After Accident, Town Considers Upgrades For "Nightmare" Intersection

Jason Graziadei •

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Nearly six months have passed since two sixth grade boys were seriously injured after being a struck by a vehicle while walking on the Surfside Road bike path at the intersection with Miacomet Avenue.

The incident prompted many island residents to raise concerns about the intersection - which is wide, consistently busy, and includes driveways to two adjacent business properties - and now the town is taking a harder look at potential improvements.

The town's Traffic Safety Work Group last week began to review a series of options to make the intersection safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, that included weighted jersey barriers, planting barriers, as well as rubber speed humps and concrete wheel stops. 

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"It's a mess, but during school start/stop times, it's a real nightmare," said island resident and parent Meg Browers in an e-mail to the town about the intersection. "I'm no expert on urban traffic planning, but for our school kids I think something needs to be done in this location."

The town's own expert agreed. Patrick Reed, the town's transportation program manager, concurred that intersection needed some attention.

"It's a dicey intersection because of the way the driveways are situated," Reed said. "It makes it problematic."

While using physical, hardened barriers seemed to be the preferred method to delineate the space for vehicles and narrow the intersection for vehicles, the Traffic Safety Work Group acknowledged that with the sewer force main project coming down Surfside Road, the time may not be right.

But work group member Art Gasbarro and Browers both argued that smaller solutions - such as ripping up the pavement and planting grass or shrubs, could have the same effect. Browers also suggested having Reis Trucking enclose its parking area nearest to Surfside Road, preventing motorists attempting to go to Yummy's from parking there.

The work group ultimately tasked Reed with bringing back a few new options for consideration that did not include hardened barriers - for now. 

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