The tragic crash that killed five teenagers on a Farmingdale road infamous for drivers neglecting speed limits has sparked new road safety measures that officials hope will prevent similar tragedies in the future.
To improve safety, the State Department of Transportation has been directed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to reduce the dangerous roadway, Conklin Street, to two lanes from four. The lane reduction will occur on Conklin Street between Secatogue Avenue and Birch Avenue. The state will also add a 15-foot, two-way left turn lane in the center of the roadway, while also promising no loss of street parking.
“As the father of three young daughters who drive, I know firsthand the importance of keeping our roads safe,” Cuomo said in a press release announcing the changes. “Implementing these safety precautions on Conklin Street will bring traffic speeds to safer levels and help reduce both the number and the severity of crashes in the area.”
The reconfiguration of the roadway, known as “road diet,” is designed to reduce rear-end and side-swap crashes and to improve speed limit compliance and decreasing crash severity, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
The state has already installed new radar technology that switches a traffic light to red when it detects speeding vehicles. In theory, the system forces the driver to stop. Two speed control trailers have also been added to notify drivers of how fast they’re traveling.
The “road diet” will be implemented as part of a project to resurface Route 24 between the Meadowbrook Parkway and Route 110, the governor’s office said. Roadwork should be completed by the end of November.
On Saturday, May 10 a car carrying the five teens crossed into the eastbound lane and collided with an SUV just after midnight, police said. They all died, two of them instantly, police said.
The victim’s were mourned at a vigil the next day, which was Mother’s Day.
State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) recognized Cuomo for his quick response and residents will benefit from the road changes.
“We will watch the effects of the changes to determine if any additional steps are desired,” he said in a statement.
Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand, who received a letter from Cuomo in which the governor expressed his condolences, was also appreciative.
Said Cuomo: “My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones on this road, and it is my hope that between these new measures and our driver education and enforcement initiatives that we can prevent any future tragedies in this community.”