The Greater Uniondale Area Action Coalition (GUAAC) is leading an initiative to lower the Hempstead Turnpike speed limit from the current 50 miles per hour due to the high number of pedestrian accidents in recent years. GUAAC and the Center for Civic Engagement call on the Hofstra community to help collect 1,000 signatures in a petition to state senator Kemp Hannon asking for a lower speed limit.
According to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Hempstead Turnpike is on the list of top 5 most dangerous roads in New York State, and it ranks as the second most dangerous road on Long Island. The stretch of Hempstead Turnpike around Hofstra is particularly treacherous for pedestrians. The area is home to a high volume of residents, local schools, businesses, and major points of interest from Nassau University Medical Center, to Nassau Coliseum, to Hempstead’s town center. Yet, there are an average of 48 accidents per year in this area involving Hofstra students alone (Source: Newsday).
If most schools have reduced speed limit zones in high-pedestrian areas, shouldn’t we provide the same protection to local residents and students? The key to the current problem is in the large difference that even 10 mph of speed can make in a driver’s ability to brake for pedestrians. According to the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, accidents with cars driving at 30 mph are fatal to pedestrians 40% of the time, while cars driving at 40 mph kill pedestrians nearly 100% of the time. Hempstead Turnpike’s current speed limit of 50 mph not only exceeds safe levels but approaches highway speeds in pedestrian-heavy areas.
GUAAC and the CCE have taken the lead on this petition to make the neighborhood as safe and inviting as possible for everyone. Community development cannot take hold if we continue to put students and residents at risk for their lives. If you would like to see a safer Hofstra and surrounding community, please sign the petition and pass along to others!