By Janee Law
After three pedestrians have been struck, including one fatally, while crossing Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor over the last three years, community leaders are pleading to New York State and Town of Huntington officials to make crossing the street safer.
Crossing Main Street is “treacherous,” said Tom Hogan, president of the Cold Spring Harbor Business Improvement District, and owner of Sweetie Pies On Main, which is located a short walk away from the crosswalk.
Hogan added, “Cars speed through there with no regard for the public.”
Over the last three years, there have been two documented incidents of pedestrians being struck by vehicles while crossing Main Street.
On Aug. 3, two women were struck by a vehicle while crossing near Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department. There were no serious injuries, according to Suffolk police.
In February 2013, Jean Carr, 78, of Syosset was killed while crossing Main Street near Grasso’s Restaurant.
“Both incidents were most unfortunate, and clearly accidents, but both show the need for the state and the town to work together to address what’s a very serious situation,” Hogan said.
He added that the Cold Spring Harbor BID, Main Street Association and Civic Association have contacted state and town officials to improve Main Street crosswalks. Currently, there are two crosswalks in the downtown area, one west of the municipal parking lot on Main Street, and the other east of it.
Hogan said meetings have been held with state Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) and state Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington Station). Main Street is a state-owned road.
On Wednesday, Lupinacci acknowledged the concerns, specifically those with the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit; traffic issues; and pedestrian safety.
Lupinacci added, “We visited the area and started working on the issue.”
Following a meeting in July, the New York State Department of Transportation began an investigation of the area, according to Hogan.
In a Aug. 9 letter sent to Marcellino, state DOT Long Island Regional Director Joseph Brown said the DOT will permit the Town of Huntington to fund and install either a rectangular rapid flashing beacon system, or a lighted crosswalk with in-pavement lighting and pedestrian sensors, at the crosswalk located near the western end of the municipal parking lot on Main Street.
Huntington spokesman A.J. Carter said on Wednesday that the town received the state’s proposal, but had yet to review it as of deadline Wednesday.
Currently, the crosswalk targeted for the improvements is equipped with bright orange flags that pedestrians can hold while crossing the street to increase visibility for oncoming traffic.
As of Wednesday, there had been no known reported incidents of pedestrians being struck by a vehicle while crossing at either of the two designated Main Street crosswalks.
However, there’s still concern.
At night, pedestrians crossing at the crosswalk may not be entirely visible to oncoming traffic as that part of Main Street gets very dark, Hogan said. He added that, when people attempt to cross the street to go restaurants and stores, “cars just don’t see them.”
“It’s a wonderful community, but it’s just not safe to cross the street there.”