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Main Street Traffic Changes to Come Next Spring

Changes include taking away a westbound lane and a striped median.

Main Street safety improvements will continue next spring as the state Department of Transportation are set to paint stripes on the road, reducing westbound traffic to one lane, creating a median and turning lane between Elm Avenue and Route 111, according to a Newsday report. 

According to the Newsday report, the plans were brought up in a closed meeting between the DOT, local politicians and residents. The plans also include installing a "Rest in Red" system, where the traffic lights at Main Street intersections would remain red during off-peak hours until a car is electronically detected.

Changes are expected to cost the state roughly $200,000 and are viewed as a temporary fix, giving the DOT time to consider more improvements to the roadway. 

The efforts to make Main Street safer have been ongoing since the , who was hit and killed by a driver high on heroin on Main Street at Lawrence Avenue.

Most recently, to give a walking tour along the roadway and PowerPoint presentation on how to make Main Street better for pedestrians, drivers and local businesses.

Although the DOT made changes to the roadway following the death of Sipes, the death of 33-year-old Seamus Byrne, a year later, . 

The call for action to make Main Street safe has also come from people outside of residents and local political figures as to come together to create a plan to make the road safer for pedestrians.

Candyee December 19, 2011 at 03:28 PM
Story about this topic is in Newsday page A-26. Maureen , even topics on food /restautants/supermarkets attracted more then this did.
Christopher D'Antonio December 19, 2011 at 07:12 PM
Congestion reaches a peak eventually, and once it does so begins incentivizing people to utilize alternatives. Maybe alternative routes or times are selected. Perhaps some people will now walk, bike, or take transit to their destinations. Maybe more people will carpool. Intensified congestion is not the end of the world for Smithtown and is in fact a good thing for the pedestrians and cyclists who move through and around its downtown as it slows down automobile speeds thus making conditions safer for them. I appreciate Nick's ideas mentioned earlier, however, the failure to develop good transit, pedestrian, and cycling resources, and instead to prioritize the construction of highways and bypasses contributed to the dilapidation of Smithtown. You need only ask yourself how a hamlet as tiny as Hauppauge came to have nearly as many storefronts as traditionally larger and more centrally located Smithtown. Even today much of Main Street still struggles. Additionally, I don't believe that removing the Route 25 designation would serve Main Street well as it would deprive the roadway of the resources of the NYSDOT and likely place the responsibility of it on an entity that has even less ability to reconstruct it, such as the Town of Smithtown or Suffolk County. Main Street should ideally be recast as a multi-modal corridor, with safety improvements for all modes, foot, bike, car, and transit. These should then follow 25A to St. James and Kings Park and impact their downtowns.
Jill in Nesconset December 19, 2011 at 07:42 PM
I don't think we need bike lanes unless YOU think no one will be able to afford gas and have to ride a bike! I don't know why we don't have overpasses for pedestrians. That might help. We have too much traffic for anyone to think we need lane reductions. The 'old country lane' is long gone as a practicality. The biggest problem Smithtown has as far as people wanting to shop is parking. When all the planning boards over the years "planned",they never planned for the need to park. You cannot compare 25A through Huntington town to Smithtown. Besides have you tried driving thru Huntington OR parking? It's worse than Smithtown.
Jill in Nesconset December 19, 2011 at 07:46 PM
I believe you are living in a dream world if you think anyone is going to give up the convienence of their car for public transportation. This isn't Manhattan. How many bike riders need to use Smithtown? I submit it is only adults who cannot get a license for various reasons-like they are illegal workers.Anyone else would go to a park.
Nick Metrowsky December 19, 2011 at 07:57 PM
