East Williston school board President Mark Kamberg said Monday a plan by Nassau County to narrow Roslyn Road from four lanes to two from the south service road of the Long Island Expressway to south of I.U. Willets Road has been put on hold.
“As of now, the entire project has been put on hold until the county can complete that study,” Kamberg said at the board’s regularly scheduled board meeting. “We were promised we would be apprised and that study would be shared with us, but we shall see.”
Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) supported Kamberg’s assertion, saying Tuesday the Rules Committee of the Legislature would now only be considering the hiring of an expert firm to design changes to Roslyn Road intended to improve traffic safety in what she termed the “first phase” of the process.
“The Department of Public Works instructions to the firm will be to look at the corridor involved and to make suggestions as to improvement that could be made along the roadway,” Jacobs said in an email.” Their study will include police reports on the accidents, alignments of the road, lane widths, history of past accidents at Locust Lane and Roslyn Road. Once their report is completed, they will report their findings to the Department of Public Works. Department of Public works, in turn, will share with us, as legislators, the recommendations the firm suggests. In turn, these suggestions will be shared with the community which includes the East Williston School District, the [Temple Sinai and Temple Beth Sholom] and the Holiday Farms shopping strip.”
“The bottom line is that, right now, we are only talking about design suggestions which will then be discussed and shared with the community before any final decisions are made,” Jacobs said.
In an interview with Blank Slate Media, Jacobs said in late October that the final phase of the Roslyn Road improvement has been completed and she was hopeful that it will be heard and voted on by the Rules Committee at the meeting of the Nassau County Legislature on Oct. 29.
She said at the time that the changes would condense Roslyn Road from I.U. Willets Road to the Long Island Expressway Service Road from four lanes to two — one in each direction.
The cutoff for Locust Lane would also be eliminated. Jacobs said drivers would have the ability to “stack up” and make a normal right turn with the help of a traffic a light.
“You’re going to see a traffic light at Roslyn Road and Locust Lane,” she said. “You’re going to see normal turning. You’re going to see two lanes, one in each direction, hopefully going the speed limit, and hopefully curing the problem.”
East Williston school trustees raised concerns about Jacobs’ comments at a subsequent board meeting and criticized the county for having to learn about the proposal in a story that appeared in the Williston Times.
“It was not brought to the district’s attention via Nassau County, although it should’ve been” he said. “Based on the way it’s being proposed, this could have an impact on our district’s transportation as well as our community as a whole.”
The district then sent a letter to Jacobs, calling for the county to present the study of traffic patterns that led to the proposal that Roslyn Road be narrowed before any changes are made.
“We have numerous bus stops on Roslyn Road in the area in question and the Board would like to further understand the traffic volume during the hours of a school day, in order to fully understand what kind of traffic back-ups there will be as a result of buses making numerous stops and starts along a proposed one lane in each direction (on) Roslyn Road,” the board said in a one-page letter signed by Kamberg and the other four school trustees.
The East Williston school trustees said they believed lesser changes could alleviate the problem and called on the county to consult with the board before moving ahead with any changes to the roadway.
Officials from Temple Sinai and Temple Beth Sholom joined the East Williston Board of Education in expressing concern about to the proposed changes to traffic patterns on Roslyn Road.
Temple officials said that traffic could not be handled if Roslyn Road was narrowed from two lanes in each direction to one.
Kamberg clarified his comment from Monday’s meeting on Tuesday, saying that his concerns related only to the narrowing of the roadway from four lanes to two — not the entire project.
The district, Kamberg said, was under the impression that the county was going to move forward with the with the project without allowing for input from the community.
Kamberg said he has been in contact with Jacobs by email, and he is happy with the direction the project is progressing.
“[I’m] glad [Jacobs and I] are on the same page,” Kamberg said.
Board trustee David Keefe echoed Kemberg’s praise, saying he was “quite pleased” with the county’s prompt response.
“The next day we got a response from one of the legislators,” he said.
Town and county officials have been seeking to improve safety on Roslyn Road following a series of accidents on the stretch of the roadway from the south Service Road to south of I.U. Willets Road.
In March 2014, Mineola teenagers Steven Clancy and Javier Gonzalez, both 19, were killed when they drove through the fence and into the backyard of the home of Dr. Ronald Rosen at 66 Oak Lane in Roslyn Heights.
The teenagers hit a tree and were killed as they were ejected from their 2004 Volkswagen Jetta.
Less than a month later, in April 2014, 43-year-old Facundo R. Ponce died when he lost control of his 2006 Dodge Dakota pickup truck and crashed into a charter bus near the corner of Roslyn Road and Heathcote Drive.
The accident injured the bus driver and a passenger.
In mid October 2013, a motorist who was allegedly inebriated crashed through side fence of Rosen’s home and totaled a car parked in the driveway.