Installation of Overpass on Hempstead Turnpike Unlikely

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


Pleas for a pedestrian overpass on Hempstead Turnpike and Sunrise Highway 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."

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 most deadly roads in Nassau County 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 Hempstead Turnpike sparked debate amongst residents about safety along the roadway after 16-year-old Levittown resident Anthony D'Alessandro was struck by a car in April 2012.


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