In an ongoing effort to increase pedestrian-safety awareness, Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum will host a seminar that provides important information for staying safe on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Village of Great Neck Plaza’s Village Hall, 2 Gussack Plaza. During the seminar, Chris Mistron, Nassau County’s traffic-safety educator, and representatives from the Nassau County Police Department will provide safety tips for pedestrians and drivers.
An ardent proponent of pedestrian-safety measures, the Village of Great Neck Plaza has undertaken numerous traffic-calming projects to make the village a pedestrian-friendly community. Some examples include:
• Barstow Road/South Station Plaza Roundabout The village installed a modern roundabout that reduced the number of vehicle-pedestrian conflict points and simplified traffic movements at what was once the site of long 120-foot crosswalks with limited resting points for pedestrians. Plus, bulb-out sidewalks dramatically reduced the crossing distances pedestrians must cover when crossing the street.
• Bond Street Bulb-outs A highly frequented area due to the close proximity of restaurants, municipal parking lots and the railroad station, Bond Street’s 44-foot crosswalks posed problems for pedestrians. As incorporated on Barstow Road, build-outs were installed to shorten the length of pedestrian crosswalks by 14 feet. Now a 30-foot crosswalk, ADA crosswalk ramps were also installed to make it easier for physically challenged people utilizing a wheelchair or walker, or those pushing a stroller, to access the sidewalk.
• Barstow Road/North Station Plaza/Linden Place Traffic Calming Like the Barstow Road/South Station Plaza location, the intersection of Barstow Road and South Station Plaza presented a sprawling concrete expanse for pedestrians to cross. Bulb-outs were installed to reduce the distance pedestrians had to cross. The installation of median islands at every approach helped reduce vehicle speeds and provide pedestrian refuges.
• Middle Neck Road Pedestrian and Bicyclist Enhancement Project Prior to renovation, the Great Neck Long Island Rail Road station drop-off area contained wide undefined travel lanes and limited pavement markings to direct pedestrians arriving via cars, taxis or buses. Part traffic-calming, part beautification, the village installed wide medians in 2011 to serve as pedestrian waiting areas for those awaiting pick up. Handicap access was improved by expanding the sidewalks adjacent to the ticket building/cafe area. New planters, decorative brick sidewalks, public art, benches and increased lighting was installed to beautify the area.
• Great Neck Road One of the larger projects undertaken by the village was the 2008 renovation of the .9-mile roadway on Great Neck Road between Middle Neck Road and Bayview Avenue. Since Great Neck Road is a Nassau County street, the village applied for and received approval from the county to undertake a project of this magnitude in the name of public safety. While bulb-out sidewalks played a role in the traffic-calming efforts, the main feature of this project was a “road diet,” the removal of one lane of traffic in each direction. By reducing the number of lanes from four to two and adding a median for pedestrian refuge, vehicular traffic moves at slower speeds and conflict points between vehicles and pedestrians is reduced. A two-foot safety space between parking spaces and traffic flow was added to improve safety measures for people entering and exiting their vehicles. This space also serves as a bicycle lane.
All projects also incorporated visible pavement markings, including contrasting crosswalks, increased signage and directional markers, and countdown pedestrian signal displays.
A sixth traffic-calming project in the Shoreward Drive/Welwyn Road area will be undertaken in the spring. As part of the project, the village will promote increased pedestrian and bicycle use and improved access for all modes of transportation and for people of all ages. New streetscaping and the addition of an outdoor street plaza will provide a scenic space. Project updates regarding final design approval, construction bidding and contract award processes will be released in the near future.
For more information regarding the plaza’s traffic-calming projects, visit www.greatneckplaza.net/items%20of%20interest.html.
—Great Neck Plaza