Nearly 100 community members rallied Sunday in Miller Place, calling for safety upgrades at the intersection where a 14-year-old was hit and killed while crossing the street on his bike last month.
Standing near a makeshift memorial to Nico Signore of two giant stuffed teddy bears, notes of love, flowers and a lacrosse stick lashed to a telephone pole, the crowd waved signs and chanted “Too late for studies” as passing cars honked in support.
Family members and friends of Nico said the intersection of Miller Place Road and Route 25A needs red left-turn arrows to stop cars from entering crosswalks while pedestrians have a walk signal.
“If that was there my boy would be alive today,” said Nico’s mother, Kim Signore, of the red left-turn light. “We taught him to wait for the light. He did everything right.”
There is currently a green left-turn signal for northbound traffic on Miller Place Road, which then turns into a full green light.
Since at least October, elected officials have asked the New York State Department of Transportation to study improvements there.
The intersection is down the street from Miller Place High School and serves as a busy suburban crossroads of vehicle traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists, community members said.
Nico is the second teen hit and killed at the intersection in the past two years. John Luke, 16, of Miller Place died after he was hit while walking across Route 25A in May 2015.
In October, Suffolk Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) wrote to DOT officials asking for a safety evaluation at the intersection and suggesting improvements, including red light arrows for left-hand turns. The study is coming to a close, a DOT official wrote to Anker on March 13.
“They should be fixing the intersection now,” Anker said in a phone interview Sunday. “We shouldn’t be waiting for a study when there are obvious safety concerns at that intersection.”
DOT officials didn’t respond to a request for comment Sunday.
“This intersection has been proven not to be safe,” said Kim Daley, 46, of Sound Beach, who attended the rally. She has a 10-year-old and 12-year-old in the school district. “I want to know when they cross the street, they’ll be safe.”
Police said at 5:05 p.m. on Feb. 24, Nico and three friends on bicycles crossed 25A north in the crosswalk. As the driver of a 2015 Honda Pilot, Jessica Doyen, 52, also of Miller Place, turned left onto Route 25A, her SUV struck the teenager, according to police.
Police had earlier said he was the last of his friends to cross, but his parents said he was the second in the group. Police said the boys had the signal to cross the intersection.
Nico was pronounced dead at Stony Brook University Hospital. Doyen stayed at the scene and was not injured. No charges have been filed against her.
Activists against Suffolk County’s red light cameras passed out signs at the start of the rally that said, “Our intersections should not be profit driven.” But they left after family members told them to take away their signs.
Family members do not believe the red light cameras at the intersection contributed to the accident.
“This has nothing to do with red light cameras,” Kim Signore said.
Nico was a goalie on Miller Place’s lacrosse team, which Nico’s father, Vinny Signore, said was his passion.
When Kim Signore fretted about his safety on his bike, he responded, “It’s all about the bike life,” she said. “He was a beautiful boy, inside and out.”