Oceanside, NY – With an anticipated uptick in pedestrian accidents as daylight saving time has ended, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran joined Commissioner of Police Patrick Ryder, Legislator Debra Mule, Department of Public Works (DPW) leadership and Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Trauma Team to shed light on the County’s pedestrian safety initiatives and raise awareness of roadway safety measures for pedestrians and drivers. At a crosswalk outside Mount Sinai South Nassau, County officials shared pedestrian accident data and discussed efforts including utilizing state-of-the-art traffic safety technologies; evaluation and upgrades to pedestrian infrastructure; comprehensive and diverse traffic studies; community engagement, education programs and more.
In addition, the County is initiating a Road Corridor Safety Master Plan to secure a system that allows the County to programmatically address both current and future inquiries related to road corridor safety and review accident histories for these corridors.
“As we continue to promote and develop walkable downtown communities near mass transit, ensuring the safety of both motorists and pedestrians is a top priority. Nassau County has a wide-ranging approach to addressing pedestrian safety utilizing the latest technology, comprehensive traffic studies and community outreach,” said County Executive Curran. “With accidents involving pedestrians almost doubling from September to November in recent years, as it gets darker earlier, there is more to be done – especially in the way pedestrian accidents are reported and analyzed. We must also continue to educate both drivers and pedestrians about their responsibilities on the road."
“Pedestrian safety is of utmost importance, especially around the holiday season when so many of us can become distracted by many things,” said Commissioner of Police Patrick Ryder. “We have to make it a priority to all go home safe to our families and loved ones. Please limit these distractions when driving and as a pedestrian so we can significantly decrease accidents and injuries.”
“The Trauma team at Mount Sinai South Nassau unfortunately sees the impact of pedestrian injuries all too often in our Emergency Department,” said Dr. Joshua Kugler, Chairman of Emergency Services at Mount Sinai South Nassau. “We see a pedestrian trauma case every other day on average, just here on the South Shore. Broken bones and serious head injuries are among the many results of pedestrian strikes and they can have long lasting impacts for victims and their families. We need to do more to educate pedestrians to stay safe when crossing busy intersections to reduce the number of injuries. Make eye contact with drivers. Don’t be distracted by cell phones. Wear light colored or reflective clothing. Your life could depend on it.”
Nassau County Traffic Engineering Safety Initiatives
Nassau County works to utilize the latest technologies to improve safety including the most up-to-date treatments available in pavement markings, signs, signals and beacons, and the use of Rectangular Rapidly Flashing Beacons (RRFB). Three RRFB locations were installed between 2017-2019; on Atlantic Avenue at Union in Lynbrook, East Williston Avenue at the East Williston Middle School in East Williston, and Tulip Avenue in Floral Park. An additional RRFB is being designed for Nassau Boulevard in Garden City South.
All non- motorized crossings are signed using highly reflective material (Fluorescent Strong Yellow Green) which is most visible in low light conditions, i.e. dawn/dusk in fall and winter season. DPW consistently replaces old pedestrian signal displays with new pedestrian count down signals which better inform the pedestrians of their crossing time. Pedestrian facilities were upgraded or enhanced at 129 existing signals between 2017 and 2019. Additional upgrades are highlighted below.
• School zone speed awareness and feedback devices were installed at 32 locations between 2017 and 2019.
• Using state-of-the-art reflective materials, existing county crosswalks are being routinely refurbished to provide maximum visual effectiveness with approximately 720 crosswalks refurbished between 2017 and 2019.
• A countywide evaluation of all existing traffic signals was initiated and is on-going to determine the feasibility for the use of Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS). APS assists visually impaired pedestrians by providing audio cues to cross the street. APS was installed at 37 locations between 2017 and 2019.
Nassau County DPW approaches every project with the goal of creating Complete Streets, which are public rights-of-way that account for all types of users and activities, including vehicles, transit, pedestrians and bicyclists. The objective is to make our streets safe and inviting for all users and modes of transportation and to improve the quality of life for Nassau County residents and visitors. Currently, there are five Complete Streets projects underway in Baldwin, Atlantic Beach/East Atlantic Beach, Hicksville, Barnum Island and Great Neck Plaza.
Nassau County Traffic Safety Studies
In addition to the Road Corridor Safety Master Plan, Nassau County is about to initiate the Nassau County Shared-Mobility Management Plan, a study to create a strategy for integrating and expediting the adoption of new mobility modes and services. Biking infrastructure and bike sharing availability will be a critical component of the Plan.
In Elmont, DPW is looking at ways to improve safety for all roadway users on Elmont Road, Dutch Broadway, and Corona Avenue. This work will complement the Town of Hempstead’s recent lowering of Dutch Broadway’s speed limit to 20 mph, telling local drivers that “Twenty is Plenty!”
In Great Neck, The Middle Neck Road Traffic Safety Evaluation study includes Middle Neck Road from Darley Road/Susquehanna Avenue to Redbrook Road. As part of the study, engineering recommendations to slow traffic in the area to improve the pedestrian and vehicular environment will be made. Improvements to be analyzed include, bicycle lanes, curb extensions and bump-outs, pedestrian refuge medians, signal timing modifications, lane diets, driver feedback devices, turn lanes and additional traffic signals.
Community Outreach Infinitives
Children and Older Adults (65+) are most vulnerable to pedestrian injuries. For seniors, pedestrian-traffic injuries are the 2nd leading cause of unintentional injury - related deaths, and 2nd leading cause of unintentional, injury-related hospital admissions.
New York State’s Department of Health has worked in cooperation with the Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to develop and distribute “See! Be Seen!” pedestrian safety campaign resources and the County has taken full advantage.
Nassau County Traffic Safety And the New York Coalition for Transportation Safety has been working with the Long Island Health Cooperative (funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through a grant from the NY State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee). They are a partnership of Long Island's hospitals, county health departments, health providers, community-based social and human service organizations, academic institutions, health plans, local government, and the business sector, all engaged in improving the health of Long Islanders. Together, they have been using many media sources to help us promote pedestrian safety including a pedestrian safety video contest whose winners were announced on September 14th at Joseph’s Hospital.
Nassau County Traffic Safety has been working with Police Departments throughout the County, Senior housing communities, AAA, Safe Kids, DEDICATEDD and many other organizations to provide pedestrian safety education programs. The Nassau County Traffic Safety in cooperation Car Free Long Island recently hosted a walk for Mobility Week on September 14, 2019, providing participants with reflective materials such as wristbands, vests and more.
To prevent and avoid pedestrian-related injuries or death, pedestrians and motorists are encouraged to follow these safety tips:
“See!” Tips for Motorists:
“Be Seen!” Tips for Pedestrians: