New Hyde Park Road will be fully closed from Plaza Avenue East to Clinch Avenue for seven months starting Feb. 3 for LIRR third track work, village Trustee Rainer Burger said at a public meeting last Thursday.
There will be no temporary road to accommodate the closure despite initial calls for one from the village board, Burger said. He said that after a meeting with 3TC, the private firm hired by the LIRR to construct the project, both parties agreed that a full closure would be the safest option.
“The mayor and I met with [the third track developers] on Dec. 9. We reviewed a number of options,” Burger said. “At the end of the day, the safest way to move forward was the actual, full closure of New Hyde Park Road.”
The closing of New Hyde Park Road has been a source of debate for some time in the village. At a meeting in early December, Burger said that the developers for the LIRR third track were eyeing the full closure with no temporary road, which he and Mayor Lawrence Montreuil still opposed.
What changed his and Montreuil’s opinion was discovering that the temporary road would have been closed “40 percent of the time” due to track work, which would cause a concerning amount of traffic changes.
The New Hyde Park Road grade crossing in the Village of New Hyde Park is one of eight street-level crossings along the LIRR Main Line corridor being eliminated as part of the LIRR Expansion Project from Floral Park to Hicksville.
The New Hyde Park Road grade crossing poses a safety risk to drivers, pedestrians and LIRR customers, the MTA said. The grade crossing, they said, also contributes to noise and air pollution and causes longer commutes for drivers and LIRR customers.
The MTA said there were six fatal crashes at grade-crossing locations on the LIRR Main Line corridor between 2007 to 2017.
“This coming year we plan to finish up most of the work in New Hyde Park including simultaneously rebuilding the train station and eliminating the grade crossing at New Hyde Park Road,” MTA spokeswoman Meredith Daniels said.
As with all the work on the third track project, the MTA is looking to do these two major elements in the “fastest and safest manner,” which includes closing New Hyde Park Road during construction in the vicinity of the train tracks, Daniels said.
“As always, the project team will continue coordinating with the county and the villages, and will provide advance notice to the public about any road closures and traffic detours and train service changes,” she said.
The New Hyde Park grade crossing is being reconstructed to feature a new five-lane underpass with pedestrian sidewalks on the east and west sides of the underpass, the MTA said. There will also be a left-turn lane from southbound New Hyde Park Road to Clinch Avenue.
The trustees also bade farewell to board Secretary Janet Bevers, who retired at the start of the new year after 15 years of service to the community. Montreuil described her retirement as “well deserved.”
“Janet you’ve been the face of New Hyde Park,” Montreuil said. “You’ve done so much to define the village character.”
Montreuil commended Bevers’ knack for putting concerned villagers at ease and her dedication to organizing the annual New Hyde Park street fair and last year’s “Community Day.”
Bevers said the position actually started as part-time temporary help, but due to her dedication and love for the community, her involvement grew.
“The job just kept growing and developing and it’s been such an incredible time here,” Bevers said. “I leave somewhat bittersweet because … I love you all.”
Bevers said she has the “most utmost respect” for the current village board and the others she served preceding it.
“If there’s one thing this job taught me it’s the importance of local government,” she said.
She promised both the board and the regular meeting attendees that she will still be around.