Nearby exit ramps pose problem for residents

Gary Collins on the corner of Hart Avenue, Gary Collins on the corner of Hart Avenue, just north of Southern State Parkway in North Bellmore. (July 19, 2013) Photo Credit: Judy Cartwright

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Judy Cartwright Judy Cartwright

Judy Cartwright writes the Community Watchdog column ...

Residents on two streets several miles apart share a sense of dread: Each street is just feet away from a major roadway exit ramp. And because each ramp ends at a yield sign, exiting traffic doesn't typically stop.

Hart Avenue is just north of Southern State Parkway in North Bellmore; Beaver Lane, just north of Sunrise Highway in West Babylon. Residents have been pleading for some sort of intervention -- stop signs, flashing lights, a change in road design -- that would let them enter and exit their streets safely.

We told the state about the situation in the spring and recently learned that a study of both locations has begun. State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Eileen Peters said results can be expected early next year.

Hart Avenue is the first side street off Route 106/Newbridge Road, a few feet from Southern State Parkway Exit 25N. A stop sign on the exit ramp was replaced by a yield sign a few years ago as part of a roadway redesign that also devoted the outside lane of Newbridge Road to cars exiting or entering the parkway.

According to Hart Avenue resident Gary Collins, the state said those changes were needed because of a "long-standing pattern of exit ramp accidents caused by the stop sign."

But with only a yield sign, drivers leaving the exit ramp "accelerate onto Newbridge Road at ridiculously high speeds -- directly past Hart Avenue," he wrote to the state in 2010. As a result, turns onto Hart are next to impossible; signs have been posted prohibiting left turns into and out of the street.

Ten miles away, drivers trying to enter or exit Beaver Lane in West Babylon must contend with traffic leaving Sunrise Highway for Route 109. The arrangement mirrors that on Hart Avenue, with one exception: Beaver Lane is a dead end, so residents have no options.

Peters, in an email, said the state will review traffic conditions and the issues raised by residents at both locations to see if new traffic control measures are needed.

We've marked the calendar to check in with her in January.

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