Proposed improvements and upgrades for Cutter Mill Road
The Village of Great Neck Plaza recently held a public information meeting to discuss the proposed Cutter Mill Road Renovation Project that the village and Nassau County Department of Public Works (DPW) is planning. The presentation detailed the traffic calming and safety improvements proposed by the village and county DPW.
Mayor of the Village of Great Neck Plaza, Ted Rosen, feels these road improvements are necessary. “In my opinion, this has been an issue for many years. People have come to the village, myself and my predecessor Jean Celender with all sorts of complaints,” said Mayor Rosen.
The first traffic study on Cutter Mill Road was completed in June 2013. Since then, the village and county have worked to assess the information, hold public meetings, and collect additional data to verify the study results and form a project plan.
According to the presentation, existing conditions and issues with Cutter Mill Road include excessive vehicle speed, pedestrian safety and accommodations, vehicular accidents and road geometry.
“We have gotten complaints over the years concerning conditions that could be improved,” said Mayor Rosen. “According to the Nassau County engineers, the accidents on [Cutter Mill Road] are higher than the average. Most of the accidents have been sideswiping accidents because of the narrow lanes. Another common accident [on Cutter Mill Road] is when drivers in the right-hand lane hit parked cars or open doors of parked cars.”
To remedy these issues, the village and county have proposed multiple improvements to increase safety, reduce speeding and upgrade the overall aesthetic of the road.
A lane diet is one of the most significant changes planned for the road. Currently, Cutter Mill Road has two lanes of traffic on either side, two on the westbound side and two on the eastbound side. The proposed lane diet suggests one lane of traffic on either side, a striped median, and a turning lane in the middle. The changes would reduce travel speed and accidents while enhancing the safety of all travelers on the road.
The parking lane on either side of the road will remain, with the addition of a parking buffer, estimated to be about three feet wide to provide a wide enough area for travelers to enter and exit their cars safely on the busy road.
“More than ten years ago, the village and my predecessor Celender led the renovation of Great Neck Road,” said Mayor Rosen. “The renovation included the lane diet which the downtown planners advocated for.”
While Great Neck Road was a village project, the Cutter Mill Road renovation is a Nassau County project. According to Mayor Rosen, the Nassau County traffic engineers believe the lane diet will not cause delays or traffic tie-ups based on the various traffic counts, studies and federal guidelines for this project.
Speed awareness devices are to be installed or upgraded on the road. The current device on Ispwich Avenue will be upgraded, and an additional speed awareness device will be installed near Pearce Place.
Sidewalk bulb-outs with Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) are to be included on Chelsea Plac and Gussack Plaza to make crossing the road safer for pedestrians. Sidewalk bulb-outs, also known as curb extensions, extend the sidewalk into the parking lane to provide additional pedestrian safety. Adding bulb-outs will allow pedestrians waiting to cross the extra road space to wait for their turn to make the cross safely.
Traffic signal improvements are planned for the existing intersections on Cutter Mill Road to keep pedestrians and drivers safe. Cutter Mill Road at Bayview Avenue is to be rebuilt completely. The new constriction of the intersection includes new pedestrian crossings along the south side and Audible Pedestrian Signals (APS). The intersection at Cutter Mill Road and Town House place will be upgraded to have sidewalk bulb-outs at the crosswalk and APS devices installed.
In addition to the many safety improvements planned, repairs will be made to sidewalks, curbs, curb ramps, driveway aprons and drainage structures along the road. The Cutter Mill Road surface will be repaved and repainted with the new roadway format.
“This is a fluid process,” said Mayor Rosen. “The county engineers are still tweaking it, so there still could be changes to the design.”
At the public meeting earlier this month, most of the residents in attendance supported the proposed renovation plans for the road. Mayor Rosen shared that some business owners on Cutter Mill Road cited concerns about possible traffic back-ups that will affect their business.
“The same concerns were brought up for the Great Neck Road project,” said Mayor Rosen. “I’m not a traffic expert, but the Nassau County traffic engineers stood up and pointed out that the traffic back-ups did not cause a problem on Great Neck Road.”
The engineers discussed their studies and guidelines proving the plans for a lane diet on Cutter Mill Road to be beneficial.
Mayor Rosen attributed much credit to previous Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum and current Nassau County Legislator Mazi Pilip for their support and contributions to the Cutter Mill Road Project.
The next public meeting to discuss the plans for the project is on Wednesday, June 29, at 8 p.m. in the Village Hall. Mayor Rosen and the village are currently with tech experts on providing a system that will allow in-person meetings to be broadcasted on Zoom for those who cannot physically attend the meeting or do not feel uncomfortable being in-person. Check greatneckplaza.com for updates on the meeting.
The village and county hope to have the final design completed during September of this year, 2022. In March of 2023, the team expects to select a contractor and begin working with them. Based on the estimated schedule of the Cutter Mill Road Project, construction will start in September of 2023 and should be approximately three months of work.
“It is not about residents versus business people,” said Mayor Rosen. “It is about making the road safer for everybody whether you’re a business person, resident, visitor, motorist or pedestrian. The county’s goal, the village’s goal, Legislator Pilip’s goal and my goal is to make the road safer for everybody.”