It is going to be heard to fix that took since the end of World War II to create. Long Island grew faster than the roads that could handle the population. Anyone driving the limited access hight system can attest that all the roads were woefully under built. A good reason why I left fro greener pastures years ago. Smithtown is a victim of both Route 25 traffic and the merge of Route 25A. Due to whatever issue caused this, politics, "not in my own backyard" or Kings Park State Hospital, 25A should have been run north of Smithtown; but, wasn't. With that said, upgrading Veteran's Highway and Route 347 should be done to encourage traffic to follow that route. Also, Smithtown could put in a multistory parking garage, with first level shops) as part of the Branch Shopping Center Parking Lot. So, literally Smithtown is at a cross-roads, either continue down its current path or make significant changes to serve the residents of the town. Unfortunately, Smithtown lacks parallel streets to create one way streets to route the traffic (like they did it in Loveland, Colorado with US 287). Another product of poor urban planning.
Nick Metrowsky December 19, 2011 at 08:14 PM
Based upon the comments here, apparently the Town of Smithtown, Suffolk County and New York State does not listen to the people at all. Maybe. At least here, in Boulder County, Colorado, the people are given a say in the planning and project execution. Apparently, developers, who created the mess, did not have to provide impact studies on what uncontrolled development would do. Route 347 was suppose to be a limited access highway; a more or less continuation of the Northern State Parkway along Veteran's Highway and to 347 continuing northwest to Port Jefferson, and Veteran's Highway itself a limited access highway to Route 27. But, politicians did not do anything, but collect and pocket tax money. And, for the tax money you folks pay, you should have a top notch highway system throughout Suffolk County.
Christopher D'Antonio December 19, 2011 at 09:42 PM
Jill I have no quarrel with you, and do not represent any attempt to impose new transportation systems on everyone. I fully recognize the car as an essential part of our transportation system, for which alternatives are infeasible in many parts of the country. Long Island is unique, however. Compared to most of the country we are very densely populated, in many cases our "suburbs" exceed the density of cities. Most, if not everyone in Suffolk County is located within a comfortable bike ride of numerous amenities, be they school, LIRR stations, supermarkets, banks, post offices, and the list goes on. Many are also within a comfortable walk. If you are going to begrudge 15 minutes as an uncomfortable amount of time to get anywhere than you haven't observed the growing obesity rates in our country or the amount of delay imposed by congestion on our roadways. Also, whether we want to face reality or not, the supply of petroleum is shrinking, which means that at some point rising gas prices alone will make alternative modes of travel more appealing because of the energy they conserve, not to mention the associated costs they can mitigate (insurance, maintenance, parking, etc.) I agree with you that the present state of our transport network does not present alternatives to the car as comfortable let alone feasible, but that is our own fault for not demanding their enhancement alongside our road network. A first class transit network could thrive on Long Island.
Christopher D'Antonio December 19, 2011 at 09:49 PM
Additionally, in a place like Main Street in Smithtown there most certainly should not be pedestrian overpasses because it would simply encourage cars to drive faster, partially destroying the pedestrian realms around the roadway. Additionally fewer pedestrians would be encouraged to walk around downtown as the overpasses would present obstacles to their movement. Main Street should become a tamer public space, where cars can move about reasonably quick, but there are safe spaces for bicycles and pedestrians.
Nick Metrowsky December 19, 2011 at 09:53 PM
And to support Christopher's point, Boulder County, Colorado has set up its transport system so there are bike lanes, on many of its roads, and separate bike paths, which parallel very busy roads. Also, we are part of a Regional Transport District which has buses going to various cities in the county and to surrounding counties. Finally, the Regional Transport District to provide train service. Also, our county has land use policies which encourage open space between various cities, so not to create the density now prevalent in Suffolk County. I, for one, work in downtown Denver, but I take a bus to downtown three days a week (work from home the other two days). It is a 40 mile ride, that can be done in about 50 minutes. The Denver Metropolitan Area has about 2.7 million people fro comparison purposes. Though, Denver does have its traffic issues, it is not as bad as Smithtown.
Christopher D'Antonio December 19, 2011 at 09:55 PM
