Report: Route 25 in Suffolk most dangerous road in tri-state area
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Route 25 in Suffolk County has passed Hempstead Turnpike, a treacherous stretch in Nassau County, as the metropolitan area's deadliest road for pedestrians, a new report shows.
Sixteen people were killed on State Route 25, also known as Jericho Turnpike and Middle Country Road, from 2010 to 2012, said the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. The watchdog group analyzed federal data of vehicle-pedestrian collisions during the three years in downstate New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The "Most Dangerous Roads for Walking" annual analysis released Wednesday looked at pedestrian deaths on state, county and local roads but not fatalities on roadways such as interstates, where walking is prohibited.
The analysis did not factor in the length of roads or traffic volume.
While Route 25 has consistently been one of the region's most dangerous roads, this is the first time it topped the group's list.
Overall, Long Island accounted for about half of the top 21 most dangerous roads.
Route 25 is a multilane road designed to move a high volume of traffic quickly through residential and commercial areas, but has few safety measures such as sidewalks, crosswalks and pedestrian islands, according to the nonprofit group.
"Jericho Turnpike hasn't had the safety attention that other roads have received from the state Department of Transportation," said Ryan Lynch, the group's associate director. "To cross those roads is a very scary endeavor because these roads are very wide and cars are whipping by."
About half of the deaths downstate occur on such roads, which make up only 14 percent of roadways, Lynch said.
A NYSDOT spokesman couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
In Manhattan, Broadway, Second Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard/Seventh Avenue are among the most dangerous streets, the report shows.
On Long Island, about half the fatalities on Route 25 occurred on an 11.5-mile portion between Centereach and Ridge, Lynch said.
Diane Caudullo, president of the Centereach Civic Association, said the danger on Route 25 is exacerbated this time of year when what sidewalks there are don't get shoveled, forcing people to walk in the street.
The analysis does not specify how the deaths occurred.
Caudullo said that about six years ago, the association and town worked with transportation officials who put in improvements such as turning lanes.
"I thought we were getting better," she said. " I didn't realize it was that bad."
In 2011, nine people died on Route 25, and six in 2012.
Robert Sinclair Jr., a spokesman for AAA New York, said many regional roads are outdated.
"Everybody always puts the blame on drivers, but drivers can only deal with roads as they are engineered," he said. "Barring the ability to re-engineer them, we need to get the word out that they are dangerous and hope for compliance on the part of everyone who uses the roads."
Tri-State said the 1,236 pedestrian deaths in the region underscore the need to make pedestrian safety a policy and investment priority in budgets. Hempstead Turnpike (Route 24) in Nassau, a 16-mile stretch, held the dubious title of most dangerous road in last year's survey -- for the fifth time since 2008. It tied for second this year with U.S. 130 in Burlington County, N.J., with 12 deaths.
Lynch said the NYSDOT recently increased times for pedestrian crosswalk signals, added medians and relocated bus stops closer to crosswalks on Hempstead Turnpike.
On a 1-mile section of Route 25/Main Street in Smithtown, NYSDOT officials have also spent $500,000 to reduce four lanes to three and re-stripe the road to provide a turning lane, among other measures.