Traffic safety has long been a major issue within the Village of Massapequa Park. Despite ample signage clearly stating the legal speed limit, reports of motor vehicles barreling throughout the area far in excess of what is lawful have been a regular concern of local residents for quite some time.
At the village’s Dec. 14 public board of trustees meeting, Massapequa Park Mayor Jeffrey P. Pravato headed up a public hearing to address a potential fix for one particularly dangerous crossing in the form of the installation of a three-way stop sign on Harbor Lane at the intersection of Thornwood Road.
Pravato noted that, despite the posted speed limit on Harbor Lane being 30 miles per hour, a recent week-long examination of driving habits in that area revealed an often startling disregard for traffic safety laws.
“Only 6.3 percent of cars are doing the speed limit or less,” he said. “Fourteen cars were doing 80-90 miles per hour; 97 cars were going 70-80; 761 cars did 60-70; 2,730 cars, 50-60; 3,195 cars, 40-50 and in the 30-40 mile per hour range were about 1,245 cars.”
Currently, the intersection is a two-way stop. Making the intersection a three-way stop, Pravato noted, would be safer overall. However, a resident who lives on Harbor Lane was present at the meeting, and she expressed doubt that the addition of another stop sign on her street would stop the underlying issue of speeding in the area.
“I’ve read that cars tend to speed up even more on the blocks in-between stop signs,” the resident said. “Plus, they’re already blowing through the stop signs that are there…this is a big concern. Have the police been involved? Perhaps we could put a cop on that corner…perhaps if there are repercussions and people are being ticketed for going 80 or 90 miles an hour…they’re going get their licenses taken away. But there’s never any police around here.”
Another Harbor Lane resident echoed the opinions of his neighbor, stating that the issue with speeding in his community was getting out of control and simply placing another stop sign would only amount to the equivalent of a band-aid on a gushing wound.
Pravato stated that the village has reached out to the Nassau County Police Department numerous times to step up enforcement of traffic laws within the village, but was told that the resources they have at their disposal are unfortunately such, that any effort the police could provide would simply be a stop-gap measure at best for the time being.
“It’s all a manpower issue with them,” Pravato said. “We tell them, they go there for a day or so and write a couple of tickets, but it’s nothing permanent. We do have flashing digital speed signs around the village, but not down by Harbor Lane because people don’t want them near their homes there.”
Despite the concern over speeding in the area, the low turnout of local Harbor Lane residents for the public hearing and the doubt expressed by the ones that did attend that an additional stop sign will adequately address the problem caused Pravato to table the matter for consideration on a future date.
“If people aren’t in favor of this, we can table this for the time being,” he said. “However, we are going to do some research into the problem, and when we get back to this stage again the public will be notified and another public hearing will be held. That’s what’s so great about Massapequa Park…some people complain that their villages decide things behind their back, but not here. We listen to you.”