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Traffic light makes Yaphank school bus route safer

The quiet hamlet of Yaphank on July 12,

The quiet hamlet of Yaphank on July 12, 2011. The community in Brookhaven Town was settled in 1726. It was a booming mill town in the 1850s, according to historian Karen Mouzakes, and is home to a collection of historic homes, including the Homan-Gerard House and the Robert Hewlett Hawkins House, both on Yaphank Ave., and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Main Street. The Carmans River runs along the community. Photo Credit: Carl Corry

A traffic light has been installed at the intersection of Rustic Road and Yaphank-Middle Island Road at the request of Yaphank residents and the Longwood school district.

Because of limited sight distance at the intersection, drivers said they had trouble making safe left turns from Rustic Road onto Yaphank-Middle Island Road, according to a release from county Legis. Kate Browning (WF-Shirley).

And, for safety, the district changed the school bus route to making a right turn onto Yaphank-Middle Island Road, a detour to the south that added to the length of the students’ ride, according to Browning. With the traffic light, buses will be able to make the left turn safely, she said.

“This was a dangerous situation for all the residents of Rustic Road,” Browning said in the release. As a former bus driver, she said, she understood the safety risks that led the district to change the bus route to avoid turning at the intersection, “and it was the right decision even though the logistics made no sense for kids riding the bus. They were adding almost an hour on to the route in order to avoid having to make this turn.”

She said the district will return to the original bus route for the new school year.

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