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Letters: Death on Hempstead Turnpike

Pedestrians step off a newly-built median strip as

Pedestrians step off a newly-built median strip as they cross Hempstead Turnpike in Franklin Square Thursday, July 11, 2013. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

How many more deaths will it take before engineers and lawmakers come up with a feasible solution to save lives on Hempstead Turnpike? ["Turnpike safety everyone's job," Editorial, June 24].

Lowering the speed limit is most likely not the solution, since some drivers have a tendency to ignore posted speed limits.

Have these possibilities been considered: a pedestrian overpass or a tunnel underneath the turnpike? I don't know if either is feasible, but certainly a remedy is desperately needed.

Beth Rose Macht, Long Beach

The tragedy of the 13-year-old girl killed by a hit-and-run on Hempstead Turnpike further shows that we need to share the roads equitably between motorists and non-motorists.

Full-time monitoring of intersections would enlighten authorities to the areas where jaywalkers impact the flow of traffic. At first, people will grumble about the higher level of monitoring, but like the intersections where red-light cameras are installed, violations would decrease.

Ron Hlawaty, Levittown

Many of the "improvements" to Hempstead Turnpike have actually worsened safety. The retimed traffic signals, especially in the corridor between West Hempstead and Queens border, make up a random pattern that encourages drivers to speed up to try to make it through at least a few lights before one changes.

The work done on Queens Boulevard a decade ago should serve as a model for the state Department of Transportation. The stop signals were modified to increase pedestrian crossing time; roadway markings emphasize pedestrian crosswalks; there are pedestrian signals on median islands; oversized speed-limit signs were posted and police increased enforcement of the speed limit; and officials gave safety education presentations at senior citizens centers.

It was reported that all of these improvements cost a mere $150,000. From 1993 until 2000, there were 72 pedestrian deaths. In 2011, for the first time, there were none.

Yes, we need to find a way to make Hempstead Turnpike safer for all, but it can be done without inconveniencing motorists any further.

Thomas Lithgow, Garden City


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