For immediate release:

October 30, 2008

Contact: Kate Slevin, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
(212) 268-7474

Eric Alexander, Vision Long Island
631-804-9128

 

 

 

Non-Profit, Civic Groups Call for DOT Region 10 Reform:
Pedestrian Safety Must be Prioritized

A group of transportation, smart growth and civic groups held a press conference outside the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Region 10 offices in Hauppauge Thursday, urging the Region’s leadership to emphasize smart growth principles, including pedestrian safety and traffic calming measures, in current and future projects.

The press conference was organized and attended by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Vision Long Island, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Sustainable Long Island, Long Island’s Neighborhood Network and the Mt. Sinai, Selden, Coram, Middle Island, Elmont and Four Towns Civic Associations, and was held in light of a recently released report by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign that indicated that Long Island roads are some of the most dangerous in the region for pedestrians and motorists alike.

In the report, an analysis by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, roads in Nassau and Suffolk Counties ranked the highest in the entire state, outside of New York City, for pedestrian and traffic fatalities from 2005 to 2007. Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County took the dubious honor of being the roadway with the most pedestrian fatalities across Long Island. In Suffolk County, Route 27 was the scene of 12 pedestrian fatalities over the same timeframe.

According to the groups, the reason for the high number of fatalities was poor road design, and an outdated transportation policy focus at Long Island’s Region 10.

“Governor Paterson and NYSDOT Commissioner Astrid Glynn have shown support for progressive policies that emphasizes that roads are not just for cars, but for pedestrians and cyclists too,” said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign (TSTC), a non-profit advocacy and policy organization working toward a transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. “Unfortunately Region 10 hasn’t gotten the message. Long Islanders deserve to have a DOT that works to promote sustainable, 21st century solutions to transportation and development issues.”

Vision Long Island, a Smart Growth planning organization calls for radical restructuring of NYSDOT Region 10. “Specific changes must be made among the leaders in the planning and public affairs divisions within the department. New blood and new ideas are desperately needed in order to address the transportation issues facing Long Island communities,” said Eric Alexander, executive director, Vision Long Island.

“Middle Country Rd. the Deadliest Road in the Country. We do not say this to scare you, the truth is it scares everyone that drive on this road everyday. We can not afford to wait for a visioning plan or 2030 to solve our road problems. One life lost is one life too many. WE need to put safety first, we need to take action NOW!” said Debbie Felber, president of the Selden Civic Association.

“LI has some major state roads that divide small towns and make it a life and death game of chance if you try to cross them. Design change is needed to make them safe for pedestrians, cyclists as well as motorists and keep them user friendly for the businesses that line them.” said Deirdre Dubato, president Mt. Sinai Civic Association.

“Long Islanders want more than bigger and wider roads. They want environments that allow them to cross roads without feeling like they are putting their lives on the line,” said Erma Gluck, president of the Coram Civic Association.

“DOT must learn to solve the 21st century traffic problems; with 21st-century solutions, not the 1950s' ideas,” said Maryann Johnston, president, Manor Park Civic Association.

“It’s time that Region 10 realizes that its projects impact Long Island’s economy and environment. The DOT needs to be promoting community planning and balanced streets, not NASCAR races,” said Tom Talbot, president of Middle Island Civic Association.

"As states, across the country make strides to reform their patterns of development and how they create communities, Region 10 still operates with a ‘business as usual mentality’; building roads that are death traps for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike,” said Lisa Tyson, executive director of Long Island Progressive Coalition.

"Deathtraps like the Selden-Coram speedway on Middle County Rd are an example of the DOT putting speed ahead of public safety, this cannot be allowed to continue,” said Neal Lewis, executive director of Neighborhood Network.

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The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit organization working toward a more balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.

Vision Long Island is a non-profit group that works to promote more livable, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible growth on Long Island through Smart Growth.