Nassau to get more than $4.5 million for pedestrian safety projects

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State Assemblyman Anthony D'Urso, seen here in the legislative chamber, expressed support for the funding of a Great Neck Plaza pedestrian safety project. (Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Anthony D'Urso's office)
State Assemblyman Anthony D'Urso, seen here in the legislative chamber, expressed support for the funding of a Great Neck Plaza pedestrian safety project. (Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Anthony D'Urso's office)

Nassau County will get more than $4.5 million to fund a series of pedestrian safety projects, officials announced last week, including $330,000 for the South Middle Neck Road and Barstow Road area and an unclear amount for the Town of North Hempstead.

The $330,000 will go to the Nassau County Department of Public Works to create a curb extension, or a bulb-out, at the intersection of South Middle Neck Road and Barstow Road in the Village of Great Neck Plaza, where Oren Bennaiem was fatally struck trying to cross in September 2016.

A bulb-out is used to extend a sidewalk, reducing road width and walking distance while increasing how visible a pedestrian is.

“Curb extensions are a proven, effective traffic calming technique with many benefits,” Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender said. “Bulb-outs increase pedestrian visibility at intersections through improved sight lines, decrease pedestrian exposure to vehicles by shortening the crossing distance, and raise a pedestrian from the street level to curb height in an area that will reduce potential conflicts with vehicles.”

Commissioner Ken Arnold and Deputy Commisioner Sean Sallie of Nassau County’s Public Works Department wrote the grant proposal.

Overall, $62 million is going toward projects statewide as part of the state’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, while $12.78 million is going to Long Island projects. Of that amount, $4.22 million will go to crosswalk projects in Nassau County and the rest projects in Suffolk County.

Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso, who represents Great Neck and most of the Town of North Hempstead, said he believes this project and others to be funded will help boost pedestrian safety.

“We would like to continue to maintain Great Neck as a walkable neighborhood, making it safer at crosswalks,” D’Urso said. “This is something that will affect all communities, making it safer for people who are walking.”

According to the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, commissioned by the Department of Transportation, Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the Department of Health, Nassau County had more pedestrian crashes than any other county outside New York City between 2009 and 2013 with 4,420.

Of the 20 noncounty municipalities the plan focuses on, four are in Nassau County: the Town of Hempstead with 2,139 crashes, Oyster Bay with 478, the Town of North Hempstead with 463 and the Village of Freeport with 209.

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