Editor’s Note: This article was written and submitted by Chris Boyle.
The North Merrick Public Library
hosted a panel discussion Wednesday regarding the safety of school crossings on Merrick Avenue.
The discussion was lead by North Merrick Library President Bill Pezzullo and North and Central Merrick Civic President Claudia Borecky. Others involved in included Nassau County Legislators David Denenberg, D-Merrick, and Norma Gonsalves, R-East Meadow, North Merrick Superintendent David Feller, Merrick Superintendent Dominick Palma, Nassau County Police Inspector Studdert and Officer Knox.
Pezzullo opened the meeting with a statement assessing the overall conditions of Merrick Avenue and the dangers it poses to children, especially at the intersection that Camp Avenue School
Pezzullo acknowledged the recent renovations the North Merrick district has undertaken with Camp Avenue, expanding the front driveway area of the school and allowing for more parking spaces and a safer area for children to get dropped off and picked up by their parents. Feller felt that these changes have improved the traffic flow in that intersection.
“I think there’s definitely been a difference,” Feller said. “We widened the traffic circle and lengthened it, so we can fit more cars in there. But my sense is that it’s a small difference, because that’s a very congested intersection there.”
Pezzullo agreed, saying that these efforts were not enough when it comes to ensuring the safety of local children.
“I think that every tax dollar that can be spent has been spent to make this area safer,” Pezzullo said. “The reality is that, on Merrick Avenue, we have more cars than ever before. We have people that are traveling at unbelievable speeds, disregarding traffic and school signs, and I don’t want to see the tragedy of an injured child...or even worse.”
Borecky suggested that the Nassau County Police randomly post a patrol car at a different school each day as a deterrent to reckless driving in school zones. Studdert stated that solution isn't currently viable, as the force is stretched thin.
“As with everything else in the world, we’re doing more with less,” Studdert said. “However, with the upcoming police precinct mergers, they’re telling us that they’re going to give us more people, so it might be possible to do in the future.”
Studdert mentioned that officer Ed Knox was conducting a study of the Merrick Avenue area, and, depending on his findings, additional future manpower could be delegated as needed.
Pezzullo echoed Borecky earlier sentiments and again insisted that the Police post at least one car each morning to Merrick Avenue.
“I truly believe that we’re at the point of enforcement,” he said. “You can put up all the signs and lights that you want, but you have a good percentage of drivers out there who are not obeying the law each and every day. I know the situation the County is in financially, but we’re talking about Elementary school children here.”
However, a member of the audience, Chris Ward, commented that enforcement alone wouldn’t solve the issue.
“You can give out all the tickets you want, but a year from now, you’ll have the same problem,” Audience member Chris Ward said. “I’ve sat at that light for three cycles in a row and gotten frustrated myself. Camp Avenue needs to be widened, and the intersection should be re-configured, because it’s offset, and that causes a lot of the traffic.”
Pezzullo stated that future meetings on the issue will take place until a solution is found to Merrick Avenue’s traffic woes and the impact they have on children’s safety.What do you think of the current situation regarding Merrick Avenue? Tell us in the comments below.Want more stories like this? Follow the Public Safety group and get instant updates in your homepage news feed.
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