The stretch of the Southern State Parkway where four teens died in a one-car crash early Monday has been notorious for being the scene of fatal wrecks for nearly three decades.
So much so that the 10-mile stretch between Exit 17 in Malverne and Exit 32 in South Farmingdale has been called "Blood Alley" because of the high number of fatal crashes there.
"The Southern State Parkway is the exemplar of the poorly engineered roads typical of our area," said Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for AAA New York, a branch of the nonprofit organization of motor clubs serving more than 51 million members in the United States and Canada. "It, and many others, predate modern transportation engineering. Its lanes are too narrow, the road is too twisty and too hilly. The on- and off-ramps are too short to allow for adequate acceleration and braking."
Monday's crash, near Exit 17 in the westbound lanes, was the target area for a state effort to improve safety on the Southern State in the early 1990s. Following 14 deaths in head-on collisions between 1984 and 1990, the state put in median barriers and modified the grading of the highway to give drivers more traction between Exits 17 and 21. The work cost the DOT about $500,000 to have median barriers installed at three spots in South Hempstead in 1988.
Twelve years ago, state troopers cracked down on drivers in that portion of the parkway for two weeks, issuing 858 violations for speeding, unsafe lane changes, tailgating, failing to stop, failing to signal and talking on cellphones.
In the years between 2008 and 2010, the most recent years in the database, the Southern State in Nassau had at least 15 fatal crashes. That was two more than the Wantagh Parkway, seven more than the Northern State Parkway in Nassau and nine more than the Meadowbrook Parkway, according to government records.