Although it’s not a new proposition, the effort to make Grand Avenue a safer roadway for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists took a step in the right direction last week.
Roughly 80 Baldwin residents attended a public information and input meeting on Feb. 24 at Baldwin High School, where Nassau County Department of Public Works employees and representatives of the LiRo Group, an engineering company the county hired last year, unveiled the preliminary results of a traffic study on a 1.4-mile stretch of Grand Avenue, from Merrick Road to Stanton Avenue, and asked for feedback.
Beginning in November, LiRo employees counted vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists along the corridor at the 12 intersections with traffic signals. For 10 consecutive days that month, Automatic Traffic Recorders, machines that count passing vehicles, were placed at six locations along Grand, according to Abid Ansari of the LiRo Group.
Ansari outlined what has been done so far in the study along the roadway — which has four lanes of traffic, a 30 mph speed limit and parking on both sides — as well as some of its key features, like the Long Island Rail Road Station, Fire Department headquarters and Baldwin High School entrance.
Most of the information Ansari shared was not surprising to those in attendance, but Sean Sallie, a senior county planner, said the county wanted to show that the project was moving forward. The main reason for the meeting, though, was to invite public input from residents on the roadway and measures they would like to see implemented to make it safer for everyone.
Robert Rigoroso, a resident for 23 years and the owner of Malkin Appliance on Grand Avenue, said he had noticed that speeding was a problem in the area. To potentially curb speeding and make the roadway safer, Rigoroso said, he would like to see Grand have one lane for traffic in each direction and a turning lane in the middle. “Traffic back up on Grand is usually caused by cars trying to turn,” he said. “So if you alleviate that turning issue, you’ll get a flow of traffic that always has to move to the right lane anyway.
“We’re almost a single lane with a blocked turning lane, when you think about it,” he added of the current conditions.