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DOT study sought for ‘dangerous’ intersection in Farmingdale

State Sen. John Brooks, left, with Assemb. Christine

State Sen. John Brooks, left, with Assemb. Christine Pellegrino, right, held a news conference on Monday, July 3, 2017. Credit: Steve Pfost

At least three Long Island legislators in the past month have called for the state to evaluate a bustling intersection in Farmingdale that has seen two fatalities in the past four months.

State Sen. John E. Brooks and Assemb. Christine Pellegrino held a news conference Monday to address safety at the intersection of Route 109 and Main Street.

“The time for action is now, we cannot wait until we senselessly lose another life from a traffic accident at this dangerous intersection,” Pellegrino, a Democrat from West Islip, wrote in a statement.

There have been two fatalities at that intersection since March, both passengers in vehicles: a Bay Shore man, Byron I. Unda, 28, on March 9, and a 14-year-old girl who was riding in a minivan on June 15.

Brooks (D-Seaford) and Pellegrino reaffirmed the call for the state Department of Transportation to expedite efforts to assess and recommend safety changes at the intersection — specifically “the use of red light arrows in the left turn lane,” according to a news release

The layout and signals at the intersection are “problematic” amid the stretch’s heavy traffic flow, Brooks said Sunday.

The intersection’s “unconventional” X-shaped layout can hinder driver visibility, Brooks said. And while there are left-turn traffic signals at the intersection, the green signal is short — about five seconds — and isn’t followed by a red signal, he added.

“Some people don’t understand that when that [left-turn traffic signal] goes off, the traffic on [Route] 109 is now free to move,” he said. “ . . . We have an obligation to continuously monitor these problems, see if we can identify why it’s happening and make corrective action.”

Brooks wrote a letter to state transportation Commissioner Matthew Driscoll last week asking for an immediate study of the intersection’s traffic patterns and signals, and said he expects a response to his request this week. The state DOT was unable to provide comment Monday on the status of the request.

June’s fatality also prompted Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) to send a letter of his own last month to the state DOT, requesting a similar study of the intersection. He spoke with Joseph Brown in the DOT’s regional director’s office late last week, Hannon said Monday, and anticipates receiving a report with recommendations this week.

“There’s new businesses, there’s new housing; there’s a lot of change that’s happening in Farmingdale,” Hannon said. “We need to monitor that.”

Residents also expressed concerns about the area. George Olenick lives a few blocks from the intersection.

“It’s very bad because people speed on that road; they go through the traffic lights right at the corner,” he said. “You’ll have guys coming in at 50, 65, 70 miles an hour.”

Jahmal Davis, 38, who lives nearby, also expressed concerns about a bus stop and child care center near the intersection. His kids “thankfully” don’t need to travel in that direction, but many others do, he said.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Davis said Sunday after hearing about the planned DOT study. “They definitely need it.”

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