Safe crossing for pedestrians

File photo.

Safe crossing for pedestrians

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
4/14/2016


ISLIP—Try crossing Main Street in the hamlet of Islip during the height of business hours and traffic. Some of the residents and merchants say it’s an accident waiting to happen. And that’s why Doris Kennedy, president of the Islip Chamber of Commerce, is requesting that a pedestrian crossing stop sign be placed on the road.

The downtown district in Islip runs from Ocean Avenue east to Islip Avenue. Kennedy noted that there had been two major pedestrian accidents there within the past year: a young girl was struck by a vehicle crossing Main Street at Ocean Avenue and a man was killed while crossing that thoroughfare by Willow Avenue. There have been several other vehicle accidents where speed was a factor as well.

 “The shop owners were complaining about [road] traffic,” Kennedy said. “It gets crazy.”

Kennedy pointed to two South Shore downtown districts that had similar signs: Sayville and Babylon. That type of precautionary signage can be found on Patchogue’s Main Street as well. However, the road sign in Babylon is actually placed on a county road: Deer Park Avenue. It’s the same on Main Street in both Patchogue and Sayville, which happen to both be county roads. Main Street from Babylon through East Islip is overseen by New York State Department of Transportation.

Eileen Peters, a spokesperson for the regional NYSDOT, said, “The state does not install the portable ‘Stop for Pedestrian’ signs. However, local municipalities are allowed to use those signs on state roads under permit with NYSDOT.” Peters said the state would install the highly visible “Yield to Pedestrian” signs in advance of crosswalks. She added that last year, NYSDOT Long Island traffic safety engineers implemented additional pedestrian safety improvements in Bay Shore and Islip at the requests of the Islip Chamber of Commerce and Assemblyman Garbarino. New signs and pavement markings were installed on Montauk Highway between Saxon Avenue and NY Route 111.

“Currently, we are also working on a request to install audible pedestrian signals and pedestrian signs at the request of a private citizen on Montauk Highway,” added Peters.

Kennedy said the additional signage provided isn’t enough to encourage drivers to slow for pedestrians. She said the signage placed on the road would “forcibly slow traffic down.” 

Kennedy turned to NYS Senator Phil Boyle for help.

Gordon Canary, an aid to Senator Boyle, said he would be working to find a solution to the problem. He noted that the intersection of most concern is near Main Street and Willow Avenue, where the fatality occurred. “The [chamber] wanted the DOT to put a crosswalk at that intersection, but the [state] only wants to place it where there is a [traffic signal],” he said.

Canary added that he would meet with the DOT and the chamber on a “field visit” to “take a look at what’s out there, do a walk-through and see what can and can’t be done.”