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State DOT Plans More Safety Changes For Hempstead Turnpike

LEVITTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A major move is now underway to make Long Island's deadliest and most dangerous road for pedestrians less risky.

WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reports


Jen Moony is recovering after being hit by a car crossing dangerous Hempstead Turnpike.

"I broke my pelvic bone about two months ago. Cars are always flying down here. It's definitely a crazy road," Moony told CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan on Monday.

Moony called it a 16-mile corridor of crisis through Nassau County.

"It's a deathtrap. It's Long Island's deadliest road," she said.

Vision Long Island and other community groups have appealed to the state for help. Police accident reports reveal 500 pedestrians hit by cars or trucks along Hempstead Turnpike from 2005-'11.

Five pedestrians are killed each year, officials said.

"Sixteen-mile stretch of roadway [that] goes through nine communities, four downtowns, a college [and] a medical center," said Eric Alexander of Vision Long Island.

Now, finally, there has been some action. This week the state will launch an unprecedented effort to improve safety.

* Traffic signals will be reprogrammed to slow vehicles, allowing pedestrians' time to cross.

* Medians will be raised.

* Fencing will be put up to discourage jaywalking.

* New crosswalks will be unveiled.

* Bus stops will be relocated.

"It's long overdue. With the number of crashes and fatalities in last five to 10 years the Department of Transportation has to make these improvements," said State Sen. Charles Fuschillo, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reports


The multimillion dollar makeover will help locations like Nassau's medical center, and Hofstra University become safer places to walk, and will give neighborhoods a sense of security.

"It's a must to fix the roads. They need to be more expandable. There's a lot of trucks passing by. There's more people, population growing," said Franklin Square business owner Raphael Khimov.

This is the first in a "safety fix movement." Once Hempstead Turnpike is improved, the state DOT will move on to other dated roadways, with the dangerous Sunrise Highway on deck.

"The Department of Transportation is going to have continue to monitor Hempstead Turnpike as well as Sunrise Highway and other thorough ways throughout Long Island," Sen. Fuschillo told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall.

The state's examination revealed that 44 percent of those pedestrians killed while crossing Hempstead Turnpike had consumed alcohol or were under the influence of drugs.

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