An engineering firm commissioned by the Town of Babylon has started drafting designs for long-awaited streetscape improvements on Great Neck Road in Copiague.
The project, estimated to cost $505,000 and funded by the town as well as state and county grants, will bring a variety of changes to the design of the hamlet’s central commercial corridor that officials say will make it safer and more pleasant for pedestrians.
“The area is really car-dominant,” said Amy Pfeiffer, director of Babylon’s Office of Downtown Revitalization, which is overseeing the project. “It really feels oppressive as a pedestrian.”
The town hired Hollywood, Florida-based NV5 to produce engineering drawings for the roughly half-mile-long project area. The plans call for 10 new crosswalks, a roadway median and wider sidewalks, as well as bicycle racks and planters along portions of Great Neck Road between Scudder and Campagnoli avenues and portions of intersecting streets.
Justyna Lesniak, 36, who owns Przysmak Deli on Great Neck Road, said she welcomed the changes, especially those that could prevent the car accidents that she said she sees regularly outside her shop.
“Some people drive crazy,” she said, adding that the streetscape improvements “would be great.”
Copiague Chamber of Commerce president Sharon Fattoruso also voiced support for the work.
“I hope that it will bring some new businesses into Copiague,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the work beginning.”
Pfeiffer said that while many of the changes count as “traffic calming” measures, they will not impede drivers. The speed limit on Great Neck Road will remain 30 mph, she said, and the plans will add parking spaces on the street.
State and Suffolk County grants cover $305,000 of the project cost, Pfeiffer said, while the remaining $200,000 will be paid for with funds from the town’s Department of Public Works budget.
Pfeiffer said she expects construction to begin this fall and wrap up next summer.
Town officials, using an additional $20,000 state grant, also have commissioned the Perry, New York-based firm In. Site: Architecture to develop a “facade guidelines book” that Pfeiffer said will set preferences for upgrades to building fronts along the stretch of Great Neck Road.
Both initiatives represent the latest stages in a long effort to revitalize the commercial core of the small South Shore hamlet. The town completed a 31-acre rezoning around Great Neck Road in April 2015 to spur development and pave the way for these projects.