It’s finished. On Friday, May 11, 2012 the New York State Department of Transportation’s (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald announced the completion of pedestrian safety improvements in Smithtown. The improvements, on NYS Route 25/25A – Main Street, were enacted to encourage safer and slower driving on a stretch of road in Smithtown that has been the scene of serious pedestrian injuries and deaths.
“We moved quickly to provide safety improvements that provide greater protections for pedestrians.” Said Joan McDonald in her press statement. “Walkers should feel more secure when crossing and motorists should better understand the need to drive with caution.”
Changes to Route 25/25A include a new configuration for westbound travel. Westbound travel will merge into a single lane after the Rte. 111 intersection. There will be left turn lanes at intersections between Rte. 111 and New York Avenue/Redwood lane.
In addition to new crosswalks and pedestrian signals, existing crosswalks have been widened. Pedestrian walk signal timing has been altered to stop traffic in all directions allowing walkers more time to start crossing before vehicles get a green light.
A “rest in red” policy has been implemented at Lawrence and Maple Avenues. Rest in red means traffic signals will remain red until a vehicle has pulled up to the intersection. Only when the car is at the intersection will the signal turn green. According to the DOT this will help deter speeding during off-peak hours when there is less traffic and increased opportunity to speed.
Left turns will be prohibited at Singer Avenue and the Branch Shopping Center.
Will these changes work? Some people think not. One resident who declined to give his name likened the changes to putting paint on a structurally unsound house. “ It may look better but the underlying problems still exist.”
NYSDOT is hopeful that the safety improvements will work and reduce pedestrian –vehicle accidents. The DOT will continue to monitor the traffic and determine whether further enhancements are warranted.
Nesconset resident Ray G. put it this way “It is the state’s responsibility to make the road safe and navigable. It is however, ultimately, up to drivers and pedestrians to follow traffic laws.”
7:57 A.M. Tuesday 5/15/2012 - Westbound traffic on 25 backed up to Mavis Transmission.
8:12 A.M. Tuesday 5/15/2012 - Westbound traffic moving along. No traffic back-up until the merge on Main Street.