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Opinion: Jericho Tpke. Traffic Horrendous

Students cross Jericho Turnpike Thursday afternoon. Photo Credit: Pam Robinson
Students cross Jericho Turnpike Thursday afternoon. Photo Credit: Pam Robinson

This was written by teacher Sue Cirillo

I am a resident of the neighborhood by which the Whitman student was struck by an SUV on Jan. 14.

I am also a teacher at Silas Wood Sixth Grade Center, also part of South Huntington Schools as is Walt Whitman High School. I have lived in my neighborhood for almost nine years and drive from Jones onto Jericho and return from Jericho to Jones Lane at the end of the day which I have done daily during the school year. Though I was not a witness to the accident, I can share my personal viewpoints.

The traffic on Jericho Turnpike during "rush hours" is horrendous.

 In addition, many cars use Jones Lane to detour to Oakwood Road which has a "no turn on red" sign during these times. 

I have personally witnessed on average three to four vehicles run through the red light at West Hills Road every morning heading west on Jericho Turnpike. This same situation happens almost EVERY time I attempt to pull onto Jericho heading east. 

There is no regard for red lights in most cases, but especially from what I have seen at this intersection. What makes this even more disheartening is that there is a school just south of this intersection with no signs to indicate such. In addition, students tend to cross Jericho from south to north through the West Hills Cemetery which has poor visibility.

 There are no strong street lights there so it is not surprising that the driver of the SUV was unable to see this young man. However, was he or she speeding through a red light? Was he or she texting while driving?

I find it quite disturbing that those who have commented on the behavior of the young man who was struck fail to consider the driver who actually crashed into the young man. 

Any cautious driver who is aware of his/her surroundings would have seen this youngster. The child was walking home from school, not leaving a local pub. As a teacher, I can't grasp the concept of placing the blame on the student when the blame should be on the driver. No student wants to get hit by an Expedition or any other car for that matter. The driver did not see him until it was too late. I wonder if he would have sped away if there were no witnesses.

As stated, I have seen cars drive excessively, through red lights exhibiting reckless behaviors DAILY because I live at this location.

So, perhaps, the readers who are so quick to judge this young boy should spend a day at West Hills Road and Jericho Turnpike and see what I see every day. Maybe they wouldn't accuse the young boy of making a mistake and would see things differently.

susan January 17, 2014 at 02:02 PM
There is lots of blame to go around. I live in the same area of Huntington, I work in Oyster Bay (very pedestrian town) Nobody seems to know how to cross a street anymore. I can count dozens of times I see people crossing where ever they want, not caring if the light is red or green. Right in front of Oyster Bay high school on Halloween I had a mother walk out in front of my car with her hand up to stop me so a group of about 6-8 parents and 20 something kids could cross. She just waved the kids across...they were no more than 20 feet from the cross walk, but instead of teaching their kids the right way, they acted stupider than the kids.
BK13 January 17, 2014 at 02:27 PM
First of all, that intersection of West Hills Road and Jericho is a complete nightmare. TONS of accidents there. Jones Lane and Pomodorino/Clubhouse across the street leads to lots of cars going all different directions from all different angles. Stand there and watch for a few minutes during rush hour, it's complete mayhem. Cars face to face in the turning lane, etc. Plus, most drivers are texting/talking idiots so it's a dangerous combo. Then, throw in the clueless kids who don't know how to walk without texting or have their headphones on so they don't hear the cars and it's a bad scene. On top of that, as stated, a lot of these punk kids don't care and walk in the road presuming the cars are going to stop. The people that use Jones Lane as a cut through are also mostly aholes as they blast through there either blowing the stop sign on Jones or cutting sharply onto Wexford. It's just another example of the downfall of society and politeness in general. To address the kids not going to Oakwood Road or out to West Hills Road to use the crossing guard...well I can say that coming out Jones Lane and crossing Jericho through the church is a SIGNIFICANT time saver. Not sure what to do to stop it except for repairing the fence but it's such a huge timesaver the kids will cut the fence over and over. My oldest went through Whitman and he cut through there every day and now my other one does it to. Not sure what the solution is but no way will the kids go that far out of their way in the morning. Shortest distance between two points yada yada...
JSC January 17, 2014 at 02:46 PM
Crossing guards are hired through Suffolk Cty. The schools have to make a request for one and they aren't always approved. They can only stand at intersections, not in-between intersections. They are only at their posts for a short period of time at dismissal, not for after school activities. It seems the only way to keep students from cutting through the cemetery or elsewhere, is to fix or replace the fencing and make it climb-proof and cut-through proof. Perhaps the high school should have an assembly for all walkers to reinforce the importance of crossing safely. Maybe setting up a security camera and instituting some sort of fine/discipline for violators would help fix the problem as well?
Russell Martilla January 17, 2014 at 09:37 PM
Traffic Island!
Anne LaCascia Seifried January 18, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Need an "inbetween" intersections crosswalk, with light timed to the surrounding lights, plus crossing guard.

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