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Partly Cloudy,85°
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Austin Boulevard changes set for next summer
Fewer driving lanes, wider turn lanes
Christina Daly/Herald
Business owner Mark Milch said he likes the plan, but isn’t sure about cutting down on the number of southbound lanes.

After more than a decade of complaints, studies, fits and starts, work to remediate the traffic problems on busy Austin Boulevard in Island Park will begin next summer.

After a two-year study, engineers concluded that Austin Boulevard, which stretches north from the Long Beach Bridge to where it rejoins Long Beach Road, near Peter’s Clam Bar, is dangerous, citing numerous sideswipe accidents in which motorists lost doors or were struck by passing cars as they got out of their vehicles.

“The study showed that we had to ‘calm’ the speeding traffic and make the road safer for both motorists and pedestrians,” said Aryeh Lemberger, a county traffic engineer. “We looked at the parking problems, the problems faced by pedestrians crossing the boulevard, the turn lanes and the timing of traffic signals. Residents complained about all of those issues, and we have come up with solutions and recommendations that should solve some of those problems.”

Lemberger said that the changes, first proposed two years ago, and now finalized by the Nassau County Department of Transportation, will include doing away with one of three southbound lanes, increasing the width of parking and turn lanes and installing countdown clocks at key intersections.

In addition, he said, the Town of Hempstead is being asked to review the speed limits on the boulevard as well as current parking regulations, explaining that the county has no control over either.

The northbound side of the road will keep three lanes, to accommodate the heavy traffic leaving Long Beach on summer evenings and pre-storm evacuations. On the southbound side, parking lanes will be widened from seven to 10 feet, left-turn lanes expanded from nine to 10 feet, and the two remaining travel lanes widened from 10 to 11 feet.

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