Within the past three months, three serious car accidents that resulted in two pedestrian deaths has plagued Mineola Boulevard. Now that daylight savings time has ended, it’s anticipated that there will be an uptick in pedestrian accidents by county officials.
Recently, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran joined county police commissioner Patrick Ryder, Legislator Debra Mule and members of the county’s department of public works (DPW) for a press conference to shed light on the county’s pedestrian safety initiatives and raise awareness of roadway safety measures for pedestrians and drivers.
“As we continue to promote and develop walkable downtown communities near mass transit, ensuring the safety of both motorists and pedestrians is a top priority,” Curran said. “Nassau County has a wide-ranging approach to addressing pedestrian safety utilizing the latest technology, comprehensive traffic studies and community outreach. With accidents involving pedestrians almost doubling from September to November in recent years, as it gets darker earlier, there is more to be done, especially in the way pedestrian accidents are reported and analyzed.”
According to Nassau County Police Department detectives, a female was crossing the street eastbound on Mineola Boulevard at Second Street when she was struck by a 2004 Dodge Ram, which was making the left turn from Second Street. The accident happened on Sept. 13 at 10:16 a.m. The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene. The victim, who suffered multiple injuries was transported to a local hospital where she was in critical condition. The female victim was indentified as 60 year old Lynbrook resident Helen Skelos, who later died as a result of her injuries.
According to Nassau County Police Department detectives, a 64-year-old male was riding his bicycle southbound on Mineola Boulevard at Washington Avenue on Oct. 2 at 12:05 a.m. when he was struck by an unknown southbound vehicle. The victim, Joseph Harrison of Williston Park, suffered a serious head injury and was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
Detectives are attempting to identify and locate the vehicle involved in the accident. It is described as a 2006-08 Infinity, four-door SUV, light in color, possibly silver or gray, with front end damage. Detectives request anyone with information regarding the incident to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.
According to the Nassau County Police Department detectives, while attempting to cross Jericho Turnpike near the intersection of Mineola Boulevard, a 66-year-old male pedestrian from Mineola was struck by an eastbound 2019 Ford Fusion on Jericho Turnpike that was being operated by a 52-year-old male who remained at the scene. The accident occurred on Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. As a result of the collision the pedestrian suffered multiple trauma injuries, was transported to an area hospital and is currently listed in critical condition. The investigation into this accident is ongoing.
Nassau County Traffic Engineering Safety Initiatives
Nassau County works to utilize the latest technologies to improve safety including the most up-to-date treatments available in pavement markings, signs, signals and beacons, and the use of rectangular rapidly flashing beacons (RRFB). Three RRFB locations were installed between 2017-19. One of those RRFB’s was installed on East Williston Avenue at the East Williston Middle School in East Williston.
All non-motorized crossings are signed using highly reflective material (fluorescent strong yellow green), which is most visible in low light conditions, such as dawn/dusk in the fall and winter seasons. DPW consistently replaces old pedestrian signal displays with new pedestrian count down signals, which better inform the pedestrians of their crossing time.
Community Outreach Infinitives
Children and adults, who are 65 and up, are most vulnerable to pedestrian injuries. For seniors, pedestrian-traffic injuries are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths, and second leading cause of unintentional, injury-related hospital admissions.
New York State’s Department of Health has worked in cooperation with the department of transportation and the governor’s traffic safety committee to develop and distribute “See! Be Seen!” pedestrian safety campaign resources and the county has taken full advantage.
To prevent and avoid pedestrian-related injuries or death, pedestrians and motorists are encouraged to yield for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections, to not block crosswalks, to not run any red lights and to obey the speed limit, always look for pedestrians, particularly when turning at a green light or making a right turn on red, do not text and drive and more.
Local Residents Talk Mineola Boulevard
“Mineola Boulevard is so dark,” said Mineola resident Anne Casey. “There is not enough sufficent lighting on the streets. I happen to live on that street. People fly down the street. Also I noticed that people do not know how to use crosswalks or how to properly cross at lights. They never wait for the turning lane cars to go by. Also the light at the corner of Mineola Boulevard and Jericho [Turnpike] is terrible. They should follow the same light pattern as the corner of Jericho and Willis [Avenue]. Cars are always trying to make the left-hand turn before they get caught by the red light camera.”
Resident Laura Xanthus said that people just need to be more cautious.
“Especially around the Second Street section of road where the woman was killed,” she said. “The cars rush to get to the train station and make a quick left to beat the traffic and the cars making a left from Second Street rush to beat the cars making the right. It is a mess there made more dangerous by the construction going on.”
Local resident Barbara Dower said that she’s terrifed of Mineola Boulevard.
“I actually walk down westerly to Horton Highway as I’m terrified of Mineola Boulevard and Jericho [Turnpike] as well as Willis [Avenue]and Jericho,” she said.
However, Mineola resident Brian Bruno thinks that the recent accidents doesn’t have anything to do with Mineola Boulevard specifically.
“It’s unfortunate, but I think it has more to do with crossing with the lights and crossing within the crosswalk,” he explained. “I live in the town and during peak hours there are multiple people not obeying traffic laws especially pedestrians. I’m not speaking about the specific accidents. I’m just making a point that it isn’t always the driver.”