Main Street in Smithtown, which has been deemed a "deadly" roadway by area residents, is scheduled to be revamped this spring in an effort to increase pedestrian safety, according to the New York State Department of Transportation.
The biggest change to Main Street will the elimination of two westbound lanes from New York Avenue/Redwood Lane to Route 111. That section of Main Street will drop to one lane with a left turn lane added.
The project also calls updated traffic signals with No Left Turn signs at the Singer Avenue and the shopping center; and an advanced pedestrian walk signal timing, will be installed.
The new signal timing system, said the DOT, will hold all directions of traffic until pedestrians are give a chance to start crossing before the light turns green.
In addition, to slow traffic during off-peek hours, a "rest in red" system will be implemented. The "rest in red system," says the DOT prevents traffic signals from turning green until a vehicle has pulled up the the intersection.
The improvements, according to Joan McDonald, commissioner, are part of an ongoing project to "to encourage safer, slower driving and better protect pedestrians in the Smithtown Main Street shopping district."
“Safety of the traveling public is of utmost importance to us," said McDonald.
The DOT started the project after the tragic death of 11-year-old , who was killed at the intersection of Lawrence Avenue and Main Street in November 2009.
At that time, the DOT implemented 13 safety measures. Those include installing a fence on south side of Route 25 between Lawrence Avenue and Landing Avenue, increasing pedestrian crossing time, installing a Leading Pedestrian Interval that provides a “walk” sign seconds before vehicles get a green light and installing timers to let pedestrians know how much time they have to cross the road.
In Febuary 2011, tragedy struck again when 33-year-old, Kings Park resident Seamus Byrne, .
Other pedestrians have been injured on the roadway. According to the DOT, between 2003 and 2008, 17 of 359 accidents reported on Main Street involved pedestrians.
Among pedestrians injured were sisters Melody Burgos, 9, Mabel, 13, who were struck by an SUV on
Most recently, the Long Island AARP issued a report saying five traffic circles should be installed along a one-mile stretch of Main Street to slow traffic.
The DOT says it will also continue to look for ways to further improve safety and will monitor the area to evaluate the effectiveness of the improvements that have been made.
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