By chance, MTR passed through Main Street in Smithtown last week and was greeted with a welcome surprise — safety improvements being undertaken as part of NYSDOT’s Safe Seniors pilot program are underway.
A fence, both decorative and utilitarian, has been installed to prevent mid-block crossing, and new Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant pedestrian amenities and signage are being installed.
Safe Seniors, which was announced in response to a TSTC pedestrian safety report in 2008, remains a pilot program. But a 2009 review of NYSDOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program, from which the program is funded, indicated the program would be expanded beyond Smithtown and Hempstead Turnpike, to five other locations throughout the state. While the hope for the Safe Seniors program is to be more capital intensive in the future, the program is a good example of how DOTs can be flexible with their operational funding streams to support pedestrian safety and community building.