Wrong-way-facing stop sign in Massapequa
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There's a stop sign that faces the wrong direction in a shopping mall parking lot on Sunrise Highway in Massapequa. I have contacted the Town of Oyster Bay and the Nassau County Police Department and tried to reach the landlord. But officials don't seem concerned, as they are of the opinion that the sign is on private property. The mall is the one with a TGI Friday's, Barnes & Noble, and Sports Authority.
-- Louis Puglia, Massapequa Park
It took three months of back-and-forth correspondence with Oyster Bay Town to get results: In mid-June, the property owner removed the wrong-way-facing stop sign. The town expects the owner to install a new sign sometime this summer.
We first contacted the town about the issue in March. Officials soon inspected the site and verified that the stop sign was indeed facing the wrong way, according to town spokeswoman Marta Kane. Officials then contacted the property owner and were told the sign would be fixed "in the coming days," Kane said in an email.
But the problem persisted. We followed up with the town several times -- and the town followed up with the property owner -- before the stop sign was removed.
Puglia's initial reaction to the removal was not exactly positive because, after all, the work is not complete.
"This is like having a step ladder with a loose rung -- and to correct the problem you remove the rung," he said.
The town assured us that the property owner intends to install a new sign. The shopping center was built before the town required plans showing the location of stop signs, Kane said; today, new shopping centers must submit site plans that outline traffic flow and sign placement.
Oyster Bay residents with traffic sign concerns on town roads can call the public works department at 516-677-5935.
-- MICHAEL R. EBERT
Broken elevator in Amityville limits mobility for the disabled
It may take as long as two months before the work is complete, but repairs have been ordered for an elevator in Amityville that's been out of service since superstorm Sandy. Without the elevator, some patients with disabilities have not had access to a medical office on the second floor.
In a court proceeding Tuesday, Village Judge Elizabeth Niemi fined the building owner, the 2550 Corp., $750 and ordered that elevator repairs be completed in 60 days.
The elevator remained out of service after the building reopened, denying access to patients who can't negotiate the stairs. One is Gina Barbara of Wantagh, who has cerebral palsy and relies on a wheelchair.
Notices of building code violation were issued to the property owner in January and, when repairs weren't made, summonses were served.
In court, village prosecutor Glenn Nugent submitted an elevator-repair contract the corporation had signed. When the lawyer for the landlord, Stacey Wardle, indicated repairs might require more time, Niemi told her if the deadline isn't met, the building department could issue another summons.
Barbara encountered another obstacle when she arrived at Village Hall: The entrance is not equipped with an automatic door opener. Her father, Michael, opened the door for her.
We asked why such a new and award-winning building -- it was constructed in 2008 and honored for energy efficiency -- isn't equipped with a button or sensor that opens doors automatically, a device that seems to have become routine.
But not required, as it turns out. According to a summary of requirements on the Americans With Disabilities Act website, "Neither the 1991 Standards nor the  Final Rules require automatic doors to be installed."
Even though such assistance isn't mandated, automatic openers are "the easiest way to make it possible for people who have limited mobility to use a building independently," said Frank Krotschinsky, director of Suffolk County's Office for People With Disabilities.
When such modifications are in place, "you find that the guy who lives down the street and has limited mobility who never used the building before all of a sudden uses it," Krotschinsky said. "So I think it's certainly a good idea."
And, he added: "You don't have to just comply" with ADA guidelines -- "you can exceed standards."
Amityville Mayor James Wandell said the village will consult its adviser on accessibility issues. "In the long run," he said, making the building more accessible "is the right thing to do."
-- JUDY CARTWRIGHT