With the ongoing construction on Jericho Turnpike and the addition of medians as a reported traffic calming and pedestrian safety measure, some New Hyde Park residents are seeing their daily routines disrupted when they simply want to cross the street.
“That divider to me is an impediment for people crossing and also for handicapped access as far as wheelchairs and whatnot and it’s smack in the middle of the crosswalk,” resident Frank Blennau said of the eliminated crosswalk at Sixth Street and Jericho Turnpike during the New Hyde Park Village Board on April 2 at the village hall.
The state is eliminating the crosswalk because it is not regulated by a traffic control device allowing a stop light to halt traffic while pedestrians are allowed to cross. Concrete and brick medians are also being added to the center lane along Jericho Turnpike as a traffic calming measure in efforts to reduce vehicle speeds along Route 25.
“They’ve deemed it to be too dangerous for pedestrians to cross,” mayor Robert Lofaro said, “and they would prefer the pedestrians to move further down towards North Sixth Street where there is a traffic control device where they should cross. They no longer want pedestrians to cross at Bob Howard’s to South Sixth Street because again, it’s too dangerous.”
The village has asked the state to leave the crosswalk and monitor with a crossing guard, “but anytime they have crossing markings on the ground, the state takes responsibility if for some reason it’s deemed unsafe,” Lofaro said, “and it was their decision to eliminate that crossing.”
Other crossings at South Fifth Street and Hillside Boulevard on Jericho have been deemed safe by the state.
In 2010, two fatalities occurred on Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park when cars struck a 60-year old near South 11th Street in November and another in December when one of two pedestrians was hit crossing at the corner of South Third Street. A fatal car accident also occurred in January 2012 when a vehicle crashed into the Jamaica Bearings building on Jericho Turnpike, killing the 41-year old driver.
The state has also installed a fence along Hempstead Turnpike, citing pedestrian safety and the large number of pedestrian fatalities that have occurred along the thoroughfare.
Lofaro said that one the project is completed there would be a “new discipline” that residents will have to become accustomed to at North Tenth Street, North Eleventh Street, South Third Street, and South Third Street and South Second Street around the New Hyde Park Inn with dividers not allowing crossing.