Residents of Bonnie Heights Road attended the Oct. 1 Village of Flower Hill Board of Trustees meeting to advocate for signage and police presence on their street.
Residents of Bonnie Heights Road addressed village officials along with Nassau County Police Officer Joseph Oginski prior to the meeting about the safety concerns they had for their children while boarding the school bus in the morning. The residents explained that cars speed down the road in the morning, seemingly to make it to a train on time, around stopped buses and honk at the buses as the children get on them.
“On behalf of the county, we take everyone’s concerns very seriously, especially when it comes to safety and especially when children are involved,” said Oginski during the special meeting.
He explained that for a violation, a cell phone video is not sufficient for an officer to issue a summons. The violation must be observed by an officer or be told to another officer by an officer who observed the violation.
“I invited another officer to our small meeting,” said Oginski. “He happens to be a daytime officer who works one of the adjacent cars and he was telling me he has issued quite a few summonses. In relation to the specific area, they actually had checkpoints set up over the last month or two and he told me that they definitely are aware of it. We have an enforcement officer in the unit who goes out specifically to write traffic law infractions and ensure safety.”
Trustee Brian Herrington explained that the officers have committed to having additional enforcement in the area, however, they would not be sharing when or how.
Oginski explained that while they will definitely be aware of the area now, the priority is the 911 calls.
“If we have a patrol officer sitting there in the morning for stop sign violations or school bus violations, a 911 call comes out on his post or adjacent post, he’s leaving to go to that 911 call just as you’d want someone if you called 911 to show up at your house quickly,” said Oginski. “As soon as an officer gets on, and its not an excuse, it’s the reality because I’m in those shoes all the time, 911 calls may be flooding in. An enforcement officer is perfect for that opportunity because he gets the flexibility of being off the radio a bit but the patrol officers do get called away frequently for 911 calls.”
Herrington asked to commit to getting feedback from the residents, passing it along to the officers and then regrouping to see if it’s matching up or if there are any issues.
The residents of Bonnie Heights Road volunteered their driveways for police cars to sit in and asked for increased presence to build up a reputation as a road with police cars on it.
While the idea of something similar to a red light camera being installed was turned down as village administrator Ronnie Shatzkamer explained it would be illegal, other ideas were thrown out such as stop signs, speed bumps, cross walks and other signage.
“If I had a concern, it would be that based on the traffic study done by the engineers, their general opinion is that motorists get used to stop signs and it doesn’t become a stop sign anymore,” said trustee Kate Hirsch. “I fear that the next time we’ll all be here is in two months when everyone is rolling through it. I just happened to see these things over the weekend in this community with all these crossing streets and it was really effective the way they had it with speed bumps and big signs at each speed bump in yellow with a picture of a person crossing and it had ‘state law stop for pedestrian.’ That in combination with painted lines at Knolls Lane would probably be more effective.”
The board and residents agreed that for now, three stop signs would be put up immediately, two at Knolls Lane and Bonnie Heights going in each direction and one at Elderfields and Bonnie Heights. Shatzkamer made a resolution to hold a public hearing in November to install the stop signs, but they would go up in the next few days. The board and residents will continue discussions on additional safety measures and update the Nassau County Police officers of progress.
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