Community members in Baldwin voice concerns over this intersection


Patricia Boscaino of Baldwin heads north on Grand Avenue after work, planning to merge into the left lane that leads to the St. Luke’s Place community where she has lived since 1976. Rather than making a smooth turn, however, Boscaino often finds herself maneuvering to dodge oncoming traffic, because drivers headed in the opposite direction mistakenly occupy the same lane to make left turns.

“You’re entering the lane to make your left-hand turn (to St Luke’s Place) and someone is heading right at you,” Boscaino told the Herald.

This problem became a significant one last year, following a recent change to the traffic pattern on Grand Avenue as a result of the completion of Nassau County’s Complete Streets Project in the hamlet. Initiated in 2017, the project encountered delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic and emergency sinkhole repairs last June.

The work on Grand involved reducing sections of it from four lanes to two and adding a center left-turn lane, as well as repaving the road and reconfiguring traffic signals. But the lane from which northbound vehicles turn left into St. Luke’s Place is not a shared left-turn lane. It is intended for those entering St. Luke’s Place only. 

“It used to be where you almost had to wait until the light turned (red) and one car was able to make a left-hand turn onto St. Luke’s Place,” Boscaino explained, referring to the traffic light at the corner of Grand and St. Luke’s Place. “So the turning lane, I thought, was significant, because now, when people can head north and you’re in the turning lane, you make your turn when it’s safe.

“But when you’re in the lane, no one comes at you,” she added. “But if you’re about to enter the lane, someone’s heading straight at you.”

Grand Avenue, which is maintained by Nassau County, begins in Baldwin Park and stretches north to Hempstead. At Atlantic Avenue, it becomes County Road 55. It continues north, crossing Merrick Road and Sunrise Highway, until it reaches an interchange with the Southern Parkway, near the Hempstead village line. St. Luke’s Place is several blocks north of Sunrise Highway.

“While my office has not yet received any calls or emails from constituents specific to this intersection, we continuously monitor traffic safety conditions on Grand Avenue to ensure the Complete Streets improvements are achieving their intended outcomes,” County Legislator Debra Mulé, who represents Baldwin, wrote in an email to the Herald. “We are in constant communication with the (Nassau County Police Department’s) First Precinct regarding traffic safety across the Sixth District and will ensure they are fully appraised of these concerns so that appropriate resources can be deployed.”

Boscaino has occasionally had to alter her route home to avoid the intersection, resorting to maneuvers like turning into the nearby Superfresh shopping center parking lot and making a U-turn.

Carol Marvelli, who also lives on St. Luke’s Place, has had similar encounters with southbound drivers on Grand since the Complete Streets Project was finished.

“It makes you very nervous,” Marvelli said. “I was coming south on Grand Avenue, and as I got to the light, I noticed a car in front of me pull into that turning lane that was supposed to be for St. Luke’s Place and pulled into the gas station from that turning lane.

“So if anybody was coming the other way, he was already in that turning lane,” Marvelli added, “and he wasn’t supposed to be there.”

According to the NCPD website, no accidents have been reported at that location since last December, but Marvelli’s daughter, Bea, said that an accident is bound to happen if the situation isn’t addressed.

“It’s awful,” said Bea Marvelli, who turns onto St. Luke’s Place from northbound Grand to visit her mother during the week. “I would say probably half the times that I make a left turn to go up St. Luke’s Place, somebody is narrowly avoiding hitting me, because they were going to pull into the lane, and they see that I’m pulling into the lane and (they) swerve. It happens constantly. It’s so dangerous.”