Spring has indeed finally sprung! We now see the welcoming sights of flowers blooming, trees bedecked in their beautiful foliage and, of course, kids playing. We will also see some new sights around the Village this spring as well. The LIRR is completing its Stair Replacement project at its Floral Park Station. We see the new aluminum banister and canopy supports being installed. These structures also support the new stainless steel handrails. The canopy will be a more robust, colorfast fiberglass product. The LIRR anticipates the entire project to be completed by July. The work is progressing well and will provide a safer and more easily maintained access to the platforms. Work on the station platforms, damaged by the severe winter, will commence during the summer.
Under the leadership of President Helena Williams, communication with the LIRR has been responsive and forthright. The engineering department has kept the Village apprised of its planning before and throughout the project. Many have also commented how the cleanliness of the station has improved. Our concerns were addressed by the appropriate department quickly. We, and the entire LIRR commuting community, have lost a great advocate and friend in the unceremonious replacement of Helena Williams.
No sooner was her removal as president announced than the slick, high-priced lobbyists descended and began their old, tired, drumbeats for the unwanted and unneeded, multi-billion dollar boondoggle known as the Third Track. Ms. Williams recognized that the Third Track was debated and defeated and not a realistic project. Instead Ms. Williams identified and proposed in the LIRR Long Range Capital Plan the more immediate needs and realistic assignment of finite funding for the LIRR; a plan which responds to the pressing commuting needs where major business and residential developments are presently underway on Long Island.
Unlike many of her predecessors, Ms. Williams understood and embraced her fiduciary responsibility, believing that funding dollars were finite and budgets needed to be realistic and honored. Her foresight, astute leadership and concern for the commuting public will be missed. I am sure you join me in wishing her and her family well and thank her for her efforts on behalf of all Long Islanders.
Another new streetscape improvement comes to us by way of a partnership with the Floral Park Chamber of Commerce. Floral Park Chamber of Commerce (FPCOC) President Ron Keats and I met in the waning days of winter. He asked, what can the chamber do? Following that meeting the FPCOC agreed to provide funding for new banners, new hanging planter baskets for Jericho Tpke. and new welcome signage at the Spur.
Together, we are delighted with the opportunity to improve and complete the streetscape of the new roadway on Jericho Tpke. The new flowering baskets and banners will add beauty, color and texture to the shopping district and complement the great look of Tulip and Covert. These improvements, coupled with the improved new look of the roadway, will make Jericho Turnpike nor only a great place to meet but also a pleasant place to shop and do business. We thank Ron Keats and the chamber for its generous gift and continued support of our village.
A question I am often asked is when is the county doing the crosswalk on Tulip? This roadway improvement, over 50 years in the making, is a component of the county’s road improvement project from Carnation to Covert. The county had hoped to complete the work last summer. The worked was delayed which paradoxically worked to our benefit. The solution proposed by the county engineers for a new crosswalk at Iris and Tulip was a bulb out design: where pedestrians stand on an extension of the sidewalk which projects into the roadway.
The belief is that the pedestrian is in the crosswalk a shorter time and therefore safer. While we were not enthusiastic about the design, it was their only proposal for their roadway and their funding. The village in response to this proposal changed signage and the traffic pattern in this area. This has been beneficial, but we are still without a crosswalk.
Village Administrator Gerry Bambrick, DPW Superintendent Steve Siwinski and I met with the county engineers in April. We agreed that the bulb out design was not an effective solution to the problem and that a more comprehensive solution to all our crosswalks in conjunction with the new crosswalk at Iris and Tulip will need to be addressed. We appreciate the county’s ability to respond to our concerns regarding the problems revealed by this past winter’s weather. We look forward to this work and will keep you apprised of the progress and the final design offered by the county. It has taken 50 years to get to this point, I think we all would agree: let’s do it once and do it right!
Finally – Go California Chrome! I’ve had the privilege of seeing three Triple Crown champs and it’s an exciting moment in sports. To be part of the roar of more than 100,000 people as they enter the home stretch and the grandstand is pulling for that historic achievement. But whatever happens on Saturday, join an even more momentous event – the Floral Park Chamber of Commerce Street Fair on Sunday June 6, from 2 to 7 p.m. It is a family day and a Floral Park tradition.