$62 Million For Pedestrian Safety Upgrades

Jivanna Bennaeim holds a picture of her husband, Oren, who was hit and killed on Middle Neck Road in Fall 2016, and son, Tristan, at the pedestrian safety press conference last summer, as Baldwin Civic Association’s Karen Montalbano and Vision Long Island Executive Director Eric Alexander look on. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

New York State will invest $62 million in upgrades to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the street, according to Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso. The state has studied many crosswalks and evaluated safety concerns, then identified the upgrades needed to make the crosswalks safer.

As part of the pedestrian-safety upgrade in the Village of Great Neck Plaza, Nassau County will receive $330,000 to build a curb extension at the intersection of South Middle Neck Road and Barstow Road, the crosswalk where a pedestrian was fatally struck in September 2016.

“We would like to continue to maintain Great Neck as a walkable neighborhood, making it safer at crosswalks,” said D’Urso.

Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean A. Celender thanked D’Urso for his efforts to secure state grant monies for the Nassau County Department of Public Works (NCDPW) to design and construct bulb-outs, or crosswalk extensions, at the South Middle Neck Road intersection in the plaza.

“Curb extensions are a proven, effective traffic calming technique with many benefits,” said Celender. “Bulb-outs increase pedestrian visibility at intersections through improved sight lines, decrease pedestrian exposure to vehicles by shortening the crossing distance and raise a pedestrian from the street level to curb height in a refuge area that will reduce potential conflicts with vehicles. Thanks, too, to the efforts of Commissioner Ken Arnold and Deputy Commissioner Sean Sallie of the NCDPW for sponsoring it and writing the successful grant proposal. We pledge our support and cooperation with Nassau County, and we’ll help in any way that we can, in the implementation of this important traffic-safety improvement.”

Jivanna and Oren Bennaeim, before the tragic hit and run on Middle Neck Road

Jivanna Bennaeim, the widow of the hit-and-run victim at that dangerous intersection, said, “I’m very appreciative to the state for selecting Great Neck to receive these funds. I am hopeful that the design the county chooses will make it safer for everyone in our town to cross Middle Neck Road safely. I can imagine my husband, Oren, being at peace that the tragedy that happened to him will hopefully never happen again.”

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