Speed signs warn drivers near New Hyde Park Road School

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From left: Erik Nakutavicius, New Hyde Park Road School principal Kim LaRegina, New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school district superintendent Jennifer Morrison, and county Legislator Richard Nicolello pose with one of the speed signs on New Hyde Park Road. (Photo courtesy of Legislator Richard Nicolello)

Any drivers speeding near the New Hyde Park Road School can no longer have any illusions about how fast they are going.

Nassau County workers installed a pair of signs on the elementary school’s namesake thoroughfare that show a car’s speed as it passes alongside the 20 mph speed limit.

The displays, placed near the intersections of New Hyde Park Road and Washington and Lowell avenues, were turned on Sept. 1, four days before the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school district’s first day of classes.

District officials and school staff pushed for the signs for about two years to curb speeding on the busy street, which creates dangers for crossing guards and school buses, said Erik Nakutavicius, the district’s director of facilities, operations and transportation.

“It’s definitely aided in everybody slowing down,” he said. “You’re still going to get people who don’t care about any of those signs, but it’s definitely helped a vast majority.”

Clara Yepes, one of the school’s crossing guards, was a big part of the effort, Nakutavicius said.

County Legislator Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) funded the signs with a $30,000 grant from the Legislature’s Community Revitalization Program.

The program funds various capital projects, such as streetscaping or infrastructure projects, from a pot of discretionary money given to each political caucus in the Legislature, Nicolello said.

Nicolello first pursued funding for the signs through the county’s borrowed capital budget, he said, which Democrats have blocked to push for more oversight of county contracts.

“With that stopping in its tracks it wasn’t going to get done, but I used a separate funding source to get it done,” Nicolello said.

Nakutavicius said he is unaware of any accidents in the area involving students or school buses. But the signs have a “visual impact” on drivers that encourages them to slow down, he said.

Similar signs with flashing lights near the Manor Oaks School on Hillside Avenue have had a similar effect, Nakutavicius said. Those were installed about 15 years ago, Nicolello said.

The district’s other two schools do not have such safety concerns because they are “tucked away” on two-lane roads rather than four-lane thoroughfares, Nakutavicius said.

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