As the start of the new school year nears, some parents, middle school and high school students and school officials have a major concern: the danger of walking across Lido Boulevard.
Still fresh in their minds is the accident involving Abdul Bird, the 14-year-old middle school student who was hit by a car on Lido Boulevard and Greenway Road in June. He was hit while riding his skateboard to the school for the moving-up ceremony rehearsal and suffered a serious head injury.
Lisa Volpe, a concerned parent, said that one possible solution to improve safety along Lido Beach’s main thoroughfare is to repair the uneven sidewalks along the boulevard. She believes this would encourage more people to walk or ride their bikes and skateboards on the sidewalks, since the road is without a bike lane.
“As a parent of a middle school child who is now walking the sidewalks and riding his bicycle along the neighborhood streets, I have great concern for his safety on Lido Boulevard and the streets around the high school and middle school,” Volpe said.
Volpe and other parents concerned for the safety of their children have banded together to see what other changes could be made to protect their children. But they are uncertain who has the ability to change the laws or make improvements to Lido Boulevard and its sidewalks near the middle school and high school.
“In the spring we had meetings with representatives from the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County to discuss our concerns,” said Darlene Haut of the Lido Homes Civic Association. “It was unclear to us, which [municipality] was ultimately responsible for implementing changes.”
Haut said that county and town officials told the Lido Homes Civic Association that they would receive a follow-up, but they have yet to get back to them.
Meanwhile, Volpe said that she was particularly disturbed by the traffic light at the Lido Boulevard and Blackheath Road intersection. “The timing is geared to moving traffic on Lido Boulevard rather than protecting the more vulnerable pedestrians and bicycle traffic,” she said.
She noted that pedestrians have about 20 seconds to cross the boulevard during a red light, making it difficult for both children and especially seniors.
David Weiss, superintendent of Long Beach School District, said that safety going to and from school is always a serious issue. He mentioned that motorists need to pay more attention to traffic signals, yield to pedestrians and to refrain from texting or talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving.
“People need to follow the rules when they are driving, and our kids need to be alert when they are walking,” he said.