A stretch of Montauk Highway in Lindenhurst Village that officials have said is a danger to pedestrians is getting two new traffic lights.
The state Department of Transportation recently sent word to the village that the agency had completed a five-year pedestrian accident analysis and would be installing traffic signals at Montauk Highway and 13th Street and at either Seventh Street or Eighth Street, pending further evaluation.
The decision to install the signals drew praise from village officials, who two years ago pressed the DOT to address the situation on Montauk Highway after a 10-year-old boy was seriously injured when he was struck by a car while crossing Montauk Highway near South 13th Street.
Mayor Tom Brennan said the village has been requesting traffic-calming measures on Montauk from the DOT for a decade.
“It’s been long overdue,” Brennan said of the new traffic lights. “We’ve been trying to get them forever, so I’m glad they finally listened to us.”
The problem, village officials said, is that from South Strong Avenue to Park Avenue — a nearly two-mile stretch — Montauk Highway has few lights, promoting speeds of 50 mph or more. The result has been numerous pedestrian and vehicle crashes.
The DOT study found that on that segment of Montauk Highway there were seven pedestrian accidents within a five-year period. While the DOT noted in a letter to the village that there are traffic signals at 16th Street and at South Broadway, the agency stated that it also realized that “individuals may not always take the safest route to their destination.”
The new traffic signal sites will likely also include a countdown pedestrian signal, an audible countdown timer, high visibility crosswalk, and pedestrian warning signs for motorists, DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said in an email. Each signal is expected to cost about $150,000.
Whether a light will be installed at Seventh or Eighth street depends on several factors, Peters said. Both intersections will be evaluated to determine the location of overhead and underground utilities to allow installation of foundations, poles and other aspects of the lights. Roadway geometry and other factors will also be looked at, Peters stated, “to determine which location is the most feasible and would be the most effective.”
Brennan said that last year the village met with DOT officials and took them on a tour of that stretch of Montauk. Of particular concern was the section that includes 13th Street, a half mile of roadway from East Riviera to South Broadway that has no lights and becomes a “speedway,” he said.
Christine Tarantino, 44, who lives on 14th Street just north of Montauk, had a one-word response when she learned about the new lights.
“Awesome!” she said. “The speed definitely has to be slowed down somehow.”
Tarantino said she has a 12-year-old son who is starting to spend more time with his friends, some of whom live south of Montauk.
“The more traffic lights, the better,” she said. “They speed so much, if I try to make a left, [on to Montauk Highway] it’s like playing Russian roulette. It’s terrible.”