Long Island News
Reducing the dangers on Hempstead Turnpike
LEVITTOWN (WABC) -- On the drag strip known as the Hempstead Turnpike, the signs of heartache are everywhere as people like Anthony D'alessandro struggle with tragedy.
Barely a month ago, his 16 year old son, Anthony, ran across the turnpike in Levittown and right into the path of an oncoming car.
"It's just not right bro, just not right. 16 year old boy had so much going for him," D'Alessandro said.
According to the state's own statistics, more pedestrians die on 16 miles of Hempstead Turnpike than on any other road in the New York area.
Of 20 people hit and killed in just four years, 59 percent had been mid-block, in between crosswalks; 35 percent inside a crosswalk, but crossing against the light; Only 6 percent were in a crosswalk and obeying the signal.
"Is there a reason why maybe they're not doing the safe thing? Is the crosswalk functioning properly? Do they have enough time to cross?" Chris Mistron wondered.
Mistron is Nassau County's traffic safety educator, among a committee of state and county leaders who on Monday unveiled the first phase of a project meant to cut down on the carnage.
They've already made some changes: new pedestrian crossing buttons and more time to cross at newly widened and repainted crosswalks. They're also unveiling a public awareness campaign for pedestrians.
There are more substantial changes in the works, including the possibility of new signals and crosswalks at more than 20 problem spots.
Anthony's dad says it can't happen soon enough.
"It's not going to help my son, but if it helps somebody else I'll be glad it helps other people too," D'Alessandro said.
Workers have already installed improved traffic signals at more than thirty intersections - and repainted more than 200 crosswalks. Recommendations for the more work is due at the end of the month.
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