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Why parkways' drivers end up in the dark

Traffic builds on the Southern State Parkway

Traffic builds on the Southern State Parkway on Sept. 4, 2009. Credit: Newsday/Joe Epstein

On some stretches of the Southern State and Meadowbrook State parkways, car headlights are the only illumination.

Several readers have contacted Watchdog to report darkness along both roads. On the Southern State, they point to a section from Exit 18 (Eagle Avenue) to Exit 19 (Peninsula Boulevard). On the Meadowbrook, it's dark south of Exit 9 (Merrick Road), a section where one caller said she counted 17 streetlights that weren't shining.

For illumination, we turned to the state Department of Transportation and learned that on the Southern State, the culprit is a deteriorated cable. On the Meadowbrook, darkness can be blamed on knocked-down light poles and missing luminaires, the structures that hold the light bulbs.

Repairs for both are planned, department spokeswoman Eileen Peters said recently. On the Southern State, work is expected this month and will involve replacement of a "deteriorated lighting cable that runs down the center median," Peters said in an email. The work will be done at night, she said, and will require closing one lane in each direction.

"Weather permitting, the repairs should require two or three nights' work," she said.

Repairs on the Meadowbrook are expected to be completed during the fall, she said. The department is awaiting delivery of replacement materials.




In Manorhaven, an eyesore


Another in the occasional report on neighborhood eyesores:

THE EYESORE. Vacant house on Manhasset Avenue, Manorhaven.

THE HISTORY. The house has not been occupied for several years, neighbors say.

WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE ON A RECENT VISIT. Exterior paint was peeling. On the roof, a gray material covered a section of the peak and large squares resembling tar paper covered the gutter. A hole was visible on a rear section; neighbors have photographs of a raccoon at the edge of the hole. Joseph Campbell said he and other neighbors want the village to take action to repair the exterior and roof and eradicate vermin.

THE STATUS. The village ordered the owner to appear in village court for violations of village code. Neither the mayor nor the code inspector responded to several Watchdog messages. According to village code, exterior surfaces must be "continuously maintained and recoated as necessary to keep uniformity of color and texture" and damaged walls and roofs "shall be repaired or replaced and refinished in a workmanlike manner."

WHAT'S THE OUTLOOK? Hard to say, since village officials declined to respond to messages. Village code states that if a property isn't brought into compliance, penalties can range from $250 to $1,000.



Stop sign request denied


A Lindenhurst road bordering a canal will not be getting an additional stop sign a resident sought to make it safer for her and neighbors to cross the road to get to their boats.

The town said traffic volume doesn't warrant another sign, but police say they will monitor the road periodically for vehicles that ignore the speed limit and an existing stop sign down the road.

In April, we wrote about Eileen LaVigne's concerns regarding East Riviera Drive, which parallels a canal south of Montauk Highway (NY Route 27A). LaVigne said she's "narrowly avoided being hit" more than once by southbound traffic while trying to cross the street near the intersection with East Hampton Road.

The Town of Babylon responded with a traffic study and found the volume falls short of the threshold to warrant a new stop sign. Though the daily average on East Riviera was recorded at 3,491 vehicles, the per-hour average fell short of Federal Highway Administration guidelines, which require 300 vehicles for eight hours plus another 200 per hour approaching from side streets. East Riviera's side streets did not generate more than 75 vehicles per hour at any time, the town said.

The road "is located along an isolated peninsula separated by canals," the report said. "As such, the majority of motorists are residents of the area who are familiar with the existing traffic controls. Failure to comply with the traffic controls is more attributable to willful disregard of traffic laws and traffic control devices."

Suffolk County police will periodically boost patrols and deploy a digital speed-detecting machine in an effort to slow speeders, Insp. Gerard Gigante, commanding officer of the First Precinct, said.

The town did install a "stop ahead" sign to alert southbound drivers to an existing stop sign down the road.


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