Residents for a More Beautiful Syosset hosted a Pedestrian Road Show last Thursday at the VFW Hall. The meeting was an attempt to raise awareness about the dangerous places to walk in Syosset.
Areas such as the fork on Split Rock Road and Berry Hill Road were used as examples of what areas need to be addressed in this project. But the area by the railroad station is not the only place in Syosset that needs work according to Syosset resident Grace King. "Convent Road has become a speedway," King said. "There are two schools in that area plus a place where ducks cross. You take your life into your hands when you cross the street."
Muttontown Road has become an equally dangerous place to navigate said another Syosset resident, Dan Voelker. "That place is a vehicle oriented area. We need to make it so that it's more engineered towards pedestrians," he said.
Lorraine Donlon, an active member of Residents first came up with an idea for a road show when she was walking with Chris Cotter of the New York Department of Transportation along Jericho Turnpike. "We were surveying the turnpike so we could run a tree-line from the beginning of Route 135 to Robbins Lane," Donlon said. "I mentioned to him that we had major complaints about crossing the streets in Syosset so we had a walking audit to report on the dangerous areas in Syosset."
Should the project be a success, several health benefits will come as a result said Deb Spicer, a spokesperson for the New York Department of Health. "Inactivity leads to heart disease, colon cancer and depression among other things," Spicer said. "For those who exercise, an overwhelming amount prefer to walk as their activity for the day."
Socially, communities will benefit from the chance as well. "A walkable community increases interaction among neighbors, reduces crime because there are more 'eyes on the street' and improves sense of community," Spicer said.
The three keys behind the project from an engineering standpoint will be safety, accessibility, and aesthetics according to Peter Lagerway whose presentation presented many of the opportunities Syosset's roads had to offer. "When elementary school kids are asked to draw what's in between home and school, they draw a line because they're driven to school," Lagerway said. "When I was in school, we all walked ... we need to make it safe again."
Among Lagerway's suggestions included increasing widths of sidewalks to accommodate up to three people, making traffic signals for pedestrians, and creating more ramps for the disabled.
The final step will be a grant application to Nassau County's Department of Transportation in order to initiate all of the recommendations. "The main idea is safety," Donlon said.