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Town of Huntington, NY - News Details

12/4/2018 - Town Presents Results of Laurel Hill Road Traffic Study to Northport-East Northport School District Officials, SCPD

Northport – The Town’s Department of Transportation and Traffic Safety met with representatives from the Northport-East Northport School District and the Suffolk County Police Department Second Precinct at Northport High School on Tuesday, November 27, to present findings of the Town’s traffic study of Laurel Hill Road and recommendations for traffic safety improvements.

 

“Our Traffic Safety team has been carefully analyzing the data they collected from vehicular as well as pedestrian and bicycle traffic to formulate a recommendation that will make our roads safer for student walkers, reduce driver frustration and achieve an overall traffic calming effect, especially during those critical pick-up and drop-off times,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci, who has been in communication with residents and school district officials since the September accident, which seriously injured a student pedestrian as he was walking to the school on Tuesday, September 4.

 

The Town’s Department of Transportation and Traffic Safety placed traffic counting devices along Laurel Hill Road and on the driveways providing access to and from the high school along Laurel Hill Road to collect data including traffic volumes and speeds during  the period from Wednesday, September 19, through Thursday, September 27. Traffic Safety staff returned on Tuesday, October 16, to observe student drop off and pick-up, pedestrian and bicycle activity on Laurel Hill Road. Data was collected during specific time periods coinciding with the student arrival and dismissal periods to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the existing conditions. Findings were analyzed over the course of several weeks to produce recommendations for traffic calming and road safety improvements.

 

Field observations revealed that, while vehicular traffic volume was moderate to heavy during peak periods, pedestrian activity was moderate to low. Traffic conditions were made worse due to poor driver behavior, including speeding; dropping off students in the westbound Laurel Hill Road shoulder area and travel lane; and using the westbound Laurel Hill Road shoulder area to bypass the queue of vehicles waiting to enter the high school’s westernmost driveway on Laurel Hill Road. Buses and other vehicles were observed making precarious left turns out of the school’s easternmost driveway on Laurel Hill Road.

 

Based on the vehicular traffic data collected and pedestrian and bicycle activity observed, the Department of Transportation and Traffic Safety had developed a  concept plan that included adding an exclusive westbound left turn lane to service left turn movements into the high school’s westernmost driveway on Laurel Hill Road to help reduce driver frustration for westbound motorists wishing to travel through the area. This improvement would involve reducing the width of the shoulder areas along both sides of Laurel Hill Road thereby eliminating both the ability of drivers to use the shoulder to bypass the travel lane and the ability to drop students off in the westbound shoulder.

 

The proposed concept plan would also result in eliminating on-street parking in the eastbound Laurel Hill Road shoulder area (approximately 25 spaces would be lost).

 

The Town offered recommendations for the school district to consider implementing on school property which included restricting left turns out of the school’s easternmost driveway on Laurel Hill Road; evaluating on-site traffic circulation, parking and student drop off conditions to determine if there are ways to improve them; partnering with the Town of Huntington regarding the installation of a permanent Driver Feedback Device within the school speed zone on Laurel Hill Road.

 

“The next steps are to meet with the School District architect, Suffolk County and residents to discuss the Town’s traffic study and plans for improvements along Laurel Hill Road and on the school property,” said Scott Spittal, the Town’s Director of Transportation and Traffic Safety.

 

On Tuesday, September 4, there was a tragic accident involving a pedestrian at Northport High School on Laurel Hill Road in Northport. The student was hit by a motorist and seriously injured.

 

On Friday, September 14, Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci, a Citizen’s Advocate and Town staff from the Department of Transportation and Traffic Safety met with Northport-East Northport School District and Second Precinct officials. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the incident and concerns regarding vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the area.

 

Northport High School sits on the property at the south west corner of Laurel Hill Road and Elwood Road (CR 10). The Town of Huntington has jurisdiction over Laurel Hill Road and Suffolk County Department of Public Works has jurisdiction over Elwood Road (CR 10).

 

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