Hempstead Turnpike Most Deadly Road on Long Island for Pedestrians

A study by Newsday of pedestrian accidents reports from 2005 through 2010 published in today’s paper finds that pedestrians are killed an average of more than five times a year on Hempstead Turnpike’s 16 miles through Nassau County, making it Long Island’s most dangerous road. Thirty-two people were killed and at least 427 injured in 457 pedestrian accidents. Three more people have died since last July.

Even crossing at intersections is not safe. More than half of the incidents examined occurred at intersections. Pedestrians were struck far more often by drivers turning left than turning right. Seventy percent of the pedestrians killed were not at intersections.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a nonprofit advocacy group, has ranked Hempstead Turnpike as the deadliest road for pedestrians in the metropolitan area since 2008 in annual listings. Portions of the road led the New York State Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) own list of high-accident areas for both motorists and pedestrians as far back as the late 1980s.

Ranking pedestrian fatalities per vehicle-miles-traveled (“VTM”), a statistic that takes traffic volume into account, Hempstead Turnpike, with an 8.21, easily prevails over Sunrise Highway (3.01), Hillside Avenue (3.00), Jericho Turnpike (2.57) and Northern Boulevard (0.90).

The Hempstead Turnpike intersections with the highest pedestrian crashes from 2006-2010 are Franklin Avenue/New Hyde Park Road (23), Clinton Street (16), Meacham Avenue/Covert Avenue (16), North Franklin Street (14), Elmont Road (11), Newbridge Road (11) and Cathedral Avenue (9).

Some improvements have been made over the last few years through a “Safe Seniors” pilot program and a project under the federal government’s economic stimulus program. Improvements made under “Safe Seniors” include increased crossing time, bigger street signs, high-visibility crosswalk striping and asphalt repairs. The DOT installed pedestrian countdown signals at every intersection in its jurisdiction with the federal funding.

The Newsday investigation includes analyzing 569 reports of accidents obtained from Nassau County and Hempstead Village police.

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