Albany, NY - July 17, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed that changes be made to Farmingdale’s Conklin Street (NY Route 24) to improve safety and reduce speed following a tragic car accident in May that claimed the lives of five teenagers. These changes, designed to slow traffic through the village and keep drivers safe, follow the Governor’s pledge to prevent future accidents.
“As the father of three young daughters who drive, I know firsthand the importance of keeping our roads safe,” Governor Cuomo said. “Implementing these safety precautions on Conklin Street will bring traffic speeds to safer levels and help reduce both the number and the severity of crashes in the area. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones on this road, and it is my hope that between these new measures and our driver education and enforcement initiatives that we can prevent any future tragedies in this community.”
The “road diet,” overseen by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), will reduce the roadway from four lanes of traffic (two in each direction) to just two lanes (one in each direction). The lane reduction will occur on Conklin Street between Secatogue Avenue and Birch Avenue. Additionally, a 15-foot two-way left turn lane will be added in the center of the roadway, and there will be no loss of on-street parking.
Road diets are an effective and inexpensive way to calm traffic by increasing driver compliance with speed limits, thus reducing vehicle speeds and the severity of crashes, and are a major safety countermeasure recommended by the Federal Highway Administration.
NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald said, “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we are moving quickly to address safety issues along Conklin Street in Farmingdale. At the Governor’s direction, we will continue to monitor these safety enhancements and make adjustments as needed.”
Following the fatal crash in May, Governor Cuomo directed the installation of new radar technology at the corner of Conklin and Walnut Streets. The system uses radar to detect speeding vehicles and switches a connected traffic signal to red, forcing the driver to stop. NYSDOT also installed two speed control trailers along Conklin Street, which notify motorists of their speed and encourage them to obey speed limits.
The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee will continue to work together with traffic boards and police departments from both Nassau and Suffolk Counties to review ongoing educational efforts and recommend further courses of action.
Senator Kemp Hannon said, “Kudos are in order for the quick response of the Cuomo administration for addressing the Conklin Avenue ‘speedway’. Using a combination of physical lane changes and technological innovations for speed detection and traffic signal responses, Governor Cuomo’s actions will benefit the safety of all residents. We will watch the effects of the changes to determine if any additional steps are desired.”
Assemblyman Joseph Saladino said, “I am pleased that the state has taken our suggestion to reconfigure this road so that we may never lose lives again. I look forward to help push this project along to create a more safe traffic environment for our children and families. In this way we are responding to a horrific accident with the hopes that it is done quickly and effectively. This is the right thing to do. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. I hope that every parent will use this example to instill the importance of safe driving.”
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano stated, “I thank Governor Cuomo for working to make Conklin Street safer for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists alike. Throughout Nassau County, we are stepping up our education and enforcement initiatives as well as advancing Complete Streets projects that enhance safety on our local roadways.”
Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said, “As Mayor I applaud Governor Cuomo and Commissioner McDonald and her staff for taking the time to have the traffic engineers assess the situation and make needed changes to assure the safety of our residents. This was done very quickly and I extend my thanks.”
The road diet will be implemented as part of a project to resurface NY Route 24 between the Meadowbrook Parkway and Route 110. The road will be restriped in the new configuration once the paving is complete. Work is scheduled to be finished by the end of November.