Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 08 February 2013 00:00
Mineola resident George Sommer can never forget the morning in 1982, when he awoke to learn that nine teenagers had been killed when a van in which they were riding was struck by an LIRR train at the now defunct Herricks Road train crossing, after the van’s driver went around lowered gates.
Sommer’s son was supposed to be with them in the van, but Sommer kept him home to do school work.
Although the crossing is now raised and is no longer a danger to errant drivers, Sommer, who was a highway engineer, believes one fatal flaw remains: the lack of a “crash cushion” at the south end of the traffic divider.
The area, which had once been named the most dangerous in the country by the National Transportation Safety Board, prompted the Long Island Rail Road to raise the track in 1994. The $25 million project was completed in 1999. An NTSB report also said that the van’s driver had “driven around a properly functioning lowered gate with flashing lights onto the crossing.”
For more than a decade prior, the crossing was “popular” for its traffic jams and impatient drivers.
“I wanted [the schoolwork] done and if he got it done during the week, he’d have Friday off,” Sommer said. “He didn’t and so I kept him home. He didn’t give me a hard time. The following morning I woke up and heard the commotion.”
Sommer recognized some movement, but feels much is left to be done.
“They removed all the shredded guardrails, the metal guardrails on either side of the barrier,” he said. “All the crumbled stuff underneath and the three or four orange barrels were previously positioned.”
Crash cushions serve as a velocity dampener to crashing cars. According to Sommer, they absorb the shockwaves and prevent cars from converging on the other side of the road.
“I see a risk there that was never taken care of,” he said. “I know from experience where we put these crash cushions to eliminate any dangerous action when a car goes errant or someone gets killed or maimed.”
Herricks Road is a Nassau County road and is subject to county jurisdiction. According to spokesman Michael Martino, when the road markings at the underpass are complete within the next week, crash attenuators will be put in place. He confirmed that county road maintenance crews would monitor the condition of the attenuators on a regular basis.
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 00:00
The Village of Mineola is in the process of acquiring multiple properties as a result of the completion of the Long Island Rail Road Crossing Elimination project. The board of trustees recently passed a resolution to start the process.
All open items involving the project have been resolved by the New York State Department of Transportation. State law, according to village attorney John Spellman, allows villages to attain properties within the project.
“That project involved eliminating at-grade crossings at Herricks Road, Roslyn Road and the reconstruction the Mineola Boulevard Bridge,” Spellman said. “We recommended that the village pass a resolution accepting these properties so that we can begin the process of officially acquiring them.”
Saturday, 30 November 2013 00:00
There will be a flurry of noise and color at the Community Church of East Williston’s fourth annual Christmas concert on Sunday, Dec.15. The Severn River Brass Quintet will be in concert with Church Musical Director Raphael Fusco to help kick off the holiday season on a high note. Fusco has been working at the church since September and he is an accomplished composer, keyboardist, and conductor in the U.S. and in Europe.
“I am beyond excited that the quintet has agreed to take time out of their busy schedule to make a rare public appearance here in East Williston,” said Fusco. “The quintet is made up of some of the world’s finest brass players and we are very lucky to host them.”
Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:00
The BU10 FC Mineola squad finished off their first season in the Long Island Junior Soccer League with a well-played 1-1 draw with Massapequa on Nov. 16. Liam Russelman’s early goal provided Mineola with their goal. Peter Murphy launched a beautiful run down the right side of the field, deftly stepping around two defenders before crossing a low pass in front of the goal. Russelman easily tapped home the pass for his goal. Andrew Pizzardi’s goalkeeping, stellar all season, kept Mineola in the game behind solid defending by Dom Ferreira, Chris Feathers, and Luke Sommese. Mineola finished the season at 3-2-4.
Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:00
The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association announced that the Olympic Development Program (ODP) coach and Mineola resident Ian Stone, head coach of the Region 1 East ODP Girls-Under-17 squad, received the Bob Blitz
Sportsmanship Award from the New York Metro Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NYMISOA) at The Sterling in Bethpage on Nov. 11. The referees of NYMISOA selected Stone for the award based on their officiating of college soccer games from Westchester to Long Island. Stone also won the NYMISOA Sportsmanship Award in 1994, his first year in charge of coaching the St. John’s Red Storm women’s team and is one of only seven coaches to receive the NYMISOA Sportsmanship Award twice.