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Safer Crossing at Atlantic and Union

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Safer Crossing at Atlantic and Union

New crosswalks and yield signs were constructed at the intersection of Atlantic and Union Avenue.

New crosswalks and yield signs were constructed at the intersection of Atlantic and Union Avenue.

Emily Bergin

New crosswalks and yield signs were constructed at the intersection of Atlantic and Union Avenue.

Emily Bergin

Emily Bergin

New crosswalks and yield signs were constructed at the intersection of Atlantic and Union Avenue.

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Over the summer, new traffic safety measures were constructed at the intersection of Atlantic and Union Avenue, along with which new rules for navigating that intersection as a pedestrian have been put into effect. The improvements include several new crosswalks, yield signs with blinking lights that pedestrians can push a button to use, and a new curb. The goal of these changes is to make students and drivers more careful and safer when crossing that busy intersection. The freshly painted crosswalks and illuminated crossing signs also serve to discourage students from crossing diagonally from the high school to a restaurant on the other side of Atlantic Ave, which while quicker, is much more dangerous than following the several crosswalks.

The intersection has been a safety concern of the district for some time. Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak explained, “The corner project was an extensive project based on repeated requests to the county to make it safer. Too many students were at risk because cars driving to and from Sunrise Highway fail to see and yield to pedestrians crossing those corners. There were several accidents which led to the push to encourage the county to make a change.” Principal Joseph Rainis added, “Seeing as hundreds of students cross here every day, the county finally stepped up and assisted in making this intersection safer.”

Construction began on the new safety precautions at the end of last school year. The construction was done on the corner outside of the high school, and construction vehicles were parked on Roosevelt Avenue throughout the construction. Rainis commented, “The work was done during exams last year, which I and many of the teachers were unhappy about, but the county had the window of time that it had, and we had to deal with that.” Rainis also described one incident where dust from construction went into the building and set off the fire alarm in the banana wing, however, he said, “… the foreman of the job made sure things were changed after that to ensure it wouldn’t happen again.”

The blinking lights and yield signs were added to make drivers more aware of pedestrians. The lights can be activated by pedestrians and are meant to alert drivers of people who are going to cross. Dr. Burak said, “Students need to become more accountable for their own safety by using the safety mechanisms that are installed. When at one of the corners, press the button to light the signs so driver know there are people who need to cross the street. That will alert drivers to slow down and look for pedestrians, which they might not normally do. If students continue to cross outside of the walkways or diagonally, nothing is going to change so it is important that all abide by the safety rules.”

The curb was widened to prevent cars from making quick turns on the corner. Also, with the widened curb, cars must drive up further to get into the drop off line instead of driving straight into the line. Additional paint was added to the crosswalk, intersection crosshatch painting was added at the fork in the road, and a line was painted to tell drivers where they must stop to yield to pedestrians.

Many students feel that these new safety measures are helpful and make crossing that intersection easier and safer. Senior Liam Rudolph commented, “You pretty much had to play the world’s worst game of red-light green-light before these additions, so I definitely think that it has greatly improved the safety of the students at LHS. They definitely avoided lots of potential disasters with these new additions.” Sophomore Mary McGuire also said, “Personally, I feel safer knowing that there is something indicating to the cars driving down Union that there are children crossing the street and they have a warning to slow down and stop.”

The district seems to be satisfied with the changes that have been made and hope that they will continue to keep students safe. Rainis said, “So far, I think all of the buttons and signs and blinkers have enabled people to be safer. When you’re driving up to the school, you notice them, and you pay attention to them. Initially, from what I’ve noticed, and I hope it continues this way, I think students have been paying more attention to the signs and where the safe zones are. When drivers are paying attention to pedestrians and students are cooperating with the crosswalks and signs, we’re in a good place in terms of safety.” Dr. Burak added, “I am just pleased that the county finally addressed the issue and took steps in the right direction to help keep all safe when crossing Union Avenue and Atlantic Avenue.”

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About the Contributor
Emily Bergin, Contributor

I'm Emily Bergin, a freshman at Lynbrook High School.  In my free time, I like to swim and play music.

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