A renovated Sagtikos/Sunken Meadow State Parkway could have more lanes or service roads and a redesign of dangerous interchanges on the 11-mile roadway, according to a state plan presented Thursday night in Brentwood.
The proposal also called for installing red lights on some entrance ramps to control the flow of traffic, altering the path of other ramps, and adding better overhead directional signs at interchanges.
State Department of Transportation officials displayed the proposals on 32 easels spread around a meeting room at Brentwood North Middle School on Wicks Road.
DOT officials made a similar presentation Wednesday night at the William T. Rogers Middle School in Kings Park.
Brentwood resident Joseph Fritz said Thursday night that improvements were meant to boost the prospects of the long-delayed Heartland Town Square project put forward by developer Gerald Wolkoff.
“The elephant in the room is the Wolkoff complex,” Fritz said, adding that any highway improvements in the past to increase capacity also boosted use, wiping out any gains in travel time.
The Heartland project envisions a mini-city with thousands of apartments and 4 million square feet of retail or office space on the grounds of the former Pilgrim State Hospital site, adjacent to the Sagtikos.
Environmental studies for the Heartland project make clear that improvements to area roads are needed, including the possible widening of the Sagtikos.
Hicksville resident Michael Pulitano said he works at a recycling yard nearby and feared the project would encroach on the property.
“It’s a family business that’s been there for ages and we’re worried we could lose the property,” he said.
The Sagtikos State Parkway, which runs from the Southern to the Northern State Parkway, was built between 1950 and 1953.
The Sunken Meadow State Parkway extended the road north to Kings Park and was built between 1954 and 1957.
Drivers have long complained about congestion, particularly at the southern end of the roadway, dangerous interchanges, and short entrance and exit ramps.
The latest state plan suggested that a major interchange at Pine Aire Drive in Brentwood could be improved with a short-term solution of adding red lights on the entrance ramps, or, in the long-term, a complete redesign.
DOT officials accepted written comments from those attending the meetings and said they would incorporate them into final plans set for release next year
The proposal suggested adding traffic lanes, but only on the southern stretch. One plan would add a travel lane in each direction — up from the current two lanes — between the Southern State Parkway and the Long Island Expressway. Another would add the lanes farther north to the Northern State Parkway, and a third option would extend them to Jericho Turnpike.
Others who attended the Kings Park session were generally supportive of the proposal, but some said they were disappointed that it did not include the installation of bicycle and pedestrian paths to encourage people to get out of their cars — especially those going to Sunken Meadow State Park at the northern end of the highway.
Kings Park resident Charles Herbert, 75, said he was glad to see the plan calls for improvement at the eastbound exit at Pulaski Road, where he gets off the parkway, to give drivers a better view as they approach the intersection with local streets.
The cost of renovating the Sagtikos/Sunken Meadow roadway will depend on the alternatives chosen by the DOT, which had $3.4 million in its budget last year for planning and $11 million in its five-year capital plan for an environmental impact study.