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New York State Department of Transportation

Community members hold up signs on the corner of Route 25A and Miller Place Roadto bring awareness to the dangerous intersection following the death of a local 14-year-old boy. Photo by Kevin Redding

In response to a 14-year-old’s death at a busy intersection, the Miller Place community says enough is enough, and their voices were heard.

Residents from across the North Shore gathered March 26 to push for drastic safety changes at a dangerous road crossing at the intersection of Miller Place Road and Route 25A, where Nico Signore was struck by an SUV while riding his bike with friends last month.

Community members, including Signore’s family and friends, said the intersection should have a red left-turn signal to stop cars from entering the crosswalk when pedestrians are given the signal that it’s safe to walk to the other side. The group also agreed every corner of the intersection should be a no turn on red.

Community members hold up signs on the corner of Route 25A and Miller Place Road to bring awareness to the dangerous intersection following the death of a local 14-year-old boy. Photo by Kevin Redding

On Feb. 23, Signore pushed the crosswalk button, waited for the go-ahead signal to bike across the intersection, and was struck because the northbound driver had a green left turn arrow.

According to Miller Place resident Tammy McGuire, rally organizer and close friend to the Signores, the disastrous layout of the intersection gave the driver an invitation to run him over.

“There’s no reason Nico should be dead,” McGuire said, holding back tears. “We want someone to do something about it before more [people] die. Any parent or community member should want this changed.”

McGuire asked for a moment of silence among the crowd in memory of the beloved Miller Place lacrosse player, and 16-year-old John Luke, who died at the same intersection in May 2015, before leading the residents in a call and response chant.

“What do we want? Change,” the group shouted. “When do we want it? Now.”

Those in the crowd held up signs that read “make Miller Place safe again” and “we demand a full red before anyone else is dead” as passing cars honked in support.

“This corner has been a disaster — this whole section needs to be revamped and they need to do it immediately,” said Angela Campo, Signore’s former religion teacher. “The more time they take for studies, the more lives are lost. The Signore family has been destroyed and this community can’t take it anymore.”

A bear placed in memory if Nico Signore, who was hit by a car, holds a sign that says “make Miller Place safe again,” following the 14-year-old getting hit by a car at an intersection. Photo by Kevin Redding

She held up a sign containing a photo of her former student, adding that he was a beautiful and vibrant boy.

“He never got to live his life and the world is a much more awful place without him,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Kevin Cantwell, of Sound Beach, said Signore’s death should be the catalyst to get something done.

“Somebody has to figure this out because it’s a safety issue and there’s been proven deaths here,” Cantwell said. “Living in the community for 15 years — seeing this happen, seeing all the accidents, talking to the Miller Place fire department — this [intersection] is a nightmare.”

Back in October, months before Signore’s death, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) reached out to the department based on concern from the Miller Place School District about hazardous traffic conditions at the same intersection, where a frequent number of car accidents occurred.

Signore’s death at the intersection prompted a recent request from state Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) to the New York State Department of Transportation to conduct an immediate pedestrian-bicycle safety study along the Route 25A corridor.

LaValle received word from the DOT that it will be making changed to the Miller Place intersection. The agreement included a red turn arrow on Miller Place Road.

“This will prevent cars from turning into the intersection while pedestrians are in the crosswalk,” LaValle said. “Additionally, the DOT will be installing new signs to warn drivers about pedestrians in the crosswalk.”

The changes, according to LaValle, will be implemented in two to four weeks.

“The DOT is in the process of developing long-term recommendations as well that, when implemented, will greatly improve the safety of this intersection,” LaValle said. “It is my deepest hope that these changes will prevent any future loss of life and lower the accident rate in this area.”

Community members hold up signs on the corner of Route 25A and Miller Place Road to bring awareness to the dangerous intersection following the death of a local 14-year-old boy. Photo by Kevin Redding

Stony Brook resident Danielle Algiere said even though she doesn’t know the Signore family, she came out for the simple fact that she’s a mother.

“It doesn’t matter that it happened in Miller Place, any local mother should be out here right now fighting for change,” she said. “He did everything he should’ve, and a flawed system is what got that child killed.”

The Signore family rejected the idea that the red light program had anything to do with Nico’s death, saying just the green arrow did.

“That’s not what this is about,” said Vincent Signore Jr., Nico’s older brother. “The intersection itself needs to be looked into and it’s nice to see a lot of people supporting this and caring about my brother. No family should ever have to go through this.”

All in attendance were encouraged to sign a petition, which help enacted the change, and another was passed around for the Rails to Trails project, to provide a safe, out-of-the-way path for residents to bike on. Also included in that petition was a request to dedicate a portion of the path running through Miller Place to Nico, an avid bicyclist.

“I met with the parents and they want to see a better situation in their community,” Anker said. “I hope if we move forward with Rails to Trails we’ll provide that safe place for our children to enjoy riding their bikes. The Signore family is close to my heart right now.”

This version is updated to include state Sen. Ken LaValle’s response from and about changes made to the intersection by the New York State Department of Transportation.

