While the 18th Annual New Hyde Park Street Fair only had a brief burst of rain to worry about this year, the village board of trustees is concerned about other potential occurrences, namely if a fire were to break out at one of the businesses along Jericho Turnpike while Route 25 were closed off due to the event.
The roadway already has narrower lanes thanks to the new median constructed by New York State as a traffic calming measure. The median also limits the areas where vehicles can make turns on Jericho Turnpike, an issue that has been brought up several times before the village board, and could pose problems for New Hyde Park Fire Department engines and trucks trying to traverse the median on their way to an emergency call.
However, the issue of what to do should one of those calls have occurred during the recent street fair was brought up during the regular board meeting on Oct. 1 at the village hall due to the loss of access to Jericho Turnpike.
The department “really has no plan for us,” trustee Richard Coppola said in response to the question of preplanning how apparatus would stage on South 11th Street through South Ninth Street.
“It’s almost like each block needs to be preplanned, where do they put the ladder, where do they put the engine, more than just having access lanes,” mayor Robert Lofaro said, adding of the fire department that he “expressed once again my disappointment with their lack of participation because the 50 members that they have at the street fair serve more than just giving out fire prevention materials; they serve as having physical bodies present in the event...They themselves in a situation where manpower should be at the scene and maybe... they’re called into action available they were not there.”
Lofaro explained that in his view the members of the fire department who were present at the street fair could also help clear a pathway for engines and trucks to get through the fair to a destination should such a call come into the department instead of using side streets to access areas of the village during the fair.
Superintendent of public works Tom Gannon suggested inviting the department in during the preplanning phase of the street fair next year.
“The chief this year didn’t want to be involved,” Coppola said, noting each chief’s jobs rotates every year. “Each chief has their own (priorities).”