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Long IslandNassau

Most Nassau pedestrian deaths near bus stops

A woman waits at a bus stop along

A woman waits at a bus stop along Oak Street in Garden City. (Nov. 30, 2011) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

More than 80 percent of pedestrian deaths in Nassau County from 2008 to 2010 occurred near bus stops, according to a new report that urges the state to make bus stops safer.

The report, issued Wednesday by the nonprofit Tri-State Transportation Campaign, found that 68 of 82 pedestrian fatalities happened within a quarter-mile of a bus stop.

The same data were not available for Suffolk, campaign officials said.

While the findings aren't meant to suggest that most of the slain pedestrians were walking to or from bus stops, or waiting at them, they do illustrate a need for increased safety measures, said campaign spokesman Ryan Lynch.

"The main point is that transit stops tend to be pedestrian hubs, regardless of whether they are transit riders," Lynch said.

"Pedestrian safety improvements that enhance access to transit are not only good for transit users . . . but for all pedestrians that use the road," Lynch added.

The group cited the New York City Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to Transit program as a model for Nassau. That plan, started in 2007, included such measures as building wider sidewalks at bus stops and creating new crosswalks nearby.

State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Eileen Peters said the agency "will work with Nassau County and transit partners to determine the feasibility of integrating" a similar plan in Nassau.

The DOT is analyzing the proximity of crosswalks to bus stops as part of its ongoing Hempstead Turnpike safety-improvement study, Peters said.

The study came in response to a Newsday investigation in February that found that, on average, five pedestrians were killed on Hempstead Turnpike every year between 2005 and 2010.

Department of Public Works spokesman Mike Martino said Nassau is working with Veolia Transportation, which operates NICE Bus, "to explore ways to enhance safety near bus stops" countywide.

County Executive Edward Mangano is "determined to make Nassau County among the safest places for pedestrians in the nation," Martino said.

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