Nick, I am happy that 347 did not become a limited access highway, but is rather manifesting itself as a suburban boulevard today. If it had followed the original plan it would have created a rift in Hauppauge and Nesconset greater than the existing 347 does today. I would have preferred to have seen BRT built into 347 from the outset, however, as has already been built north of Denver.
Jill in Nesconset December 19, 2011 at 11:32 PM
Christopher-You are under a misconception:There is no shortage of oil in this country. We just have to get it!!!! Obesity and lack of excercise do not lead to a thinner population. Eating less-or just eating properly would achieve that goal. Let me also say-I don't want anymore public transportation. We can't afford any more union workers. Driving my car ultimately costs less. There is not enough of the population "longing" for bike lanes. They have been a disaster in NYC.
Christopher D'Antonio December 20, 2011 at 12:21 AM
Jill, production of oil in this country peaked in the 1970s. Yes, there is more oil to be had but it is far more energy and water intensive to mine and refine. I believe you're referring to the oil shale in Colorado, the oil sands in Canada, and the fracking presently occurring in States from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania. Each of these "new" sources of oil has only come about with the elevation of petroleum prices which has made their production economically feasible, previously they were seen as money wasting enterprises when cheap oil was available to be pumped out of the ground beneath the land or ocean. So, I am not laboring under a misconception, especially when you consider that India, Brazil, and China are everyday putting more gasoline consuming cars on the road and more people in households powered by fossil fuels like petroleum and coal.
Christopher D'Antonio December 20, 2011 at 12:22 AM
Not to mention that refining oil from the new sources is also more noxious and destroys the environment around the areas where it occurs.
Christopher D'Antonio December 20, 2011 at 12:48 AM
Also, Public transportation in Suffolk County is run by a consortium of private companies regulated by a public oversight agency, so you're not contending with the unions you seem to identify as onerous. So, if that's the only reason you don't want anymore public transportation then I say give me bus rapid transit routes from start to finish on routes 110, 111, and 112, because it'll be difficult to widen them any further to accomodate the additional car traffic we would expect given the growth we expect in Suffolk. If your vision is to see Suffolk stabilize and not grow in terms of population then I would appeal to you for greater transit to mitigate existing congestion problems and also make our communities real communities as opposed to simply places where a bunch of people who don't care what happens around them happen to live. Transit gives an essential form of transport to the elderly, the young, students, those without drivers licenses, those who genuinely dislike driving or who aren't the best drivers, and those who prefer to use their transport time for reading, organizing their day ahead or any number of other tasks. It also provides an inexpensive alternative for anyone who's ever had their car in the shop or otherwise unavailable.
Christopher D'Antonio December 20, 2011 at 01:11 AM
Driving one's car may seem to cost less to you, but if you took your yearly car expenses and the fraction of your income which is given as tax to support the LIRR and Suffolk Transit, you'd find that your car expenses were likely greater by a visible margin. Considering you are already paying for transit anyway, you should use it! And if it isn't convenient for you, as it often isn't for me, then you should raise hell to make it more convenient rather than wanting it to disappear. I've yet to see any quantitative evidence that the bike lanes in NYC have been a disaster. Instead I've seen figures quoted of a reduction in accidents involving bicycles and automobiles, and of increased rates of cycling in the city year over year. Just like cars, there have been issues involving cyclists who don't follow traffic rules but they are being addressed, and as cyclists are given their place in the city, they'll be more inclined to follow existing traffic law.
Jill in Nesconset December 20, 2011 at 01:50 AM
Thank you for clarifying your point of view. I disagree with much of what you say. I guess I get my info from different places than you and feel your point of view is not reflective of the info I have.
James Gilbride December 20, 2011 at 02:00 AM
So how does mommy drop off the kids at hockey the go shopping on a bike? Bikes are not the answer. This is the suburbs, cars are a requirement and people around here are not rich enough to have hybrids or electric, so gas guzzlers are the norm.
