Enough is enough! If drivers on state and county roadways that travel through Lynbrook are not going to slow down, the officers of the Lynbrook Police Department are going to make them. After two fatal car crashes in the village over the span of a week — and three already in 2019 — LPD is deploying enforcement patrols to focus on speed and aggressive driving violations on the village’s busiest roads.
Sunrise Highway, Peninsula Boulevard and Merrick Road, rank first, second and third in car crash locations within in the village.
Sunrise Highway, a state road, has the greatest volume of traffic, and some portions of the road have posted speed limits above 30 mph. But, Peninsula Boulevard and Merrick Road, which are Nassau County roadways, have less volume than their state counterpart and are not far behind in crash totals. In fact, three-year crash totals showed both roads have more crashes than Sunrise Highway because speedy drivers are able to time the traffic lights accordingly, and are rewarded with a relatively quick ride, especially during rush hour driving periods. As a result, speeds on these roadways consistently reach 50 to 60 mph, even though the speed limits posted on these roads are 30 mph. This is unacceptable.
This selfish expediency comes at a cost. Even when there isn’t a crash, the noise produced by rushing traffic, and the fear instilled into pedestrians and cyclists of being hit by a car diminishes the quality of life for village residents who feel trapped in their neighborhood and are afraid to walk or bicycle into the business district, park or nearby schools.
Crashes can also be devastating. Fatal and near fatal crashes are not common in Lynbrook, but when they do occur, they overwhelmingly take place on a county roadway and leave the lives of those involved in tatters. The fatal crashes that have occurred this year resulted in two widows, fatherless children and a mother and father who had to bury a son. All of this misery could have been avoided if the drivers slowed down.
Drivers don’t normally leave their homes thinking they will kill someone with their vehicle, but if they leave late for their destination or get distracted, they are making choices that greatly increase their chances of crashing and possibly taking a life.
As a village, everyone needs to pitch in to make our roads safe. The LPD will do its part by deploying aggressive driving patrols, addressing traffic engineering concerns and educating drivers and pedestrians. However, local residents must take an active role in making our village roads safe by being conscious of correcting their own faulty driving and crossing habits. They must set an example for young drivers by teaching them to be alert and attentive when they are behind the wheel. Young pedestrians must also be taught how to safely cross the street.
Summer time is quickly approaching. I am challenging my officers to do whatever it takes to lower the number of car crashes in the village this summer and beyond. Please pitch in and help us accomplish our goal by walking, bicycling and driving in a safe, courteous manner..
Brian Paladino is the chief of the Lynbrook Police Department.