Covert Avenue partial closure passes with few issues: NHP board

Covert Avenue partial closure passes with few issues: NHP board
Village of New Hyde Park Mayor Lawrence Montreuil Tuesday. (Photo by Jed Hendrixson)

The partial road closure of Covert Avenue for the Long Island Rail Road third track project prep work has come and gone with only a few caveats, according to the village board.

The closure, between 1st and 2nd avenues adjacent to the LIRR grade-crossing in the Village of New Hyde Park, lasted from Feb. 5 through Feb. 12 and the temporary traffic detour plan was a success, members of the board said at a meeting Tuesday night.

“It went a lot more smooth than I anticipated,” building department Superintendent Tom Gannon said.

Outside of the traffic detour itself, Trustee Rainer Burger said that a few concerns were raised and brought up to 3TC, the contractor awarded the third track expansion project, in order to prevent them from arising again when Covert Avenue is closed for six months starting in April.

The issues Burger witnessed himself while visiting the closed site included missing traffic and detour signs, misplaced caution barrels restricting traffic and torn-up pavement.

The signage and traffic issues have been addressed, according to Burger, and a request has been made to repave the torn-up roadways. Burger pointed out that the area is very dimly lit and a potential traffic hazard at night and said lighting options were being discussed with 3TC to illuminate the section without affecting nearby residences.

The total closure of Covert Avenue is part of the 9.8-mile long LIRR third track expansion project, which will replace seven grade-crossings with under-grade crossings, to streamline train traffic and eliminate traffic congestion at the crossing sites.

Mayor Lawrence Montreuil acknowledged that parking near the LIRR station has become difficult since the project began and will probably get worse when construction intensifies but said the board is working with 3TC to try and alleviate the congestion.

Deputy Mayor Donna Squicciarino also took time at the meeting to address Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent announcement that villages that would lose state funding in his proposed budget can get the money back through the not-yet-passed Internet sales tax revenue bill.

“I hope we can continue the discussion and actually get the AIM funding restored,” Squicciarino said, referring to the $148,904 in Aid to Municipalities state funding that the village would lose, equal to 1.85 percent of its 2017 expenditures of $8.06 million.

Cuomo released a proposal to give municipalities affected by cuts to the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities $59 million worth of funding through the implementation of an Internet sales tax last Friday.

The move, however, is not a reversal of the proposed cuts but would allow Nassau County to allocate revenue from the tax to the village to replace the lost funding.

The state plans to implement the Internet sales tax sooner, starting June 1 rather than the originally planned Sept. 1, to fund the $59 million that would have been lost.

The tax is expected to generate $390 million in revenue.

Otherwise, the village will need to find somewhere to make up all the money it stands to lose, Squicciarino said.

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