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Traffic

Meeting to take place at town hall

Woodbury Road residents have called the thoroughfare unsafe in recent years. File photo by Barbara Donlon

The results of a Woodbury Road traffic study will be revealed at a meeting on Monday, June 15, at Huntington Town Hall, according to Huntington Councilwoman Susan Berland (D).

The town-commissioned study was a response to a petition organized by Marilyn McDermott, a resident of Cold Spring Harbor who lives on Woodbury Road. McDermott said in July that the road was so dangerous she was afraid to pull out of her driveway.  Numerous car crashes have occurred in recent years on the road that connects Cold Spring Harbor and Huntington, two of which resulted in fatalities.

The Uniondale-based traffic engineering consultant GEB HiRise, which will host the Town Hall meeting on Monday along with Berland, conducted the study. The town board authorized the cost of the study to be less than $25,000.

“I think people will be happy with the study,” Berland said in a phone interview this week. “They’ll see the analysis that went into it.”

McDermott said she will attend the meeting on Monday to hear the results of the study and the firm’s recommendations for future change.

“It’s been worth it already,” McDermott said about the time she has dedicated to making the road she travels on everyday safer. “It’s brought my community together in a way that’s been eye opening.”

McDermott said she was surprised by the support she received from both the board and the community thus far, but she expects that the findings will reveal a need for changes.

“It would behoove them to make some changes based on the fatalities and accidents that have gone on there in the past,” McDermott said.

Other Woodbury Road residents have spoken out about the dangerous conditions of the road since the petition for a traffic study began in June of last year.

“The way the turn is constructed, along with slippery conditions, the road equals death,” Woodbury Road resident Stan Cotek said in July.

Another resident, Sierra Mittleman, a neighbor of McDermott’s, also said in July, “Our whole road is starting to look like a memorial.”

Berland said that members of the engineering firm that conducted the study would take questions from community members after they reveal the results and their recommendations on Monday night. Boards will be set up around the room with pictures of sections of the roadway, along with what is suggested for those particular areas, according to Berland.

“I hope we have a great turn out and a lot of people come and share their opinion,” Berland said about Monday’s meeting.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

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File photo

With warmer weather comes an urge to leave the house, and we expect, as usual, there will be a lot more cars on the road, so now is a good time to remind our readers not to lose their cool behind the wheel.

Whether a driver made a mistake — as we all do from time to time — or not, it can be terrifying for that person when another motorist becomes enraged and takes it out on them. We’ve all experienced tailgating or obnoxious horn-honking, and some of us have been victims of more dire cases of road rage, like prolonged following and actual physical violence or threats. In the less confrontational incidents, frustrated and angry drivers often lash out because it’s easy to hide in the anonymous bubble of a car, when they would not have been so bold to display such anger in person. In the more extreme cases, the mad drivers may have had a screw or two loose to begin with and might have acted out no matter the location or circumstance.

We understand that daily stresses factor into this problem, and Long Island’s immense traffic congestion doesn’t help the frustration we might already be feeling while in the car. But consider this: The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that aggressive driving is a factor in more than half of all traffic fatalities, according to 2009 data. In those cases, “motorists are concerned with the others’ aggressive driving while many are guilty themselves.”

Terrible accidents involving mangled cars happen all the time, but they don’t have to happen over things as petty as payback for being cut off or revenge on a slow-moving vehicle. We urge our readers to slow down when they’re seeing red behind the wheel and take some time to think about what the other person’s situation might be before lashing out. Give each other the benefit of the doubt because we are all humans who make mistakes. Let small road infractions go with a deep exhale. Rising tempers don’t give us license to rage on the road. And the consequences can be deadly.

The Sagtikos Parkway. Photo from NYSDOT

Members of the public will get to weigh in on the future of the Sagtikos-Sunken Meadow Parkway at two New York State Department of Transportation informational meetings next week.

The state department is seeking input for a Sagtikos State Parkway/Sunken Meadow Parkway Operational Study. The goal of the study is to “examine how the roadway functions, identify causes of traffic congestion and accidents and determine how the corridor will function in the future.”

According to the DOT, an average of 90,000 vehicles per day use the Sagtikos-Sunken Meadow State Parkway.

Residents, businesses, and all interested groups are encouraged to attend and provide input regarding the Sagtikos-Sunken Meadow Parkway Study within the towns of Islip, Babylon, Smithtown and Huntington, the department said in a statement.

The meetings will take place on Tuesday, April 14, and Thursday, April 16, 2015. The April 14 meeting is being held at Deer Park High School, 1 Falcon Place, Deer Park, between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. The April 16 meeting is being held at William T. Rogers Middle School, 97 Old Dock Road, Kings Park, between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Study-area maps, traffic and accident data, and other related information will be on hand for review. State engineers and representatives will be available to answer questions and receive comments on this operational study.

“Input and suggestions from the local community are strongly encouraged,” according to a DOT statement.

A driver crashed into a pole and a tree while trying to evade police on Saturday, seriously injuring herself, authorities said.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, a 3rd Precinct officer attempted to pull over Alyssa Leppert in a cul-de-sac on Kurt Lane in Hauppauge at about 4:40 p.m., after observing her driving a Chevy TrailBlazer erratically. However, police said, Leppert attempted to get away from the officer by driving on the lawns of multiple houses, causing damage to several lawns, in order to get back onto Route 111.

A few minutes later, police said, Leppert was driving north on Route 111 and lost control of the Chevy, struck a telephone pole, and then hit a tree about 20 yards south of Route 347. The SUV came to a stop at the intersection of Route 111 and Veterans Memorial Highway.

Leppert, a 22-year-old East Northport resident, was in critical condition at Stony Brook University Hospital.

Detectives are investigating the incident.

Leppert has previous, unrelated charges pending against her, including attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance. Attorney information for the defendant was not available.

Miller Place officials proposed a driver's education program for next year. Stock photo

The Miller Place school district plans to bring a driver’s education program back to the district after roughly 10 years without it.

At the Feb. 25 budget meeting, Superintendent Marianne Higuera included a summer pilot driver’s education program in the budget — at no cost to the district. She said course fees would cover the cost of the self-sustaining program.

The district decided to add the program back as there is no location in Miller Place for students to take driver’s education. Currently, they must travel to neighboring districts or schools to participate.

No details have been made regarding the program, but the district expects to have more information at the end of May.

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