The first phase of a half-mile streetscape project on Great Neck Road in Copiague is complete and the second phase is expected to be done this spring, town officials said.
The first portion of the three-phase crossings upgrade project that spanned Great Neck Road from Marconi Boulevard going south to Oak Street got improved high-visibility crosswalks and replaced the red brick that lines the road with gray utility strips, an aesthetic upgrade, officials said.
A new midblock crossing at Marconi Boulevard now connects a town parking lot with an MTA parking lot near the Copiague train station.
For commuters, “we made it safer by raising that crossing, making it a formal crossing,” said Amy Pfeiffer, director of Babylon Town’s office of downtown revitalization. That phase cost about $200,000, Pfeiffer said.
Phase two will cost about $250,000, Pfeiffer estimated, and will take about one month to complete, she said, and should be done in the spring. Crosswalks will be upgraded on Great Neck Road from Oak Street to Scudder Avenue, curb extensions will be added to narrow the street and utility strips will be added.
Phase three, focused on Great Neck Road from Marconi Boulevard going north to Dixon Avenue, will begin in 2020 and will be the most expensive at $850,000 because Marconi Boulevard will get a pedestrian signal and countdown clock. Curb extensions will also be added there, and the entire phase will include improved crosswalks and utility stripping.
The project is funded by state and county grants, as well as town funds.
“This is the most visual upgrade to the downtown that you will see” other than private housing developments, town spokesman Kevin Bonner said. “The town’s major investment in the area is through the Downtown Copiague Great Streets Plan.”
The streetscape improvements are part of a larger effort to revitalize downtown Copiague, encourage transit-oriented development and make the area more walkable.
In 2015, the Town of Babylon rezoned downtown Copiague to spur development.
A facade-improvement program in the hamlet has handed out town grants, about $75,000 so far, Pfeiffer said, to landlords to improve their building facades, a project she hopes will be complete by the summer or fall.