The Town Department of Transportation and Traffic Safety has proposed adding a Laurel Avenue left turn lane into Northport High School and other changes to improve safety after a student was seriously injured on his way to cross country practice in September.
The town plan would add an exclusive westbound left turn lane to service left turn movements into the high school’s westernmost driveway on Laurel Hill Road to help reduce driver frustration for westbound motorists wishing to travel through the area. This improvement would involve reducing the width of the shoulder areas along both sides of Laurel Hill Road thereby eliminating both the ability of drivers to use the shoulder to bypass the travel lane and the ability to drop students off in the westbound shoulder.
A traffic study conducted in September found problems with how drivers were operating on the road, including speeding, dropping off students in the westbound Laurel Hill Road shoulder area and travel lane; and using the westbound Laurel Hill Road shoulder area to bypass the queue of vehicles waiting to enter the high school’s westernmost driveway on Laurel Hill Road. Buses and other vehicles were observed making precarious left turns out of the school’s easternmost driveway on Laurel Hill Road.
On-street parking in the eastbound Laurel Hill Road shoulder area, approximately 25 spaces, would be lost.
The proposal was presented Tuesday to representatives from the Northport-East Northport School District and the Suffolk County Police Department Second Precinct.
The Town also recommended that the school district consider changes on school property, including restricting left turns out of the school’s easternmost driveway on Laurel Hill Road; evaluating on-site traffic circulation, parking and student drop off conditions to determine if there are ways to improve them; partnering with the Town of Huntington regarding the installation of a permanent Driver Feedback Device within the school speed zone on Laurel Hill Road.
“The next steps are to meet with the School District architect, Suffolk County and residents to discuss the Town’s traffic study and plans for improvements along Laurel Hill Road and on the school property,” said Scott Spittal, the Town’s Director of Transportation and Traffic Safety.