NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Fill state coffers or keep beachgoers safe?
Motorists along scenic Ocean Parkway on Long Island want to know why speed limits rise and fall — and radar guns are in abundance.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, some call it the crown jewel of Long Island roads. Historic Ocean Parkway runs 16 miles along the South Shore from Jones Beach in Nassau County to Robert Moses and Captree state parks in Suffolk County.
“It does cause you to be aware, and you know slow down. But the negatives are they will pull you over for going one mile over,” said Samantha Goss.
Some traveling to barrier beaches are now questioning speed limit discrepancies, pointing out that most of the parkway is 55 mph, but can quickly drop to 35 mph.
So, is it a game of cat and mouse?
“I think there should be like a slower change, rather than 20 miles an hour. That’s what I consider a speed trap,” said Joe Wittenberg.
“It’s not fair to the drivers at all. You are coming down at a certain speed, all of a sudden it hits you (snap) like that,” said Brian Gramajo.
Ocean Parkway is a state road, but it goes through four towns: Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Babylon and Islip.
It’s maintained by the Department of Transportation, owned by the Parks Department and enforced by State Police.
Trooper Frank Bandiero said limits have been consistent throughout the years.
“(Not a trick, not a speed trap?) No, it is to keep people safe, and you should be aware of the speed limit signs where ever you are driving,” he said. “And especially here in the summer with the amount of traffic and distractions going on.”
For one, ease off the accelerator approaching the Jones Beach traffic circle. A radar gun may be waiting. That’s because the circle’s suggested speed limit is 20 mph — a half a mile away from the 55 mph signs.
“If I got pulled over, I would be a little confused,” said one beachgoer.
“There should definitely be a buffer zone,” said another.
But others like it just the way it is.
“If it says 45 we do the 45. If it says 35 we do the 35. No big deal to us at all,” said Michael Valentine.
The state said limits are to encourage caution, not make money, through some of the most popular recreational destinations on the East Coast.
The state added that traffic safety engineers set speed limits according to nationally accepted guidelines.