Implementing vital safety improvements to our main roads is a core issue that must be addressed. Several key thoroughfares in our Legislative District are extremely hazardous for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists, thus requiring urgent attention. The most glaring examples are Lido Boulevard in Lido Beach and Austin Boulevard in Island Park. Each year, there are many accidents on these poorly designed roads, too often resulting in resulting in fatalities or serious injuries.
Notably, for those students who attend Long Beach Public Middle School and High School and who are not provided busing to school, they must walk along a six lane highway with no protection from speeding automobile traffic. Through the years there have been many accidents involving students both walking and riding bikes headed to and from school. This is not a new problem. The New York Times reported in 2004, that the then President of the Lido Beach Civic Association was fighting for changes to Lido Boulevard since a fatal accident back in 1987. Despite these efforts, little has changed and the accidents have continued. As recently as this past June, a student was injured by a motorist on Lido Boulevard while riding their bike to Long Beach Middle School. This has been a vital issue for years, with no permanent fix.
In the same manner, Austin Boulevard continues to be a blighted thoroughfare with narrow lanes, speeding traffic, and poor traffic control. Beginning over a decade ago, there have been promises to revamp the area, yet each time the project was postponed before shovels hit the ground. Every time the project has been shelved, more fatal accidents have occurred along that road. In addition to addressing the safety issues, a reconstruction and beautification of this main road will provide the opportunity for new businesses to open in the area. This project must not be put off any longer.
There have been many proposals and some small, corrective measures put in place over the years. Concrete medians were installed along Lido Boulevard, and the speed limit has been reduced on both roads. Unfortunately, the speed of traffic has not decreased, and the fixes have done little or nothing to resolve the issues. It is finally time to make the difficult decisions and enact permanent solutions to these important roads. The number one priority must be the safety of all of us who travel around our community. Otherwise, we are just waiting for another accident to occur.