Long Beach school officials are asking Hempstead Town and Nassau County to lower the speed limit on a stretch of Lido Boulevard.
School officials are trying to get drivers to slow down on the 2-mile stretch of Lido Boulevard between the Loop Parkway and Prescott Street.
Many drivers can top 50 mph on the road marked with a speed limit of 40 mph that heads into Long Beach, according to the school district.
The limit later drops to 20 mph by Lido Elementary School, but officials said the road is too dangerous for children walking or biking to school.
“It’s natural to do, but people don’t slow to the 30 [mph], and we have kids crossing the street and parents expressed major concern about kids crossing a six-lane road,” said Long Beach Superintendent David Weiss. “In the morning, everyone is rushing. We’re looking to tame the traffic during that time of day. This is not a highway.”
Weiss has suggested making the speed limit 30 mph throughout Lido Beach and Point Lookout so it is uniform with Long Beach, designating the same speed limit across the entire barrier island. Atlantic Beach, west of Long Beach, lowered its speed limit to 25 mph last year.
Long Beach school officials submitted a request to the Town of Hempstead this month asking to change the speed limit, but it may also require approval from Nassau County because Lido Boulevard is a county road.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino has supported lowering the speed limit, but the proposal would require a traffic study and a review by Nassau County traffic control and public works.
“There is heavy traffic along Lido Boulevard, and I support reducing the speed limit from 40 miles per hour to 30 in order to enhance safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists,” Santino said in a written statement.
The town board would likely repeal both the 30 mph speed limit and the 40 mph stretch to establish one uniform road at 30 mph, town officials said.
The proposal was also endorsed by Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, the Lido and Point Lookout Fire District and the Point Lookout Civic Association.
Nassau County police have aggressively patrolled the straight, open stretch of road, which is lined with parks and beaches, as vehicles approach homes and Lido Elementary School.
For a brief period three years ago, the limit was enforced with speed cameras, but the controversial program was shut down after about three months by Nassau County legislators when residents complained.
“When the speed cameras were here, they worked,” Weiss said. “The roads were safer and traffic was slower. Now people don’t slow down if they’re driving into Long Beach. It only adds a minute longer for someone’s drive.”
Weiss said he doesn’t think more stop lights or crossings are the solution when drivers are already speeding up to blow through a yellow light.
Long Beach officials have started to synchronize their stop lights to keep speeds at 30 mph, but not all stop lights are synchronized and they do not extend beyond the city limits.
Weiss said he does not expect the speed limit to be lowered by the time school starts after Labor Day, but said he would like to see it reduced as soon as possible.
New signage would have to be added if the town board approves the reduced speed. Town officials do not have an estimate when a traffic study or a vote would be held.