Readers Write: NHP’s suburban lifestyle under threat

The Island Now

The Village of New Hyde Park is 0.86 miles in size and home to approximately 9,854 residents with a population density of 11,467/sq. mile.

Whether we are longtime residents or relative newcomers, the vast majority of the residents who choose to live here do so because our village is predominantly made up of privately owned, single-family and two-family suburban homes.

We are just two stops from the largest metropolitan area in the entire world. We fully acknowledge that there is massive pressure on us to be the solution to problems that, for the most part, we did not create nor presently exist here.

Less face it. There is a reason why the Third Track Project was renamed the LIRR Expansion Project.  It was never about what we were originally told by Gov. Cuomo, the MTA/LIRR and others about easing commuter demands, the ‘reverse commute’ or on-time performance.

If it was, when the MTA/LIRR installed the third track, they would also upgrade all the signals, switches and other dysfunctional technologies that regularly plague the LIRR’s main line during this project. They aren’t. Not even the federally mandated ‘positive train control’ technology is being installed.

We surely have our doubts about whether the newly proposed $5.7 billion for the LIRR in the next MTA Capital Budget will “modernize” the line in the future either.

The LIRR Expansion Project has nothing to do with ‘modernization’ at all; it’s all about laying down a third track and building transit-oriented, mixed-use development to accommodate the increasing numbers of workers who can’t afford to live in NYC where they work.

Ms. Curran stated, “…the project (Covert Ave. crossing elimination) is ‘another milestone’ reached for the LIRR Expansion Project which she said will support transit-oriented development throughout Nassau County and helping spur growth in local communities for generations to come.”

Despite the ribbon-cutting ceremony, let’s be clear. First, the Covert Ave. crossing elimination project has not been completed as yet. Perhaps if Ms. Curran stayed longer during her photo-op visit, she would have observed that.

Residents, especially those who live along that route, continue to endure negative impacts to their daily lives, their properties and their livelihoods.  In her statement, Ms. Curran didn’t even acknowledge the overwhelming sacrifices made by village residents as a result of this project.  That was surely a red-flag moment for all of us.

Secondly, New Hyde Park is not a blighted community. In fact, our property values are soaring. Why? Because people in the Long Island region and beyond have learned about our quaint village, our family-oriented values, our strong support for our local government, our schools, our libraries and our local community-based and school-based organizations — and, they want to live here, too.

Mixed-use transit-oriented development, its implied impacts to parking, traffic and infrastructure, noise pollution, along with increased stresses on our schools, fire and police districts, sewer system, gas and electric utilities, and our quality of life are all implied consequences of these TOD proposals.

If any revitalization is considered in our village, not only must everyone be included in the vision for it, but the plans for it must respect our traditions, our culture and our values.  Anything less is not progress – it is pure exploitation.

Couple the aforementioned concerns with the negative impacts of the Nassau IDA’s multi-year ‘tax incentive agreements’ which are often granted to the developers of these downtown revitalization proposals.

Since local government real property taxes and school taxes are levied only on taxable property, the more tax-exempt property there is in a jurisdiction, the greater the tax burden on the rest of the taxpaying public.  This would be a huge burden to us here in New Hyde Park.

From senior citizens living on fixed incomes to new, young families who sacrifice much to live here, we are all concerned about our future here. That’s not nimbyism, as Ms. Curran loves to coin it. That is the bottom-line reality.

The Village of New Hyde Park is at a crossroads. Our mayor and Board of Trustees are the duly elected voices of NHP’s voting and taxpaying public –  not the MTA/LIRR, not state and county politicians who know nothing about us, and not the big-money developers (and campaign donors) who value the 32-minute commute to NYC far more than our quiet suburban, family-oriented life and our peaceful neighborhoods.

Although NHP is beautiful tapestry of people from all different walks of life and cultures, we share one unshakable bond.

The overwhelming majority of NHP village residents resoundingly reject Gov. Cuomo’s, Ms. Curran’s ‘transit-oriented’ vision for our future.  We live in a democratic republic and, sadly, they have failed miserably in their respective roles to represent their constituents.

Over the last several months, thousands of NHP residents have joined together in a historically unprecedented manner.

The LIRR Expansion Project was our alarm clock and, yes, the sleeping giant has been awakened. We remain vigilant. We remain united. We pledge to preserve and protect our suburban neighborhoods from the political agendas of some who have demonstrated little interest in our values, our culture and the goals we have for our families and future.

New Hyde Park will not be sold out to the highest bidder. And, our votes will constitute our collective voices.

Diane Bentivegna

New Hyde Park



Share this Article