Over the past several months, Patchogue Village trustee Joseph Keyes has noticed what he can only describe as “maniacs.” That is an increase in noticeably speeding drivers through the village roadways.
A resident of Bay Avenue himself, he said his concern is for the safety of residents, especially children in school zones. He began to question what can be done about it.
The village has installed about a total of 25 speed humps in various areas including Cedar Avenue heading down to the ferry, West Avenue, West Forth and East Forth, South Ocean Avenue, Mulford Street, Edwards Street and Jennings Avenue. However, the need and installation are carefully calculated, village highway superintendent Joe Dean said.
“They’re not suitable for every area,” he said, noting that residential blocks with less traffic do well with speed humps.
Next week, Keyes plans to announced his plan to launch a community-driven anti-speeding program called “No Need to Speed.” He hopes to get the community onboard with implementation in several phases.
Phase 1 includes lawn signs he already had made up to help promote the local activism. Phase 2 includes possibly altering and restriping certain roads to visually make them seem smaller to limit speeding (a road diet). Then Phase 3 might include some sort of campaign where residents will be asked to park their cars on streets to force speeders to slow down during certain daylight hours, possibly over Thanksgiving weekend.
“I am calling it a ‘road diet’,” he said, explaining the thinking behind making streets appear visibly smaller. “Traffic experts have said the visual squeeze of lanes with a paint job [works].”
According to the Federal Highway Administration, “a road diet can be a low-cost safety solution, particularly in cases where only pavement marking modifications are required to make the traffic control change.”
Keyes also plans to create side ridges that make noise when tires go over them. The campaign will be ongoing; ideas are welcome. Later this year, a digital speed radar will also be used in various zones to help prevent speeding as well. The equipment, Keyes said, has already been purchased but will not arrive until later this year. Its placement will be complaint-driven.
“The board can’t do a whole lot, but we would like to show residents that we hear them and we are trying to do something about the way people are driving around,” he added. “I would really like to drive some kind of community spirit around this and get everyone involved.”
Hot spots for speed, he said, include North Ocean Avenue, Bay Avenue, Roe Boulevard, Amity Street, Carmen Street and more.
Trustee Patrick McHeffey said he is also on board with the campaign after hearing several residents raise safety concerns.
“This plan provides a low-cost, innovative way to raise awareness about the issue, and hopefully to begin to change those patterns of driving,” McHeffey said, in favor of the campaign. “Anything we can do to make the streets safer for pedestrians, whether it’s a young family, an older couple, or those who walk to work or public transits, is a move in the right direction.”