Hewlett and Woodmere residents took to social media in expressing their concerns surrounding the high traffic volume at district schools.
Hewlett resident Marianna Blokh posted her views on the traffic in the Hewlett-Woodmere District 14 Facebook group. “This evening, there was another two car collision at the intersection of Harvard Ave and Hewlett Ave,” Blokh wrote. “This is a heavy traffic area for parents who park their cars to walk with children to and from Hewlett Elementary. The stop signs are located only on the Harvard Avenue route.” The accident occurred on the night of Nov. 7.
Blokh has lived in Hewlett for two years and has a child that attends the Franklin Early Childhood Center. She thinks that an all-way stop at Harvard and Hewlett avenues could help the traffic and safety concerns. “Thank goodness there were no pedestrians walking nearby at the moment of the accident,” she said. “It is dangerous to cross that intersection on foot.”
The intersection is under the jurisdiction of the Town of Hempstead spokeswoman Susie Trenkle-Pokalsky explained the protocol from changing an intersection from a two-way to an all-way stop. “Residents would need to reach out and put in a request with the town’s traffic control division,” she said. “The traffic control division would then collaborate with the police and the DOT (Department of Transportation) for a traffic study.” Trenkle-Pokalsky added that no request had been made as of press time.
Carmen Durdaller has lived in Hewlett for 23 years. Her sentiments are in line with Blokh’s concerns. “There are different times of the day where it is not busy,” Durdaller said. “When it comes time for school drop off and dismissal, the traffic is insane. People who aren’t home at those times don’t realize how much traffic there is.”
Hewlett-Woodmere Business Association President David Friedman said that he hears traffic complaints from residents on a weekly basis. He acknowledged the traffic, but he said the biggest problem is the drivers. “There are people who just refuse to follow the law when driving,” Friedman said. “Last June, I was at Ogden Elementary, there was a person who parked near the entrance of the school and blocked everybody from leaving the school.”
Friedman said he noticed at the Woodmere Middle School on Peninsula Boulevard that there is no sign that indicates to drivers that they are in a school zone. “Usually at every school, there is a yellow sign that tells drivers they’re in the school zone,” he said. “For some reason at the middle school, that sign is not there. I’ve contacted multiple agencies about this and they couldn’t give me a straight answer as to why there’s no sign.”
Blokh said she doesn’t blame the school district for the heavy traffic. “This area is just highly congested but despite that, I think the district has done their best to keep school drop off and dismissal times organized,” she said. “We just need to have an all-way stop.”
District officials did not respond for comment by press time. Previously school officials said that they reviewed issues associated with road congestion and student safety at Franklin consistently for decades. Options were studied and subsequently deemed impracticable.
The town’s traffic control department can be reached at (516) 378-2260.