By Lauren Reiss
It’s almost eight o’clock in the morning on the South Service Road off of Exit 33. Doctors and real-estate agents alike are in danger of being late to work. The speed limit is thirty, and just a few short months ago, they might have been able to cautiously exceed 39 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone without prosecution.
This school year, however, drivers will no longer be able to get away with speeding. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano recently implemented the Automated Speed Camera Enforcement Program, which has allocated 56 speed cameras to schools within the county in order to reduce speeding by fining violators between $50 and $80. This should thereby enhance the safety of students within school zones between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Great Neck’s camera is located just north of Great Neck South High School on the South Service Road.
The effectiveness of using cameras to reduce speeding is not disputed. Student Body President and senior Melora Chang said, “The cameras do a great job of scaring people not to speed…No one wants to get a speeding ticket.”
However, what is disputed is the location of the Great Neck School District’s particular speeding camera. Its placement on the South Service Road is controversial: The street is trapped on one side by the Long Island Expressway and by the high school on the other. There is no crosswalk because there is no reason for a pedestrian to cross the service road. Sophomore Bradley Sheen does not usually walk to school—but when he does, he would not walk along the service road. Therefore, Sheen does not feel any safer despite the implementation of Mangano’s program.
Great Neck’s camera is situated on a road that sees hardly any pedestrians in contrast to North High School—an open campus that allows students to walk on and off daily.
Old Village Mayor Ralph Kreitzman, whose village has four different public schools, said, “Polo Road [in front of Great Neck North] is the most appropriate place for those cameras.”
The mayor’s wife and editor of the Great Neck Record, Wendy Kreitzman, said, “Neither school district officials nor local public officials approved of this LIE site.” This raises the question: Why did the County Executive approve of the location?
Ms. Kreitzman suggests that the county may not be as concerned about student protection as they
are about income. Putting the cameras on Polo Road (as Mayor Kreitzman proposed) would bring ticket revenue to the Village of Great Neck, while the current location outside Great Neck South gives all financial benefits to the state and the county. “No pedestrians are protected by a speed camera on the LIE Service Road,” Ms. Kreitzman added. “The only benefit is revenue from speeding tickets, revenue that goes to Nassau County. No students are being offered protection in an area where they cannot walk.”
Press Secretary to Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano has yet to return an email on the topic.