Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Councilman Steve Labriola today announced plans to enhance child safety through a ‘Safe Routes to School’ initiative on roadways near Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School in Oyster Bay. Through a recently-obtained grant, the Town will improve safety by installing new sidewalks and streetlights on the two sides of the school property that don’t have walkways. Currently, the north and west perimeters of the school on Larrabee Avenue and Shore Ave do not cater to pedestrians and fail to accommodate individuals with physical mobility limitations. The Town will also lower the speed limit of one street that leads up to the school and convert another roadway adjacent to the school property to a one-way avenue during designated school hours allowing for greater safety during school dismissal.
Supervisor Saladino stated, “This Safe Routes to School initiative makes the school more accessible for the children, including those with disabilities, and much safer for families who choose to walk rather than drive to school. I thank the Superintendent of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District as well as officials at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School for working with the Town Board to make these positive changes for the community. From new sidewalks to streetlights, these safety enhancements also help beautify our downtown hamlet.”
Following community input from the local civic association, the Town of Oyster Bay recently conducted a hearing to consider lowering the speed limit on Lexington Avenue, which intersects with West Main Street at the Elementary School. The allowable speed of 35mph will be lowered to 30 to help further ensure the safety of all who travel the area, particularly during school hours. The Town also agreed to make Larrabee Avenue a one-way street during school dismissal from the hours of 2pm-4pm on school days. Traffic will only flow southbound during this timeframe.
The Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School serves nearly 400 students ranging from pre-kindergarten to second grade. The school is home to several varsity and junior varsity sports teams and offers many after curricular activities and programs. With use of $283,000 in Federal Community Development Block Grant funding, the Town will provide approximately 1,030 linear feet of concrete sidewalks and street lighting. The new sidewalk will provide for improved access to individuals with disabilities and create a safer route to school for the students. Additionally, the new street lighting will enhance visibility in the evening hours in turn providing for a safer environment.
Councilman Labriola stated, “The safety of our children is the highest priority for any community. The Town Board is proud to work with the school district to make these improvements around the Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School so that children are safe on their way to and from school. By creating safe routes for children, we take a major step forward in protecting the well-being of our children while accommodating all those in the community who utilize this area.”
Oyster Bay Civic Association President Richard LaMarca added, “The civic association was proud to bring together school administrators, parents and government officials to develop these safety improvements to help our students and enhance our community for all pedestrians.”