Smithtown planners say drivers will see less traffic on the roads if the town was willing to install more sidewalks, but they'll need to be cost efficient.
A draft Transportation Study completed to update the Town of Smithtown's Master Plan suggests that sidewalks are much more important than town officials previously realized. The study claims that 10 percent of overall trips a person makes are on foot.
"Safe and convenient pedestrian circulation is necessary for economic health of downtowns. Further, local traffic could be reduced if sidewalk systems were complete around schools and other centers," reads page 54 of the Transportation Study.
Planners estimate that 30 percent of streets in Smithtown have sidewalks, and only 80 percent of those streets have sidewalks on both sides. Overall, there are 268 miles of sidewalks in the Town of Smithtown.
One street with sidewalks for walkers is Smithtown Main Street. Residents have fought New York State Department of Transportation for increased pedestrian safety measures after two fatal accidents: 11-year-old Courtney Sipes in 2011 and Seamus Byrne in 2011.
As a result, Smithtown Main Street had several safety improvements installed in 2011-2012 including reducing the number of traffic lanes, improved pedestrian signals and installation of fences.
The Transportation study has suggested town officials consider installing sidewalk on these roads, to form a more complete network:
- Old Willets Path
- Smithtown By-Pass
- Brooksite Drive
- Gibbs Pond Road
The Route 347 Greenway project, started in 2010, aims to make Smithtown By-pass friendly for walkers by installing a pedestrian and bike lane on the south side of roadway. The first mile of the project has been completed from Route 454/Veterans Highway east to Route 111/Wheeler's Road. The next one-mile section moving east to Mount Pleasant Road is current in the process of a contract.
We'd like to ask, will you use the new sidewalks on Route 347/Smithtown By-Pass? Would you use sidewalks on Brooksite Drive in Hauppauge or Old Willets Path?
Tell us in the comments below.