backyards.
“Every time they go by, my townhouse shakes, and it feels like a small earthquake,” said Lana Lipstein, of Franklin Place.