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Installation of Overpass on Sunrise Highway Unlikely

Department of Transportation says overpasses are often "less effective" due to pedestrian convenience.

on Sunrise Highway and Hempstead Turnpike may go unanswered for the time being.

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) acknowledged that overpasses can be effective in regards to pedestrian safety, but only in certain situations — most notably "when they are the only crossing available for pedestrians and are easily accessible."

"Overpasses, such as the ones over Hempstead Turnpike at Hofstra University and pedestrian bridges that cross limited-access facilities like I-495/LIE or the Southern State Parkway, make sense when there is no nearby cross street and they are conveniently located for pedestrians," the NYSDOT said in a statement to Patch. "However, the use of this type of structure is less effective on other facilities for several reasons."

The effectiveness of the overpasses is most dependent on the pedestrians who use them. More times than not, overpasses are disregarded unless they are the only way to cross a roadway, according to the NYSDOT, because pedestrians normally "seek the shortest distance to cross a roadway."

"At certain existing overpasses on state facilities, the vast majority of pedestrians choose the at-grade crossing over a raised structure since it is more convenient and takes less time than climbing ramps or stairs," the NYSDOT said. "Therefore, the installation of pedestrian overpasses has been used on a limited number of our roadways."

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The NYSDOT has been installing pedestrian countdown timers, increasing pedestrian crossing times and placing high visibility crosswalks along various state highways in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

"We are constantly monitoring the safety of our roadways and making improvements when appropriate," the statement said.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign (TSTC) released its list of the back in March, with Hempstead Turnpike (Route 24) and Sunrise Highway (Route 27) topping the infamous list.

A total of 15 deaths were reported on Hempstead Turnpike during the three year stretch, while seven were reported on Sunrise Highway — which was ranked as the third most dangerous road in the region behind Upper Broadway in Manhattan.

One of the more recent deaths on Sunrise Highway that has led to action to improve safety on the roadway was when freshman Brittany Vega was crossing at the intersection of Wantagh Avenue in Sept. 2010.

Earlier this month, crossing Sunrise Highway at the Wantagh Avenue intersection and suffered head trauma. 

Wayne Smith August 24, 2012 at 10:15 AM
So much for help from the state. The statement from DOT comes across as a pretty tortured rationalizaton for not spending money, despite safety concerns. The overapass at Hofstra, for example, is located in a place where there happen to be "at grade" crossings of Hemsptead Turnpike neaby. By the way, since the DOT seems to be concerned about convenience, it's worth nothing that it's pretty inconvenient when you get run over. By the way,
K.M. August 24, 2012 at 11:56 AM
I second that!Wayne.
James G. August 24, 2012 at 02:01 PM
i would love an overpass , so i could walk to taco bell and burger king.
Kevin B August 24, 2012 at 07:02 PM
My guess is Hofstra paid for those overpasses on Hempstead Tpke.. I agree with NYSDOT in that people will take the shortest route. Case in point, I can't tell you the amount of times I am stopped at the light on Wantagh Ave. heading north in the left turn lane and when the left turn arrow lights up for me to make the left on to Sunrise Hwy westbound, pedestrians, most of which are adults, immediately cross, contradictory to the crossing signal which doesn't let them go until the left turn arrow is off. So much for the countdown timers which haven't even started since the walk signal hasn't yet been activated. Yep, the shortest route, but the driver has to live with himself when a fatality occurs because the pedestrian can't wait and fails to obey their rules of the road.
joe21 April 10, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Regarding Sunrise Highway and Wantagh Avenue: As of 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, the pedestrian button on the southwest corner that should allow a pedestrian to cross north is still not working. I informed NYS DOT about this by letter on April 6. A DOT employee worked at that button box April 8, and I presumed he fixed it. But it still does not work. This is the route from TD Bank to Getty. In my observations, about half the pedestrians don't bother with the button.

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