Senator Elaine Phillips and Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin announced an initiative that will make the “back to school” trek safer for students and all pedestrians. Thanks to a grant provided by Senator Phillips, targeted intersections and crosswalks will soon be equipped with hyper-visible stop signs that are illuminated with flashing L.E.D. lights. Joining the officials at the announcement were administrators, parents and students at the Clara H. Carlson School in Elmont.
“Thank you Senator Phillips,” exclaimed Clavin, as grateful community members admired the new traffic safety device. “Because of your efforts, our children and families will be safer, and these L.E.D. stop signs might even save some lives. What’s more, as a result of the stop signs being acquired through a state grant, there will be no direct cost to local taxpayers.”
Clavin noticed some highly visible stop signs that were solar powered and featured flashing L.E.D. lights around the perimeter of the signs during his travels across Long Island. During the same timeframe, the Receiver had been discussing with residents the issue of school crossing areas and intersections that begged for increased safety and traffic calming. Immediately, Clavin thought of how he could secure the L.E.D. signs for use in areas of concern across Hempstead Town. That’s when he and Hempstead Town Councilman Ed Ambrosino decided to reach out to Senator Phillips for assistance. And, the Senator immediately responded, “YES” to the request.
“The safety of school children and all pedestrians is a topic to which I am deeply committed,” said Phillips. “To me, the request was a ‘no brainer’…we had to do it to make people safer. These stop signs are literally a ‘life-saver.’”
The “safety-enhanced” stop signs generally cost under $2,000. Accordingly, the town plans to acquire at least 25 units to be deployed in the township. Clavin indicated that he is hopeful that other state senators can also secure state grant monies to fund additional signs. The signs, which are solar powered, do not need to be connected to the electric grid. Additionally, battery back-up power ensures continuous operation of the sign’s flashing L.E.D.s during evening hours and cloudy days. The signals will operate 24/7.
“These L.E.D. stop signs are a cost-effective safety tool that will pay dividends by protecting school children and all pedestrians,” said Ambrosino. “I want to thank Senator Phillips and Receiver of Taxes Clavin for making our communities safer.”
Clavin addressed the question of why a receiver of taxes is dealing with a traffic safety matter at the press event. “Some people might ask why I am concerned with stop signs and safety when my job is the township’s Receiver of Taxes. I have three really great reasons for seeking funding for these L.E.D. stop signs and their names are Margaret, Catherine and Donnie,” said Clavin, as he referred to his young children. “What’s more, as a tax receiver I am always looking for ways to reduce the property tax burden. If it were not for the grant funding that will pay for these L.E.D. stop signs, Hempstead Town’s taxpayers would have to ‘foot the bill.’”
Studies have indicated that the L.E.D. stop signs increase traffic compliance by motorists. In particular, the devices boast a reduction in “blow-throughs”, which often occur when motorists fail to see a stop sign. The increased visibility of the flashing L.E.D. lights significantly reduces the chances that the new stop signs will not be noticed by drivers.
The $50,000 funding for the L.E.D. stop signs is being secured through a SAM (State and Municipal) Grant. The SAM initiative was established in 2013 and is part of the State and Municipal Facilities Program. The program funds capital costs of construction acquisition, improvement and rehabilitation of facilities and equipment that support health, safety, technology and innovation.
“These L.E.D. signs will keep our students safer as they walk to and from local schools,” said Elmont School District Superintendent Al Harper. “Keeping our kids safe is the bottom line.”
Clavin and Ambrosino said that the township’s street lighting division and engineers will work with members of the town board, as well as residents to determine the most appropriate locations for the new signs.
“Partnerships like this are what good government is all about,” stated Phillips. “I am eager to come back to the locations where these signs are deployed and watch as motorists come to a full stop, keeping our families safe from traffic accidents.”
“Our town’s residents owe a debt of gratitude to Senator Elaine Phillips for making our town safer,” concluded Clavin. “If just one life is saved or injury avoided, these new signs will have been a worthwhile investment.”