Judy Cartwright writes the Community Watchdog column
The lack of a traffic light on Derby Road at Port Washington Boulevard has been a major safety issue for many years. A traffic light, or at the very least a trip switch, would create a much safer circumstance.
— Gene Bregman, Port Washington
Derby is the entrance to a neighborhood on the west side of Port Washington Boulevard. It's a U-shaped street, and each end intersects with Port Washington Boulevard.
It's the only way in and out, and drivers are likely to experience a sizable wait because neither entrance has a traffic signal.
The neighborhood has lobbied in recent years -- with petitions and trips to Albany -- for a traffic signal at either one of the Derby entrances. "So far nothing has come of any of this," Bregman wrote Watchdog in early March.
As for his reference to a "trip switch," Bregman wrote that if either intersection can't get a traffic signal, a trip switch should be installed to detect when vehicles on Derby reach the intersection. Such a sensor would trigger two nearby signals on Port Washington Boulevard to halt traffic so drivers on Derby would have a window to exit safely.
We took his concerns to the state Department of Transportation because Port Washington Boulevard is State Route 101. When we checked back in recently, the department told us that it launched a traffic study in March to determine whether traffic conditions call for a new signal or other traffic-control changes.
"We initiated a comprehensive evaluation of the safety concerns raised including their request for a new traffic signal at either Derby intersection with NY Route 101," department spokeswoman Eileen Peters wrote in an email.
Such studies have several steps, including an analysis of three years of vehicle crash data, on-site observations and traffic count evaluations, and typically take six months to a year, Peters wrote. Department traffic engineers anticipate this one will be completed in the fall.
We'll check back in then.
ORDER ISSUED FOR NEW STREETLIGHT
In 2012 Brentwood resident Egbert Bennett Jr. asked Islip Town to install a light on his street where it comes to a dead end next to the Long Island Rail Road tracks.
He received a form letter advising that the town's Division of Traffic Safety would evaluate the area on Third Street. He asked again in 2013 and, when he hadn't received another response early this year, contacted Watchdog.
We asked the town about the prospects for a new streetlight and recently got an answer: A light is on the way.
What accounts for the delay?
A determination had to wait until a townwide inventory of street lighting was complete, town spokeswoman Patricia Kaloski said.
Decisions about new streetlight installations were put on hold as the town conducted the inventory, she said. That was the first step in a joint effort with New York Power Authority and the U.S. Department of Energy to replace existing installations with more efficient lighting. When the project was completed in March, 28,000 energy-efficient lights had been installed townwide, she said.
An inspector recently paid evening visits to Third Street to assess the darkness as well as the potential impact of a new streetlight on nearby residents, Kaloski said. "A work order was subsequently issued for a streetlight to be installed in the area requested, with installation expected in the coming weeks," she said.
MISSING SIGNS REPLACED
At another neighborhood in Brentwood, missing traffic signs were causing a traffic free-for-all.
In the spring, Charles Kohlstock told us a Do Not Enter sign had gone missing from the end of a one-way street, Dekalb Avenue, as had the stop sign on the side street, Highland Road. Without a sign warning drivers not to enter DeKalb, residents never knew when they would encounter wrong-way traffic, Kohlstock said. And as summer approached, their concerns grew for the safety of neighborhood children playing outdoors.
Islip Town told us the Department of Public Works files did not contain any registered complaints about the missing signs. After our initial inquiry, an inspection was conducted and, when it confirmed the signs were gone, new ones were installed.
Just in time for summer vacation.