LAKE RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — In one Long Island town there’s a dangerous intersection known as “five corners.”
The intersecting roads get people to places like the mall or school, but changes could be coming, CBS2’s John Dias reported Tuesday.
It’s one of the most well known, busiest and, according to town officials, dangerous intersections in the town of Brookhaven.
“Any time it’s the rush hour, it’s not rush, it’s crawl,” said Thomas Mills of Lake Grove.
The Lake Ronkonkoma intersection is the convergence of Hawkins Avenue, Smith Street, and Gatelot Avenue. It has been this way for decades, but Councilman Kevin LaValle said it’s time for a change.
“Right now, it takes two and a half minutes if you get stuck at that light, so a lot of people, when that light turns yellow, they’re hitting the gas and trying to fly through because they don’t want to wait,” LaValle said.
According to Department of Motor Vehicles records, there were 31 accidents at the intersection from July 2016 until last June.
So for safety and congestion reasons, the councilman is proposing eliminating a corner altogether by turning Gatelot Avenue into a cul-de-sac, widening the roads, and installing a new traffic signal. The $1.5 million plan would also improve drainage problems that contribute to pollution in Lake Ronkonkoma.
“What the goal is is try to hold that water up before it makes its way down to the lake,” LaValle said.
Sachem High School North is about a half-mile away from the busy intersection. It’s one of Suffolk County’s most populated high schools.
Many local business owners and parents are all for this idea.
“I do have a teenager who is going to high school and I think that maybe that intersection should be safer for the kids that walk,” Jenn Furlan said.
But not everyone sees this change as positive.
“I don’t like it. I’ve lived in Ronkonkoma almost my whole life and it’s five corners, not four corners,” Dena Blaskopf said.
“I don’t think making it four corners is going to make a difference,” added Jennifer Calamia of Lake Ronkonkoma.
Calamia and her husband said they only received one letter letting them know their quiet block, Ethan Lane, is part of this change. The town wants to tear down an unused parking lot and extend their street to make a new access road.
“We are going to have even more problems, more traffic, more people,” Calamia said.
If all goes to plan, construction should start next year.