Great Neck schools approve traffic study for North

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An aerial shot of the proposed parking lot, as seen on page 26 of an April 3, 2017 presentation regarding the bond, shows the project would involve adding 97 new stalls and reconfiguring the current lot. (Photo courtesy of the Great Neck Public Schools)
An aerial shot of the proposed parking lot, as seen on page 26 of an April 3, 2017 presentation regarding the bond, shows the project would involve adding 97 new stalls and reconfiguring the current lot. (Photo courtesy of the Great Neck Public Schools)

The Great Neck school board approved an $8,700 traffic study for the vicinity of Great Neck North High School and Great Neck North Middle School on Monday night, to be completed before the end of the school year.

Burton Behrendt Smith, the school district’s architectural and engineering firm, issued a request for proposals in March for firms to analyze how traffic patterns have changed in the area. Nelson & Pope ultimately had the lowest bid, $8,700.

When asked if the board might reconsider plans to create a parking lot by North High School if the study showed a possible adverse impact, Great Neck school board President Barbara Berkowitz said the board would not abandon the project.

“We said we would not eliminate” the lot, Berkowitz said, adding that board members were not opposed to tweaking the plans.

“Traffic patterns change, population changes, so it’s a very wise idea to do it and it’s the right time to be doing it,” Berkowitz later said on Tuesday evening, adding that the lot was “probably the impetus” for conducting the study.

The parking lot at Great Neck North High School has been a subject of debate for the past few months, with meetings sometimes featuring more than a dozen community members arguing about its necessity and how much thought went into the project.

The planned 97-unit parking lot, to be located at the corner of Beach and Polo Road, is part of a $68.3 million bond package approved 6,299 to 1,925 last year. It included critical infrastructure repairs and school upgrades throughout the district.

The lot is expected to cost $591,700, while reconfiguring the Polo Road corner lot with it would be about $60,000.

Nearby residents have argued that the parking lot is not needed because students can park at the nearby Parkwood Sports Complex and that residents were not given explicit notice about how they might be affected.

They have also suggested it would worsen flooding and traffic issues and unnecessarily eliminate a soccer field.

School officials have previously said the lot gives students ample room to park, reflects a reality that most have jobs and other responsibilities, and the field to be paved over is rarely used.

They have also said the information was well advertised and disseminated during last year’s push to pass the bond.

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