Petitioning for traffic mitigation in Cedarhurst


Calling attention to vehicular traffic issues on Westminster Road in Cedarhurst, village resident Fred Siciliano created a petition that has nearly 30 signatures to hopefully turn the residential street into a one-way roadway.

Siciliano brought his concerns to the Nov. 1 village board meeting. The trustees agreed to resolve the issues should he return with a petition at the next meeting on Dec. 8.

Traffic issues on Westminster Road, located between Rockaway Turnpike and Arlington Road, have frustrated Siciliano for more than three years.

“Our street, Westminster Road, is a disaster with traffic and general lawlessness of the public,” he said. “It’s a terrible situation.”
Increased commercial construction on Rockaway Turnpike has increased traffic volume, he added. “As the traffic gets worse on Rockaway, everybody is looking for a way out,” Siciliano said.

Lawrence High School students also park on the street during the school day, narrowing the road. “With parked cars, two-way traffic can’t make it down the street,” Siciliano said. “Cars park solid on both sides of the street and now — someone’s going east and westbound — there’s nowhere for anybody to get by.”

Devorah and Michael Merwitz have lived on Westminster Road for 20 years and problems have gotten worse on the block in the last five to 10 years, they said.

“When parking is not backed up and the block is being used as a shortcut, people tend to speed down Westminster, treating stop signs as suggestions, Michael said. “It’s a recipe for disaster. I’m continually amazed at the number of times there are very close calls.”

There have been attempts by Westminster residents to have the village install speed bumps to mitigate traffic. Cedarhurst officials said the speed bumps inhibit snow removal.

Siciliano told village officials that the issue does not appear to be a high priority with the police. He said, when called, they respond occasionally, and if they do respond its between 45 minutes to an hour, look, see nothing and keep driving.

Siciliano said he has confronted police about the issue but has still had no luck. He suggested to the village board that eliminating two-way traffic on the block could be a solution, as parking is not his main concern.

“This is one of the few types of government that honestly believes that we’re here to serve you — we really do feel that way,” Deputy Mayor Ari Brown said. “We want to do what you guys want. If you could get some type of petition from your neighbors saying that that’s what they want then, the board is happy to do it, really.”

Going door to door Nov. 14 on Westminster Road, Siciliano took his hard copy petition, which proposes making the road one-way eastbound, from Rockaway Turnpike to Oxford Road. As of press time, he had collected 26 signatures.

If the village approves Siciliano’s petition, it will be appreciated by Westminster residents, said Devorah Merwitz.

However, Grove Street, in Cedarhurst, had very similar traffic dilemmas, was turned into a one-way, and has not seen much improvement.

“My concern is: who is going to police it?” Devorah said. Even if the one-way is accommodated, “people go whichever way they want to go.”