Time for a safer Main Street
In light of the most recent Main Street accident involving a pedestrian, who was killed after being run over by a truck making a right turn onto North Ocean Avenue at the Four Corners on Jan. 30, Mayor Paul Pontieri has been actively pushing forward prior plans to update road safety and outdated crosswalks from West to Maple avenues and Rider to River avenues.
According to Pontieri, the comprehensive study of all crosswalks and traffic lights began about three years ago in an effort to accommodate the increased traffic due to the growth and popularity of the village. The crosswalks for example, he said, are each over 30 years old. “The technology and timing goes back to when Main Street was dead,” he said.
“With all of the foot traffic in downtown Patchogue, it makes sense to have a comprehensive study conducted of the crosswalks,” added deputy presiding officer Rob Calarco, who was tapped for help with the project. “I am happy to help in any way and I support our Department of Public Works assisting the Village of Patchogue with guidance or suggestions.”
The study done by LKM Engineering, Pontieri said, was recently conducted and will be reviewed in about two weeks, looking at basic traffic uses, crosswalks, traffic lights, the timing of lights and left and right turns. “We want to know how to make the crosswalks safer and how to move traffic more smoothly through the downtown,” he said, explaining that it needs to be made clearer for drivers to know when to turn and pedestrians to know when to walk.
The discussion of a traffic study, he said, has been on the table since traffic began to back up all the way to West Avenue on weekends. After the death of a pedestrian at the Four Corners in 2015 and another earlier this year, he said it was just time to make it happen.
The project, Pontieri estimated, could cost about $200,000, for which he has since contacted Sen. Tom Croci (R-Sayville) for funding. According to Croci’s chief of staff Christopher Molluso, the senator wants to be as helpful as possible in pursuing funding for the village and has already started applying for a NYS Multimodal Grant, which could take a few months to be awarded in the amount of about $100,000 (which would then be matched by the village through surplus funding).
“Safety is an issue with the growth of the village. The mayor has done an instrumental job in promoting the village, but there is a lot more traffic and pedestrians. Anything we can do to enhance pedestrian safety is something Sen. Croci takes very seriously,” he said.
Once funding is in place and the study is complete, all lights and crosswalks will be replaced with new technology as well as some electronic boxes and control panels.
The goal, Pontieri said, is to see the project begin sometime within the next three months or so by purchasing the equipment and entering into the proper agreements. Once ready, work will begin at the Four Corners.
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