An aerial view of Hempstead Turnpike, facing west. The tall...

An aerial view of Hempstead Turnpike, facing west. The tall building at right is the Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. (Nov. 3, 2010) Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

More pedestrians were killed by motorists along Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County than on any other road in the New York metropolitan area from 2007 through 2009, a new study said.

It was the third time in a row that Hempstead Turnpike, also known as Route 24, topped the list of deadliest roads, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign report released Wednesday.

The group, a nonprofit that works to decrease car dependency, also found that Sunrise Highway in Suffolk County ranked fourth in the region for pedestrian fatalities.

The study analyzed data for three years from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on fatal pedestrian crashes in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Researchers found that there were 12 pedestrian fatalities on Hempstead Turnpike from 2007 through 2009. From 2006 through 2008, 13 pedestrians were killed on that roadway.

Sunrise Highway in Suffolk, which had the second-highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the group's report last year, dropped to fourth, with nine pedestrian fatalities from 2007 through '09. There were 10 fatalities on Sunrise Highway in Suffolk, also known as Route 27, from 2006 through '08, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

When the nonprofit studied the years 2005 through 2007, it found there were 15 fatalities on Hempstead Turnpike.

Ryan Lynch, senior planner and Long Island coordinator with the transportation campaign, said Hempstead Turnpike needs a "fix" that could include a pedestrian island to give those on foot a refuge in the middle of the highway.

"If you get caught between the light, you can feel like you won't get sideswiped by a car," Lynch said.

The turnpike and Sunrise Highway - both busy east-west thoroughfares with up to six traffic lanes - are typical among roads that produce the most pedestrian fatalities, the study said. Each has at least two travel lanes in one direction and is bordered by retail businesses such as shopping centers and restaurants, the report said. It also cited poor road design as a factor in pedestrian fatalities.

Statistics on traffic volume were not included in the study's calculations. Deaths are reported by county, so roads that go across multiple counties will have fatality figures from each county.

Data on pedestrian fatalities for 2010 aren't yet available for Long Island, said Michelle Ernst, the study's author and analyst with the transportation campaign. Data on pedestrian fatalities last year in New Jersey and Connecticut do not show any clear trend, she said.

Deborah Sturm Rausch, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation in Albany, said the state is using federal economic stimulus money to install countdown timers at every intersection with a traffic signal on Long Island, including those along Hempstead Turnpike, to improve pedestrian safety.

Improvements to Route 24 also include repainted crosswalks, upgraded pedestrian buttons on traffic signals and a pedestrian-safety campaign aimed at educating senior citizens called "Safe Seniors."

"Walking is part of transportation," Rausch said. "Providing safe transportation programs is the most important thing DOT does. We take it very seriously."

Ernst said the state should boost its "Safe Seniors" program, which was implemented after the Tri-State Transportation Campaign first began identifying pedestrian fatalities involving seniors along Hempstead Turnpike in 2008, Ernst said.

"The resources were a little thin," Ernst said of the program. "It would be great to have it expand . . . and the funding increased."

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