By Alexa Cervo
Woodland Middle School is home of the young East Meadow Jets, speeding vehicles and angry neighbors who say they fear for the lives of the children who live in the area.
On Feb. 7, nearby resident Warren Kalmenson attended the East Meadow School Board of Education meeting to raise his concerns about traffic around the school. Kalmenson, who has lived in the area since 1976, said, “The vehicles going through the stop signs morning and afternoon is an issue . . . Someone is going to get hurt.”
Christine DeAngelis, an 11-year resident who lives around the block from Woodland, said, “It’s a narrow, windy road. It ends up getting very congested because people park on both sides [of the street in front of the school], and then there’s a two-way stop sign which nobody stops for because they don’t want to back up the traffic.”
Jessica Meyer’s daughter currently attends Woodland. “We have stop signs, but people don’t adhere to them, especially when they’re dropping their kids off at school in the morning. Even when kids try to cross the street, they don’t always stop. It’s a little scary.”
This isn’t the first time that East Meadow residents have complained about the traffic surrounding local schools. In 2021, the East Meadow Herald published a series of articles examining the traffic flow at the Erma-Nottingham intersection near East Meadow High School. There, too, parents and residents complained about motorists speeding down local streets and blowing through stop signs. The Town of Hempstead responded by extending the school’s speed zone and adding 15-mph signs at the high school’s rear parking lot.
“People don’t obey the signs, so I think having an actual person there would be really helpful,” Meyer continued in reference to Woodland, explaining that she believes the roads would be safer if a person of authority, either a police officer or crossing guard, were at the corner to supervise.
DeAngelis agreed, saying she does not believe it’s safe for children to cross the street by Woodland without supervision. “I personally have called the Nassau County police many times and told them that we need a crossing guard, and they won’t send one,” she said. “Sometimes they send police who sit there and give out tickets to people that go through the stop sign, but that’s short-lived.”
Nearby resident Jeannie Morreale, who had three children complete Woodland and has two attending now, said she believes that one-way streets could solve the issue. “Between the cars that are parked for people who live there, you can only fit one other car, yet cars come from both ways. It’s supposed to be a two-way street, but you have cars parked on each side,” she said.
Morreale added that she believes a crossing guard would help organize the traffic and keep children safe. “People are in a rush in the morning, which I understand, but there has to be a better solution,” she said.
Kalmenson said he asked the East Meadow board and administration to send letters to local parents, stressing the importance of slowing down and stopping in front of schools.
On Feb. 27, Woodland parents received an email from Principal James Lethbridge reminding them of possible drop-off areas and asking that they “be mindful when driving on school grounds or neighboring streets around Woodland.” His email is below: