A new study upholds Hempstead Turnpike's ranking as the deadliest road in the tri-state area for pedestrians.
"Pedestrians are killed an average of more than five times a year" on the 16-miles of Route 24 that run through Nassau County, according to a recent analysis conducted by Newsday of pedestrian accident reports from 2005 through 2010. It confirms what the non-profit Tri-State Transportation Campaign has been saying for the past three years, that Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County is the most dangerous road in the tri-state region for pedestrians.
“Too many lives are being tragically and senselessly cut short on the Hempstead Turnpike,” stated Ryan Lynch, senior planner for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
Two young lives were taken on the turnpike in a two-week span in June 2011 alone. On June 4, 19-year-old Peter Thearle, of Levittown, was fatally struck by two cars while crossing the turnpike in his hometown. Eleven days later, 22-year-old Salem Enayetullah, of Massachussets, also died when he was hit by a car while crossing the heavily trafficked roadway in West Hempstead. The following month, another unidentified pedestrian was killed while crossing the turnpike in East Meadow, where a woman in her mid-60s had also perished nine months earlier. And just this Wednesday, a 72-year-old man was pronounced dead after he too was struck by a car in Elmont while attempting to cross the turnpike. Not to mention, there's also been countless reports of adults, teens and children who have been hit on the busy road but fortunately survived.
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign has singled out the sections of the road that pass through Elmont, Franklin Square and Hempstead as the worst. These areas claimed the lives of 12 pedestrians between 2007 and 2009, according to the organization's most recent report.
Some experts blame the design of the roadway. Long stretches between crosswalks, ranging from 1,000 feet to a half-mile, that "encourage pedestrians to cross midblock," and a lack of medians or mid-road islands, were cited by Newsday as contributing factors to the high-rate (8.21 for every 1 million vehicle-miles-traveled) of pedestrian deaths on the turnpike. The Department of Transportation and Nassau County have taken some efforts to address the most troublesome spots on the turnpike, including upgrading traffic signals, adding left-turn lanes and installing countdown signals at crosswalks, but without a more comprehensive redesign of the roadway, experts say it will continue to be a threat.
What do you think should be done to make the turnpike safer? Tell us in the comments section.