Idea is To Slow Traffic Down On Jericho Tpke Enough So Cars May Stop A While

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It’s a historic Long Island village of 10,000, and like many suburban communities, many of its businesses are struggling and forgotten.

But on Wednesday New Hyde Park unveiled a unique plan to rebound, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.

To the west is Belmont Park, which will be host to a big race on Saturday. To the east the Roosevelt Field Mall, the destination for shoppers. To get there, thousands of cars whiz right through New Hyde Park.

“Seventy thousand cars drive up and down this street on a daily basis, but they’re not able to stop and shop,” New Hyde Park business owner Jason Figorski said.

Figorski said the downtown area, once quaint, can be a safety hazard.

“You have to cross Jericho Turnpike or go down Jericho Turnpike, especially with young kids you want to be as safe as possible,” homeowner Dennis Downing said.

Main Street in New Hyde Park is the Jericho Turnpike, and although there are speed restrictions, it seems no one has time to obey them.

So, a new multimillion dollar project is underway to get drivers to slow down, stop, and maybe even shop.

“We are calling this ‘Operation: Main Street,’” New Hyde Park village trustee Donald Barbieri said. “Jericho Turnpike is a crazy, busy highway.”

The state has agreed to help the village repave, build fresh, bricked-raised medians, and add pedestrian countdown signals. There is also a plan to calm the traffic with “streetscaping,” hoping passersby will stop to smell the newly planted flowers, and, thus, forgetting malls and re-exploring the character and charm of their own backyard.

“Most of these shops are mom and pop businesses — like ours. A lot of people want to come back to the downtown area, and if they notice it going by, instead of doing 40-50 mph-plus,” said Anthony Lopez, owner of Umberto’s Pizza.

If this becomes a slower, more scenic route, the state will continue upgrading Jericho Turnpike east to Glen Cove Road — six and a half miles in all.

“Operation: Main Street” in New Hyde Park is expected to take about a year, McLogan reported.

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