The New York Department of State approved the creation of an exclusive left-hand turning lane at the corner of Union Turnpike and New Hyde Park Road, a civic group announced in its newsletter last Thursday night, to address what it calls “a complete disaster.”
Currently there is an eastbound lane on Union Turnpike, a state road, that allows cars to either go straight or turn left, a center lane and an exclusive right-turn lane at this intersection. The intersection borders the Lake Success Shopping Center and is tangent to Marcus Avenue.
Bill Cutrone, the president of the Lakeville Estates Civic Association, said the mixed-use lane has created chaos in the past. A driver can be stuck behind a car wanting to make a left-hand turn, he said, leading to some honking, screaming and “very upset” people waiting for long periods of time to move.
“It’s a complete disaster as far as that goes,” Cutrone said. “What happens is that you can be stuck there for three lights before you make the lefthand turn or continue going straight.”
Cutrone said his group had been asking representatives from the state Department of Transportation to approve a project for creating an exclusive left-turn lane.
But the project was initially denied for unclear reasons, Cutrone said, leading to a letter campaign from officials like Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and County Legislators Rich Nicolello and Ellen Birnbaum. There was also a change.org petition started, which currently has more than 500 signers.
“The town, working in cooperation with the Lakeville Estates Civic Association, advocated for the reconfiguration of a left-hand turning lane on Union Turnpike,” Bosworth said in a statement. “We are thrilled to see that the state’s Department of Transportation has approved this and I know this will help make the roads safer for our residents.”
Now that it has been approved at the state level, Cutrone said Nassau County will need to change the turn signals at the corner.
“Again, we had to have everyone reach out to [Nassau County officials] to expedite the approvals because they can’t do one without the other,” Cutrone said, “and that’s what we’re waiting for now.”
A representative with the Nassau County Department of Public Works could not immediately reached for comment late Friday afternoon.
Cutrone said he is hoping for the project to be done in nine or 10 months.
“I am glad to support the request from the Lakeville Estates Civic Association of New Hyde Park to add a left turn only lane to the intersection of Union Turnpike and New Hyde Park Road,” Birnbaum said. “I am hopeful that Nassau County Public Works and the New York State Department of Transportation can work together as soon as possible to make any needed changes to this intersection to alleviate the congestion issue that currently exists.”