Traffic light demanded at rally after Hempstead girl killed by car

A rally was held to demand that a traffic light be installed on South Franklin Street and Burnett Street in Hempstead as well as increased safety procedures and enforcement of traffic laws around Hempstead schools. The rally comes after Nicole Clarke's daughter was fatally struck by a motor vehicle in June. Videojournalist: Chris Ware (Sept. 12, 2013)

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Nearly three months after a 10-year-old Hempstead Village girl coming out of a dance recital was fatally struck by a car, community leaders and parents are demanding a traffic light and stricter enforcement in the area to avoid another death.

More than 40 New York Communities for Change and Workplace Project members, residents and young students rallied Thursday afternoon near a makeshift memorial for Shamay Braham on South Franklin Street and Burnett Street, where she was struck.

The fifth-grader from Franklin Elementary School was hit by a car on June 14 about 5:30 p.m. as she crossed the street from the Percy Jackson Youth Center, about three blocks from her school. Shamay died June 20, weeks before her 11th birthday on July 9. The driver in the crash was not arrested because it was determined, through the account of an off-duty Hempstead Village police officer, that "pedestrian error" was responsible for the accident, police said.

"It is not safe for the kids, not just for the loss of my little girl," said Shamay's mother, Nicole Clarke, 39, of Hempstead, who attended the rally with her daughter Goddess Braham, 5, and wore a T-shirt with a picture of Shamay. "We need a traffic light there or a speed bump to prevent speeding. I want something to be done ASAP."

Protesters complained that there is no traffic light at the intersection, and only one traffic light on a nearly half-mile stretch of South Franklin between Peters and Marshall streets. Franklin Elementary School, Marshall Elementary School and the youth center are along that stretch.

"We demand for them to do something for our kids now," said Franklin School Parent Teachers Association president Unique Redd, 36, whose daughter Azaria Robinson, 11, was friends with Shamay.

Nassau County Department of Public Works spokesman Michael Martino said the county has already begun to address the issue. "The DPW has already initiated a traffic study at this location and expects results within the next several weeks," Martino said in a statement.

Clarke said, "Thank God. Something has to be done."

Hempstead Village Police Chief Michael McGowan said they have placed two speed signs with radar readings near the schools and have also been conducting speed radar enforcement, resulting in issuing numerous speeding tickets.

"We have been doing heavy enforcement on South Franklin Street," said McGowan, who concurred with the call for a traffic light.

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