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Politicians want to add light on deadly roadway in Roslyn Heights

Roslyn Heights residents want a traffic light added

Roslyn Heights residents want a traffic light added to the intersection of Locust Lane and Roslyn Road -- the site of three fatal crashes in 2014 that occurred in a four-week span -- because of a sharp curve that drivers might not see before it's too late. Above, the road on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The September death of Nassau County Legis. Judith Jacobs stalled efforts to reduce accidents at a deadly intersection in Roslyn Heights, but her successor is part of a renewed push to install a traffic light on the roadway.

North Hempstead Councilman Peter Zuckerman said this week that there is new interest in adding a traffic signal at the intersection of Roslyn Road and Locust Lane. Zuckerman has met with Jacobs’ successor, Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview), and the two plan to host a public forum about the intersection next month.

“The real crux of the situation is that we need a traffic light at that intersection,” Zuckerman said. “And we have been working on this for quite some time.”

Zuckerman said Jacobs had wanted to have a public hearing on the issue and get a light installed this year.

Locust Lane is a town road within North Hempstead, but because the four-lane Roslyn Road is a county thoroughfare, Nassau County officials must approve, construct and maintain any new stoplights.

Zuckerman met last month with Drucker and explained why residents believe the section of Roslyn Road just south of Locust Lane is dangerous and want a stoplight there, including its history of traffic accidents.

In 2014, three people died near the intersection in a one-month span. In March 2014, Steven Clancy and Javier Gonzalez, both 19 and from Mineola, were killed when their car struck a curb and crashed into a tree in the backyard of a home in Roslyn Heights. Less than a month later, Facundo R. Ponce, 43, of Glen Head, died after his pickup truck collided with a charter bus on Roslyn Road in Albertson.

Drucker said Tuesday that the traffic on Roslyn Road is “one of the most problematic in the county.” He said addressing the concerns is one of his top priorities.

He said county officials are also considering reducing Roslyn Road to one lane. He said public works officials conducted a traffic study last summer that suggested a one-lane option would be a better long-term solution.

Still, a stoplight isn’t completely off the table, Drucker said.

“The installation of the stoplight is certainly the fastest and most cost-efficient option to the road, and it would satisfy most residents’ concerns,” Drucker said.

When a public hearing is held, residents would be able to comment on what they would like to see officials do to fix the intersection.

“They’re looking for something immediate, but we have a responsibility to look into the feasibility of doing long-range corrections, too,” Drucker said.

Jonathan Cheris, president of Temple Sinai of Roslyn, said he favors adding a stoplight. His temple is about 100 yards north of the intersection.

Cheris said he drives on Roslyn Road every day and a sharp curve means drivers don’t see it until it’s too late. North Hempstead Town officials have put signs near the intersection on Locust Lane, but don’t have the jurisdiction to do the same on Roslyn Road.

“You don’t have a line of sight ...[where] the road starts to bend,” Cheris said. “People can accelerate, and it’s not always clear that the curve is about to happen.”

Cheris said he believes a stoplight would fix the problem and “protect our members as they’re going in and out of the temple.”

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