Drucker to address driving dangers on Roslyn Road

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A memorial at the intersection of Roslyn Road and Locust Lane, where two 19-year-olds were killed in 2014 when their vehicle ran off the road.

Two months into his first term as a county legislator, Democrat Arnold Drucker on Tuesday vowed to take all necessary action to ensure the safety of drivers on a dangerous stretch of Roslyn Road between its intersection with Locust Lane and I.U. Willets Road.

“Anything that’s going to save lives has to be explored,” Drucker said. “The issue on Roslyn Road is one of the top issues on my agenda.”

Drucker said he is happy with some of the improvements made on the road, including the installation of speed limit signs and flashing yellow warning lights.

“You can’t help but notice there’s something coming up ahead,” he said. “Any driver with sense would know to slow down.”

Drucker was unwilling to support more significant alterations like the installation of a traffic light or the reduction of the roadway from four lanes to two.

“There are two schools of thought with the traffic light,” he said. “Some when you see  the red light up ahead you’ll come to a stop. But many times a stop light up ahead turns to yellow and some ill-advised drivers step on the gas pedal rather than brake. Instead of going at a steady speed OK to navigate the turn, they hit the gas pedal and then they’re in real danger.”

With regard to a lane reduction, Drucker said creating more “traffic is not the right answer.”

He also expressed concern about the cost.

“Changing Roslyn Road from a four-lane to two-lane we’re talking millions of dollars. It would have to be the State of New York involved in that, the Town of North Hempstead involved and the county involved.”

“It might be rather cumbersome if there are other ways of dealing with it that can 100 percent reduce the rate of accidents,” he added.

A removal of lanes was explored in 2015 but was abandoned after objections from Temple Sinai of Roslyn, which is located on a four-lane portion of the road, and the East Williston Board of Education on account of traffic concerns.

Over the summer the county hired Nelson & Pope, an architecture and engineering firm, to develop a plan.

“I’m aware there has been a study done by them,” Drucker said. “I have not seen results of that study but I intend to follow up.”

The dangerous stretch of Roslyn Road became a central concern for Drucker’s predecessor, Judy Jacobs, in 2014 after two fatal accidents occurred on the road within a month of each other. Jacobs died due to complications related to cancer last September.

In March 2014, two 19-year-olds, Steven Clancy and Javier Gonzalez, were killed when their vehicle veered off Roslyn Road by the intersection of Locust Lane and went through the fence of an adjacent property.

In April of that year,  Facundo R. Ponce, 43, was killed when he lost control of his car and crashed into a charter bus on Roslyn Road near Heathcote Drive.

“Every issue that was important to Judy is important to me,” Drucker said.

He said he intends to meet with Town Councilman Peter Zuckerman to “find out how best to go about this issue in an expeditious manner.”

He said he may hold a public forum with Zuckerman in order to “see how the community feels it would be best served.”

“I’m the new kid on the block here,” he added.

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