By Tyler Mahaffey,
Safety on Skillman Avenue has been an issue for over two decades and this year is no different. There have been many accidents on Skillman Avenue and at its intersections, many of them involving students. With many school administrators and elected officials raising their concerns, this begs the question, why are there no crossing guards on Skillman Avenue?
Around 1,700 students and 200 faculty use Skillman Avenue everyday (LI Herald). With many students biking or walking down Skillman Avenue and many upperclassmen and faculty driving, Skillman Avenue has proven to be a dangerous road. In a 3 year period, from September 1st, 2016 to September 13th, 2019, there were 30 reported accidents at intersections on Skillman Avenue. Although no-one has suffered very serious injuries at one of these intersections, why should we wait till someone does, shouldn’t a crossing guard be put on Skillman Avenue before anyone gets seriously hurt or even killed?
In an interview with the Long Island Herald in December of 2019, Sandie Schoell, a member of the board of education and a former PTA member, has pushed for a crossing guard on Skillman Avenue for over two decades. Schoell has said that, “We’ve been dealing with issues up at the high school with the flow of traffic and the crowds since I can remember,” and said Skillman Avenue is “a dangerous scenario, and having a crossing guard at that intersection would help”.
In an interview with a guidance counselor Dr. Kevin Carbonetti from Oceanside High School, in September 2021. Dr. Carbonetti said that “We [Oceanside School District] are always monitoring safety and the traffic volume of Skillman Avenue.” Dr. Carbonetti followed that up by stating that the school has made several requests for a crossing guard on Skillman Avenue but all of the requests have been shot down.
Their concerns about safety have been backed up by several other elected officials including Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito and our State Senator Todd Kaminsky. Both have requested a crossing guard on Skillman Avenue to NCPD Commissioner Patrick Ryder. The NCPD [Nassau County Police Department] is in charge of placing crossing guards all around Nassau County.
In a letter to the NCPD, State Senator Todd Kominsky said, “I think there’s an obvious dangerous situation at every pick-up and dismissal in the morning and afternoon, which is putting our children in a dangerous situation and we have to be able to take action,” he has also stated that “The statistics themselves should warrant the addition of a crossing guard there because the accidents have been there for many years.”
The NCPD has said they don’t usually put crossing guards near highschools. The NCPD said that they account for students’ ages, traffic flow, traffic conditions, lighting conditions and the availability of crosswalks when deciding where to put a crossing guard. Although there is good lighting and an availability of crosswalks, the traffic conditions, traffic flow and just the amount of accidents should warrant a crossing guard on Skillman Avenue.
The NCPD has taken some steps to improve safety on Skillman Avenue, including filling out paperwork for the repainting of crosswalks near the highschool and adding a lighted numerical countdown to tell pedestrians when they can safely cross the street. A detective from the NCPD has said that “At this time the requested location [Oceanside Highschool] does not meet the criteria for a school crossing guard.” (LI Herald)
Although the NCPD has taken some steps to improve the safety of Skillman Avenue, people such as Sandie Schoell have said that it is not enough and that a crossing guard at intersections on Skillman Avenue is still the best solution, she continues to push for a crossing guard to be placed at intersections on Skillman Avenue.