EAST QUOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some Long Island East End parents said their children’s lives are at risk each day they walk to and from school.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, part of that route is along a busy highway with no sidewalks.
At dismissal time Friday for the only school in East Quogue, dozens of local children set off to walk home. Btu for some in the close-knit school district, the walk can be harrowing.
That is because a stretch of Montauk Highway along their route has no sidewalk.
“I live all the way down at the end of the street… as a parent, we see all the that kids that walk to school,” said Bill Wright of East Quogue, “and this is a major concern — I mean, they have to walk through here to get to the next sidewalk to school — and as you can see, if we stand, here, you’ll see the cars — they come pretty fast.”
There have been accidents on the route, Wright said.
“Six-thirty, 5:30 in the morning, slammed right into this tree coming straight off of here,” he said.
“If a child lives; a family lives a mile or closer to our building, they’re not eligible for transportation,” said East Quogue School Supt. Robert Long. “So, you know, that would mean that’s approximately 60 kids in the building.”
And some of their homes are on Hallock Avenue on the edge of the village main street. To reach their destination, the children lose the sidewalk at West End Avenue.
“Three hundred feet of sidewalk we need to put in, and then there’s another sidewalk, and they can walk safely all the way down to the crossing guard,” Wright said.
“While they’re working through this discussion and deciding whether that sidewalk will be put in place, our crossing guards are alerted to the potential problems,” added Southampton Town police Chief Steven Skrynecki.
Suffolk County is responsible for a new sidewalk, and times have changed since Montauk Highway was built for horse and carriage.
“Once we confirm that the sidewalk is definitely needed, we’ll enter it into our capital program and we’ll do the planning and the construction,” said Suffolk County Department of Public Works Chief Engineer William Hillman.
“I’d like to see it done immediately,” Long said. “I know we’re, you know, in the midst of winter, and the ground is frozen, and I’m not an engineer. But you know, obviously, the sooner the better.”
A sidewalk could be many months away, the DPW said. Building a curb could trap water, and digging up the ground could create drainage and utility problems.
Parents say waiting is unacceptable.
Residents say summertime brings tourists who also must bike and walk on Montauk Highway to get to the local beach – creating a dangerous condition for them and drivers.