The intersection of East Main and Anstice Streets is the pedestrian "crossroads of Oyster Bay." But as students try to cross to and from the Oyster Bay Library and Oyster Bay High School, cars speed by, ignoring the faded crosswalk. I've requested a "yield to pedestrian" sign in the middle of the intersection, but my letters and phone calls have gone unanswered.
-- Ariane Butler, Oyster Bay
On a recent afternoon, Watchdog paid a visit to the site as the school day was ending. As students from the high school (grades 7 through 12) began to fill the sidewalks, drivers on East Main didn't slow their pace.
It's hard to say if the cars were speeding -- the posted limit along that stretch is 25 mph from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays -- since Watchdog doesn't possess a radar gun. But it was clear they were not slowing down as they approached. At curbside, one young man had an extended wait before the crosswalk was clear.
Butler has spent more than two years urging first Oyster Bay Town and then Nassau County (East Main is a county road) to make crossing the street a safer activity -- especially for the children who rely on the crosswalk. (A second high school, St. Dominic's, is two blocks up Anstice Street.) The "current crosswalk is all but invisible to passing drivers," she told officials in a letter.
Communities on Long Island use various approaches to crosswalk safety, including foldable Stop signs in Northport (the signs are opened up on school days and folded shut at other times) and portable Yield to Pedestrian signs that Babylon Village places mid-crosswalk from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays.
Babylon purchased the signs several years ago at a cost of $60 to $70 each, according to highway superintendent Skip Gardner. At lunchtime there's an influx of students into the business district, Mayor Ralph Scordino said, and the signs make it easier and safer for them to cross the street. Adding an assist are the village's hard-to-ignore crosswalks -- each one a solid swath of bright green outlined in red.
By contrast, the crosswalk in Oyster Bay consists of white stripes so worn-away they're no longer visible in the eastbound lane. Nassau's Department of Public Works does plan to refurbish the crosswalk markings in the next few months, said spokesman Michael Martino, who pointed out that the county installed yellow-green "pedestrian awareness" signs along East Main five years ago.
At this time the county has no plans to install a new sign, he said, and didn't rule one out in the future. That would require an evaluation of the site to determine if a sign is warranted, he said.
So stay tuned. And for now, be very careful crossing the road.
-- Judy Cartwright
New sign marks intersection
Pidgeon Hill Road needs a street sign at the five-corner intersection just southeast of St. Anthony's High School in South Huntington. Old Country and Wolf Hill roads are clearly marked, but there is no sign for Pidgeon Hill. It's very confusing for service technicians, delivery personnel and family guests. We give directions telling them to bear right, but there is no sign telling them they have proceeded correctly. I notified the Town of Huntington, but the problem remains.
-- Angela Tamberino, South Huntington
It took a month, but the Pidgeon Hill sign is in place at the busy five-corner intersection.
We called the Town of Huntington early last month to ask about the absent sign and town spokesman A.J. Carter told us it was already on order, based on Tamberino's earlier inquiry, and would be "installed soon."
"The [town's] Highway Department runs the sign shop, and they've been a little backed up recently because of Tropical Storm Irene," Carter said.
We followed up a month later when the sign still hadn't been installed -- and it was up a few days later.
Huntington residents with concerns regarding missing road signs can call 631-351-3076.
-- Michael R. Ebert
Less confusion over red light
Frank Saladino's frustration at getting a red-light-camera ticket in New Hyde Park paid off: On Thursday, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano asked the Department of Public Works to install an additional sign -- one that says "Right on Red After Stop" -- at the southeast corner of Lakeville Road and Union Turnpike.
That's not the only response to last week's Watchdog column about Saladino's receipt of a $100 ticket after a red-light camera recorded him making a right turn without first coming to a complete stop. A number of readers were prompted to ask another question: What about left turns on red?
Specifically, as one reader asked in an email: If you have pulled into an intersection and the light turns red before you have a chance to turn left, will you get a red-light ticket?
We turned to Christopher Mistron, a Nassau County spokesman, for the answer:
"You won't get a ticket," Mistron promised.
Just don't push your luck: If you pass the white line to enter the intersection after the light has turned red, that ticket will surely be in the mail.
-- Judy Cartwright