Transportation workers set up a sign letting travelers know of road changes. Photo from NYS Department of Transportation

Motorists who travel on Route 347 between Terry Road and Gibbs Pond Road should expect changes, as construction is set to begin Aug. 1

According to the New York State Department of Transportation, travel lanes will be reduced and night closures will start so that construction can begin as part of the Route 347 Safety, Mobility and Environmental Improvement Project. The $36.2 million plan is meant to improve motorists’ safety and mobility and transform the roadway into a modified boulevard and suburban greenway for 15 miles through the towns of Smithtown, Islip and Brookhaven.

According to the department, east and westbound travel lanes will be shifted toward the center median to accommodate work on the north and south sides of the roadway.  In addition, the current median opening at Garfield Court between Lake Avenue and Gibbs Pond Road, and the opening at the Smithtown Highway Department west of Southern Boulevard will both be permanently closed for the safety of motorists.

Due to the lane shifts, intermittent single-lane closures will be in effect Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Work requiring more than a single-lane closure in each direction will take place at night between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., Monday through Friday nights, weather permitting.

The department said in a statement that motorists will be warned in advance of the closings via electronic road signs but should plan to take alternate routes to avoid delays.

For real-time travel information motorists should call 511 or visit New York’s official traffic and travel information website: www.511NY.org.

A $6.5 million project to repave and repair Route 25A will resume in Northport and Cold Spring Harbor on Monday. File photo by Rohma Abbas

Route 25A’s $6.5 million makeover is set to resume in Cold Spring Harbor and Northport on Monday, Aug. 10, the New York State Department of Transportation said on Friday.

Motorists can expect travel lanes to be shifted between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. in both areas. In Cold Spring Harbor, repair and repaving will be underway between Glen Way and Lawrence Hill Road. In Northport, the work will span Elwood and Middleville roads, according to the DOT. No travel lane closures are expected — a single travel lane will be maintained in each direction.

The DOT estimates those sections of Route 25A to be complete in about two weeks, weather permitting.

The work is part of a larger 10.6-mile project along Route 25A/Main Street/Fort Salonga Road between NY Route 108 in Cold Spring Harbor and Bread and Cheese Hollow Road in Fort Salonga, all within Huntington Town. The top layer of distressed pavement along the project area is being removed and replaced with new asphalt and the DOT is replacing traffic signals and installing fresh pavement markings, including bike lane striping and more visible pedestrian crosswalks. The project also includes the installation of rumble devices on the center yellow lines to provide noise and vibration warnings to motorists who may stray across into oncoming traffic. In addition, workers will clean and repair drainage structures to improve roadway runoff.

Construction is being staged on shorter, limited sections of the project area, and the work is taking place during off-peak day and nighttime hours, depending on each area’s overall needs and characteristics. On-street parking will not be permitted during the construction work. Drivers are being warned of the construction and urged to use alternate routes to avoid travel delays. Local officials, businesses, schools and emergency service providers have been notified about the repaving operations in their areas.

Posillico Civil, Inc., of Farmingdale, is under contract with the DOT to perform the project.

“When completed, these pavement repairs will improve motorists’ safety and help maintain the integrity of NY Route 25A/Main Street/Fort Salonga Road in the Town of Huntington,” according to the DOT.

Drivers who cannot use alternate routes are reminded to drive carefully through the work zone for their safety as well as the safety of the highway work crew.

The construction work may be canceled, postponed or prolonged due to inclement weather.

For up-to-date traffic and travel information, motorists should call 511 or visit www.511NY.org. Travel information can also be obtained from the INFORM Transportation Management Center cameras at www.INFORMNY.com.

$6.5 million state project resumes in Fort Salonga

Roadwork on Route 25A in Fort Salonga. Photo by Rohma Abbas

A $6.5 million state project to repave a 10.6-mile stretch of Route 25A in Huntington Town resumed in Fort Salonga on May 20.

Repair and repaving work began at Bread and Cheese Hollow Road in Fort Salonga and will proceed westward to Middleville Road in Northport, according to a statement from the New York State Department of Transportation. Posillico Inc. of Farmingdale, under contract with NYS DOT, is performing the work. That section of the roadwork is expected to be completed within two weeks, according to a statement from the DOT.

The statement indicated that three of the most deteriorated sections of Route 25A were repaired prior to the harsh winter weather.

The scope of the project is to repave Route 25A, Main Street and Fort Salonga Road between Route 108 in Cold Spring Harbor and Bread and Cheese Hollow Road in Fort Salonga. The pavement along the 10.6-mile project route will be removed and replaced with new asphalt and the traffic signal loops will be replaced.

The project includes installation of fresh pavement markings, including bike lane striping and more visible pedestrian crosswalks.

In addition, audible rumble devices will be added on the centerline, which will provide noise and physical vibration warnings to motorists who stray into oncoming traffic.

Drainage structure repairs are included in the project to improve roadway runoff.

“When completed, these pavement repairs will improve motorists’ safety and help maintain the integrity of NY Route 25A/Main Street/Fort Salonga Road in the Town of Huntington,” according to the statement.

In an effort to begin the project while minimizing its impact, the construction has been arranged to be shorter and limited to sections of Route 25A, according to the state. The work will also take place during off-peak days and night hours depending on the area.

The travel lanes will also be shifted during the work to accommodate construction activities. A single travel lane is being maintained in each direction. On-street parking is not permitted during this construction work, according to the release.

The NYS DOT is urging drivers to use alternate routes in an effort to avoid travel delays. Local officials, businesses, schools and emergency service providers are being notified about the repaving operations in their local areas.

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.