Suffolk County completed installation of curbing, sidewalks and guardrails along Nicolls Road, from the North Entrance of the university to Route 25A last week, according to a press release from Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (District 5).
Hahn worked to have the project included in the 2013-2015 Capital Budget under Suffolk County Capital Project 5497.
“This project will protect pedestrians utilizing Nicolls Road and link the Stony Brook University campus to the greater community,” Hahn said in the press release. “By providing sidewalks here, pedestrians will no longer have to walk in a vehicle travel lane, which threatens their safety and impedes the flow of traffic.”
The project was completed a year early, as funds were set for allocation this year and construction to be completed in 2014. Civil Engineer for Suffolk County Department of Public Works Victor Keneiby said that the funds were made available for Project 5497 and the initiative’s timetable moved up as a priority.
Legislator Hahn explained to The Statesman that she advocated for the project due to what she noticed during her time as President of the Civic Association of the Setaukets and Stony Brook. It was “very frightening” for her to see students walking on Nicolls Road (County Road 97) without a sidewalk or guardrails. She wanted to make it safer for students.
President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. stated in the press release that the sidewalks and guardrails will protect students and pedestrians who travel into town.
“Safety is a top priority for Stony Brook University and, thanks to Legislator Hahn’s tireless efforts, there will be less students and pedestrians at risk in this high-traffic pedestrian area of Nicolls Road,” he said.
During a media roundtable with the student media last month, President Stanley expressed his concern for student safety both on and off campus.
Senior psychology major Michelle Martinez thinks the sidewalks are great—not just for Stony Brook, but for the whole community. She recalled times from her freshman year when she had to walk along the busy intersection to reach businesses in town such as Subway.
Senior biochemistry major Suzie DiGioia, who rides her bike at that intersection, thinks the sidewalks will be helpful especially at night, as “cars whip around that corner really fast.” She remembered hearing about students being hit by cars in the area during her freshman year.
Other students felt that they did not know enough about the area to comment.
When asked if there were any other upcoming sidewalk projects around the university, Legislator Hahn explained that students need to understand there are multiple levels of government that deal with the main roads surrounding Stony Brook.
While Nicolls Road is under the jurisdiction of Suffolk County, Route 25A is part of the state and Stony Brook Road falls under the Town of Brookhaven. Legislator Hahn thinks it would “make a lot of sense” for Stony Brook Road to be more “pedestrian friendly.”