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Pedestrian Safety Experts Tour Long Island, Offer Tips For Saving Lives

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VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Due to a rise of fatalities and injuries, national experts on pedestrian street safety conducted a guided walking audit of Long Island’s deadliest thoroughfares Thursday.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the experts were invited by the AARP to tour Valley Stream, Rockville Centre, Baldwin and Freeport along Sunrise Highway and the Jericho and Hempstead turnpikes and offered plans to save lives.

“As long as we are designing for someone in their 80s, we are designing for someone who is 8,” said Daniel Burden, co-founder of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute. “That is what we are looking for: Where can we now build an America for every age?”

Seniors and children accounted for half of all pedestrians killed in Nassau County over a recent two-year period.

As part of the audit, dozens of parents, civic leaders, senior citizens and children tried crossing eight lanes, even 10 in spots, tempting fate.

“The biggest problem is not enough time to cross the street safely, even if you start the minute the light turns green,” said JoAnn Flora, a senior citizen from Baldwin.

So far, experts see an immediate need for more traffic signals, signals with longer durations and better-marked crosswalks on the flat thoroughfares that tempt racing.

“I am very concerned about excessive speeding, lack of awareness,” said Barry Goldstein, a Rockville Centre parent.

“Cars are coming pretty fast, and you have to worry about looking left and right,” said Eddie Reynolds, 13.

The state Transportation Department says safer-street projects are underway. But local citizens are demanding a voice in the redesign.

“More people are walking, more people are biking, and more people need to access transit,” said Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island, a regional planning group. “This is the future of Long Island.”

A community meeting was being held Thursday night at the Freeport public library, where final safer-road recommendations will be presented.

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