By Rita J. Egan
Local legislators are doing their part to create a safer Route 25A for Stony Brook pedestrians.
At a July 25 press conference held at the Stony Brook Long Island Rail Road station, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) made a formal plea to the New York State Department of Transportation to install sidewalks along Route 25A, a state roadway, from the train station heading west to Stony Brook Village’s Main Street.
Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and representatives from the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, Three Village Civic Association, Three Village Chamber of Commerce and Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners joined Romaine and Cartright to show their support.
“We are blessed to have the largest state university in the state of New York here,” Romaine said. “It provides jobs, it provides culture, it provides academics, but it also provides a lot of kids who are looking to do something off campus. We don’t have a problem with that but we do have a problem with the safety of this road.”
The supervisor said there are sidewalks to the east and west of the station but they stop approximately 500 to 1,000 feet from the location. He said pedestrians are forced to walk on the roadway, and through the years, there have been three injuries and one pedestrian death along Route 25A. While the town has reached out to the state DOT in the past, they have been told that the funds are not in the budget and the installation of sidewalks in the area is not a priority.
“The state DOT has done a number of great projects throughout Long Island,” Romaine said. “We’re asking them to do one more project that may be expensive but would greatly improve pedestrian safety.”
Cartright said Brookhaven Town is completing a corridor study of Route 25A from Smithtown to Poquott, and in the beginning of the year, she attended community visioning meetings.
“Time and time again I hear from our constituents that walkers, students and residents are fearing for their safety in this particular section of 25A,” Cartright said. “Given these safety concerns, the accidents, the fatality that was mentioned, we ask that the DOT prioritize doing work, providing sidewalks in this particular area.”
Gloria Rocchio, president of WMHO, and Bruce Sander, co-founder of Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners, both described issues with the roadway. Rocchio said there were problems with speeding, especially at night. Sander said many students walk in the roadway in the dark and don’t wear visible colors.
Englebright estimated that installing sidewalks would cost about $5 million and supported the initiative.
“If you’re a student at the university and you want to go to the namesake of your university, which is the village itself, you literally have to take your life in your hands,” he said. “This shouldn’t be.”