Nick Metrowsky December 20, 2011 at 03:01 AM
Based upon the comments today, it seems that the consensus is to retain four lanes of traffic on Main Street. With that said, $200,000 of improvements is a band-aid to what really needs to be done. So, here is a way to keep four lanes. 1. Get rid of parking on Main Street, this allows a turning lane and median. It even allows bicycle lanes. 2. Lower the speed limit to 25 MPH from "the Bull" to to just past 25A/111. 3. Put in flashing signs indicating a pedestrian cross walk at all intersections. These are in use all over Boulder. Colorado. In Colorado, it is the law that cars must stop when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk. 4. Build parking garages, where possible. Start with part of the parking lot at the Branch Shopping Center. There are probably other surface parking lots (behind Town Hall) that also could be sites fro parking. 5. Place signs at strategic locations on Route 25 west and east of Smithtown encouraging traffic to take an alternate route. 6. Place electronic billboard signs near Veteran's Highway/Route 25 and Route 347/25 indicating how long it will take to drive through Smithtown; again to discourage pass through traffic. 7. For Beautification, bury the power lines along Main Street. 8. Add a store front police precinct to add a police presence in town. I suggest that the Town of Smithtown pass some type of tax levy to pay for all of this. It will do the job, but it will not be cheap.
James Gilbride December 20, 2011 at 03:50 AM
All your FIXES won't do anything to stop the original problem, speeding while under the INFLUENCE! Nothing anyone does will save one life when you mix cars and Alcohol/Drugs. So why are is everyone willing to spend money on slowing down everyone when the drunk/druggie will just run the light and kill.
Christopher D'Antonio December 20, 2011 at 06:31 AM
James, I do not expect for the car to ever be replaced, but to expect that all trips warrant a car ride is just as absurd as expecting a mother with 7 kids to bike them wherever they need to go. The principal trips of the day should be accomodated by alternate modes, or multi-modal journeys. Many already drive to train stations to pick up the LIRR to points west. I'm of the opinion that if you happen to work and live within Suffolk, transit should serve your needs as best as possible to offer you an alternative to the car. Not everyone is near a bus route, but if you live within a half mile of roads like route 111, transit should be an alternative. Our communities were originally built around foot, horse, rail, and even bicycle transportation before they became the domain of automobiles. I don't understand why they needed to exclude or make using the alternate modes unsafe in order to enhance facilities for automobiles. It is certainly possible to design our transportation system to accomodate all modes well, something which I hope will be better demonstrated when construction is completed on Route 347. So, yes, bikes alone are not the answer, but they are a part of a potential solution.
Christopher D'Antonio December 20, 2011 at 07:47 AM
Nick I agree with all of your points. I'd like to add the following: 1. Eliminate or merge as many driveways exiting onto Main Street between Route 111 and Edgewater Avenue as possible. Concurrent with this, unify adjacent parking lots to allow parking lots that could be landlocked by the execution of this move to exit onto side streets off of Main Street. 2. Clearly indicate where parking may be accessed off of side streets after the driveway elimination/merging has taken place 3. Place rumble strips before major intersections. I think Smithtown is working towards some sort of Special Improvement District type zoning for Kings Park, Smithtown, and St. James. If NYSDOT could include dedicated bus pullouts along Main Street, that would be a great step. The traffic circle ideas at intersections are amongst the best for maintaining the circulation of automobiles while lowering their speeds, but they can be problematic for pedestrians.
Christopher D'Antonio December 20, 2011 at 07:53 AM
James, moving people to pedestrian, cycling, or transit as alternative modes could go quite a way toward mitigating the lethal cocktail of cars and alcohol/drugs. If our transit system actually took people to and from bars or wherever they needed to get to when they're high than we might see a lessened incidence of this problem. The value of transit in offsetting drunk driving on the island is already seen by the number, loudness, and frequency with which crowds of drunk people take the LIRR into and out of NYC and other points.
Pam December 20, 2011 at 11:02 AM
