Walk audits identify 6 lower-income Long Island communities badly in need of pedestrian safety upgrades

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Pedestrians beware!

Six Long Island communities have been identified as badly in need of pedestrian safety upgrades, and they all have something in common.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday, they’re working class neighborhoods lacking some basic safety measures.

Crossing the street in Hempstead can be treacherous. Crosswalks striping is often faded and hard for drivers to see if it’s there at all.

“It’s actually very scary, scary for myself, scary for our elderly, also scary for the children what have to cross the street. Just anybody, especially when you see traffic speeding through,” resident Clariona Griffith said.

In Roosevelt, Adrian Bailey said he sees constant crashes at a busy intersection that has no traffic light or crosswalks.

“This intersection is beyond dangerous. You have traffic coming from the charter school down there. You have trucks from the deli here, deli there. A lot of landscaping trucks,” Bailey said.

“We are missing crosswalks. We are missing lights in some areas. Also missing, just having a timing that’s up there,” said Dana Faison, director of community engagement for the group Choice for All.

Where there are walk signals, there is often too little time to cross. These are working class neighborhoods lacking safety features wealthier communities take for granted, says Vision Long Island.

“We need to get them into working class communities so everyone can be safe, everyone who is walking, everyone who is biking. There is no need for high-speed crashes in the middle of downtowns anywhere. We know better,” Vision Long Island’s Eric Alexander said.


Vision Long Island

The nonprofit conducted walk audits in Long Island downtowns and found a disturbing pattern — six lower-income working class communities have pedestrian safety flaws.

In Garden City, there’s a tree canopy that encourages slower driving. Next door in Hempstead there are fewer trees, wider roads, and less pedestrian safety.

“Street trees do tend to calm drivers down. They go a little more slowly, a little more cautiously,” said Elissa Kyle, Vision Long Island place making director. “Wider lanes, wider roads allow drivers tend to go faster and feel comfortable going faster. You have a lot more people walking in conditions that are just not set up for it. It’s not safe.”

Vision Long Island says there is now opportunity for improvements, including better design and engineering to slow down cars with state and federal grants.

“We all want to live, so safety should be something across the board regardless of what community you come from,” Griffith said.

Community leaders say their pleas for some of these improvements have gone unanswered for years. They’ll now use the Vision Long Island study as more evidence.

Pedestrian deaths nationwide climbed to more than 7,400 last year, a 12 percent increase from the year before.

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