When the dismissal bell rings after 3 p.m. at many parents are still stuck on Bayview Street in the immense traffic back up – unable to move in their car or retrieve their children from the school grounds.
This is a normal day at the elementary school, which utilizes the same road for entering and exiting the property. The traffic problem has existed for many years but help could soon be on the way toward alleviating the congestion.
On May 17 voters will be deciding whether to approve a referendum that would enable the Seaford School District to construct a new access road next to Seaford Harbor School. The estimated $596,719 project would not cost taxpayers any additional money since it would be paid for by leftover funds from a capital improvements proposition approved in December 2007, according to district officials.
“It is congested a couple of times a day – morning and afternoon,” said Gina Dambrosio, whose nine-year-old triplets attend the school.
The lack of access has been a long standing issue with local parents, often complaining that it is nearly impossible to get near the school during pick up and drop off periods. Traffic is usually backed up down the block, with both buses and cars unable to move because of the high congestion level, frequently because only one vehicle can drive down the street at a time.
An access road, which would connect Bayview Street with Ionia Street through approximately 320 feet of open land just north of the school, has been in the works going back to the 1970’s.
“We need it because kids are in danger,” said Gina Rylander, who has a child in first grade at Seaford Harbor School “There is only one way in and out.”
Dambrosio said that she thinks an access road would alleviate this problem.
“At least for the buses – that would be nice if they had an access road so that they could come in that way and ease the congestion,” she said.
Jim McMahon, security guard for the Seaford Harbor School, explained it is a tight fit for buses and cars on Bayview Street since there are already cars parked on the roadway. It would be better if cars weren’t allowed to park on that street, but the access road would certainly help the whole problem, he added.
“It backs up traffic big time - it is unsafe,” McMahon said. “I am looking at the safety factor. I know they have proposals on different plans on what to do, but as it stands right now – when you go out that gate – that road is horrendous.”
Edward Reilly, a New York City firefighter and father of three children who’ve gone to Seaford Harbor, said that he worries about the safety issues with the lack of access on Bayview Street.
“My mindset is on what would happen if there was something wrong up there and you have to get fire trucks or ambulances,” he said. “If there was some kind of emergency at the school no one is getting through on any day. Everyday it is a disaster trying to get in and out. The buses get stuck here and then the whole thing gets locked up. It is not efficient at all.”
The potential of a new access road for the Seaford Harbor School is a possibility thanks to a little over an acre of land that is being provided by Nassau County surrounding the property. The Board of Education accepted the findings of the, leading the way for the access road project to progress into the final stages of approval.
The SEQRA assesses the environmental impact of new construction projects, which was particularly important since the land in question is located in a coastal management zone. It found that the Harbor School access road would be aligned with all of the proper policies required.
“It is insane not to have another way in or out of here,” said Reilly. “Whether or not they are going to keep it open – they need to have a way to get in and out that is safe.”