On Saturday while waiting for the light on Landing and Main St-- 5 jaywalkers crossing streets all before the red hand turned to walk--The SCPD should be a strong presence on Main St.-Ticketing speeders, jaywalkers, and cruising the Walgreens and Sleepy's parking lots. It may not fix our overcapacity roads but it may keep people alive.
Serious December 30, 2011 at 05:35 PM
In context to the article above; I’m glad something is being done, but I doubt this will improve anything for drivers or pedestrians. I’ll be optimistic and comment after it’s implemented. In context to the comments; I find it hard to differentiate between the comments of people that just drive though Smithtown and the comments of people who actually live in Smithtown. One guy lives in Denver? What do you care? I live in Smithtown and I don’t care in the slightest for people just passing through or observing from a distance. We should make Smithtown nice for Smithtown residents. I should feel comfortable walking around in my own town. Making Main Street a four lane monster for these commuters to just pass through isn’t the answer. We’re better than that. It should be a compromise between walkers and drivers. Above all it should be ascetically pleasing because this is where we live.
Candyee December 30, 2011 at 06:55 PM
The cupcake store is now open .Cyrus is not. Figari's is moving into the former Blockbuster store, Jacks Tobacco has moved into one of the old houses on Singer Lane. Rumor has it Kohl's is taking over the former Waldbaums and few other stores .
LCDR December 30, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Nick?? 25, 30, 35 MPH. We can't get people to stop DWI, texting, talking on cell phones or driving w/out a license or insurance. How do you stop speeding?? SCPD won't use radar. Just ask them. And if they did, it's for 1 day. How can you slow cars down? Speed bumps? That's a good idea except they are illegal & the County will not do it. It's a dream to envision compliance with local speed laws. Count the expanding number of STOP signs in your area. That's cause the cops can't be there to patrol. Let us know the next time you see a cop walking the streets of your town. Until you get a co-operative and compliant police force, the speeds will continue. Go out to your problem street, and click off how many police cars go past in a day, or an hour. The police think they are better than you or I do, and until that changes, good luck. Until cops salaries/benefits are driven back to realistic levels, you will never get enough of them on the street to make a difference. Get 60 minutes to do a piece some day. They can gauge how many cops in your area, and how far they have to travel to a call. Have them compare coverage with other states, like Florida. What you pay, Nick, for one cop in our county, you should be paying for two. Sorry to see Steve Levy go. Better or worse, he held the arrogant & overpaid blue line back for a while. I doubt the new guy will. Nick, try putting an "I LOVE STEVE LEVY" bumper sticker on the old clunker. Then you'll see cops.
Nick Metrowsky December 30, 2011 at 10:45 PM
LCDR, Well, in my town, I see the cops all the time. Why? Because Longmont, Colorado is about the size of Smithtown Township geographically, and is home to 87,000 people. Our city is divided into 14 police beats and they patrol the area constantly. Maybe that is why Longmont was cited as the second safest city in Colorado. Do not get me wrong we have crime, and not long a go a gang problem. And yes we have speeders, people driving and texting, driving and talking on cell phones, unattentive teenage drivers and DWIs. B u, e do not have county police. maybe that is the real problem. Outside of Longmont, the sheriff and the Colorado State Police handle patrols. You are right there is not enough police, because the Suffolk County police are spread too thin. Maybe the town should set up separate police departments and take the tax money going to the Suffolk County Police and go to these departments instead.
Nick Metrowsky December 30, 2011 at 10:50 PM
Serious, because I used to live there and care about the town I grew up in. I only offered suggestions, because some of them worked out here. Your frustration should be directed to your state, county and township government which put development ahead of planning; and the result is nightmare called Main Street.
LCDR December 30, 2011 at 11:18 PM
OOPS!
Bill Miller January 02, 2012 at 10:10 PM
If Kohl's takes over the former Waldbaums store AND they reduce the lanes on Main Street as they have said, this is a recipe for not only disaster but gridlock every day. No one will want to drive through town anymore.

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