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Study Sheds Light On 'Deadly' Hempstead Turnpike

Route 24, which runs through East Meadow, continues to claim pedestrian lives at alarming rate.

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 adultsteens 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.

paul February 17, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Yes I drive on the Tpke everyday. Yes there is a lot to digest... About two month ago one of the local businesses had an annoying flag advertisement to close to the roadway. I reported it and the condition was corrected. Only be concerned with the Dept of Traffic signs. The rest is nonsense.
An tUasal Airgead February 18, 2012 at 04:39 AM
These are some of the "contributing factors" listed for the accidents on the linked page below- Unsafe lane changing Failure to yield right-of-way Pedestrian error/confusion Backing unsafely Driver inattention/distraction Traffic control disregarded; failure to yield right-of-way Alcohol involvement Failure to yield right-of-way; driver inexperience Drugs (illegal) Unsafe speed Signs, legislation or more studies will not stop STUPIDITY! MAP & INDIVIDUAL LISTING of 427 accidents along Route 24 (known variously as Hempstead Turnpike, Fulton Avenue or Conklin Street) from January 2005 to December 2010 http://longisland.newsday.com/templates/simpleDB/?pid=386
paul February 18, 2012 at 04:51 AM
How true that stupidly is a fact of life. All we can do is hope for the best. Let aggressive police enforcement summons for all infractions in different areas over a period of time. It will not stop those who disregard but hopefully educate some...
Susan February 18, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Actually the newest sign was installed just today. No Right on Red on the corner of Prospect and Bellmore Avenues. There have been major accidents at this corner including my own 8 years ago. I honestly don't think the problem is from making the right on red. I think more accidents have happened on Bellmore Avenue from people trying to make left turns onto Prospect. There are no left turn signals or lanes and it is virtually impossble to see if traffic is coming when someone else is waiting to turn from the opposite direction. So you sit in the intersection and wait for the light to turn red so you can complete your left turn. You are lucky if you don't get hit by someone running the red on Prospect like we were. Hempstead Tpke is a mess for the entire length, not just in East Meadow. All those signs, especially those new curved ones that blow in the wind, are extremely distracting. How many "We sell gold" signs does one block need? Those coupled with all the distractions we now have IN our cars, well, it's an accident waiting to happen. Pay attention when driving! People need to cross at a traffic light but the walking time needs to be increased so people can make it all the way across. Having grown up in Forest Hills just one block from the "Boulevard of Death" I am all too familiar with the accidents. There were many times I walked through the subway station underground in order to cross Queens Blvd. Too bad we can't cross Hempstead Tpke like that too.
paul February 18, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Yes really. OK updated signage... Just noticed new large "No Turn on Red" signs posted in the area. They are huge. Prospect and Bellmore Avenue... I am sure the transportation authority is looking into updating signage, pavement markings and traffic signals etc....

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