By GREGORY ZELLER //
Nassau County has started the ball rolling on an ambitious effort to bring safer, more convenient thoroughfares to one of Long Island’s most densely populated downtowns.
County officials have officially committed to the Downtown Hicksville Complete Streets Project, which aims to improve accessibility and safety for motorists, pedestrians, mass-transit passengers, cyclists and others traversing the downtown area of the busy Town of Oyster Bay hamlet.
Starting with an outreach effort designed to engage residents, local business owners and other regional stakeholders, the project will include a traffic-impact study and submitted design concepts for street improvements around the Long Island Rail Road’s Hicksville Station and the surrounding area.
The idea is to create a “transportation policy and design approach” that promotes safety, comfort and accessibility “for users of all ages and abilities,” according to Nassau County.
In 2017, Hicksville was the Long Island regional winner of Albany’s annual Downtown Revitalization Initiative, earning a $10 million prize to put toward downtown-planning strategies. Last summer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the hamlet was leveraging that prize money through a series of “transformational projects” focused on “strategic, transit-oriented development investments.”
And now comes the Complete Streets Project, which Nassau County Executive Laura Curran described as an “important traffic-safety project.”
“I am thrilled to see Nassau County work with local stakeholders in the Hicksville community,” Curran said this week. “As New York State and the Town of Oyster Bay advance their work on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and the proposed downtown rezoning, this Complete Streets Project could not come at a better time.”
The project website will serve as an information hub for residents, business owners, regional commuters and others who visit Downtown Hicksville. The site includes a mapping tool that allows users to provide input on specific locations.
It also offers by-subscription e-mailed updates of project deadlines and developments and detailed case studies of other Complete Streets projects that have been planned and implemented throughout Long Island.
While there is no single design for a “complete street,” the National Complete Streets Coalition – a function of social justice, environmental sustainability advocacy organization Smart Growth America – says communities that adopt Complete Street policies “direct their transportation planners and engineers to routinely design and operate the entire right-of-way to enable safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability or mode of transportation.”
Nassau County has scheduled the project’s first public information meeting for June 19 at the Hicksville Community Center. County and town officials will share their goals and data collected to date, and will answers questions from those in attendance.
A technical advisory committee – including representatives of the Nassau County Legislature, the county Department of Public Works, the Town of Oyster Bay, the New York State Department of Transportation, the LIRR and other stakeholders – is being created to advise project managers, according to Nassau County.
The Downtown Hicksville Complete Streets Project planning phase is slated to be completed by the fall, including a final report of conceptual designs and recommendations. Between now and then, project managers need to hear from as many residents, business owners and other regional interests as possible, according to Curran.
“Public input is a critical component of any planning project,” the county executive added. “I am looking forward to an excellent turnout at our public meeting so that we can hear directly from the community with their concerns and suggestions regarding Downtown Hicksville’s traffic safety.”