Traffic Calming to Enhance Pedestrian Safety

Village of Great Neck Plaza, New York
Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC)


The Village of Great Neck was faced with excessive vehicular speeds, lack of courteous driving and the need for encouraging safer pedestrian activities.


The village of Great Neck plaza before the installation the roundabout. Note the long crossing distances.

The Village of Great Neck Plaza is a small and densely populated suburban community, a third of a square mile in area, located in western Nassau County, New York. In addition to the bustling downtown central business district, the Great Neck train station of the Long Island Rail Road, as a key transportation hub for the entire Great Neck peninsula, generates considerable pedestrian and vehicle traffic as a key transportation hub for the entire Great Neck peninsula. Over 30 percent of the population in Great Neck Plaza is over 65 years of age. For many of these senior citizens, walking is their primary means of transportation. Given that older pedestrians often move and react more slowly than younger pedestrians, it was necessary that the Village take additional measures to create a safe pedestrian environment for all residents. Village officials wanted to increase the safety of local roadways and promote safer driving, walking and bicycling.


The Village of Great Neck Plaza utilized an urban compact roundabout design. This type of roundabout is characterized by small size, a raised central island, splitter island and perpendicular approaches. It was the first highly urban roundabout to be built in NY State.

The Village was awarded a grant through the "Local Safe Streets and Traffic Calming" (LSSTC) program offered to Long Island municipalities in Nassau and Suffolk Counties by the New York State Department of Transportation. Several techniques were employed to accomplish the goals of calming traffic, enhancing the visibility of pedestrians, and improving crosswalk safety. In 2003-2004, a four-way stop-controlled intersection adjacent to the Great Neck train station was replaced by the Barstow Road Roundabout. The engineers used contrasting pavement color was to designate the crosswalk area, curb extensions to shorten the crossing distance, decorative fencing to direct pedestrians to the crossings, and splitter islands to create medians on the approaches to the roundabout, allowing pedestrians to cross one direction of traffic at a time.

At other locations, the Village installed illuminated pedestrian crossings overhead to warn motorists of the presence of pedestrians entering or presence in the crosswalks. The bright Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are activated by a pressure sensitive pad installed in the sidewalk handicap ramps. In addition, overhead speed awareness devices were installed on the four main roads leading to the central business district. The devices consist of a radar gun and digital readout of the actual speed of approaching vehicles.

One of the speed awareness devices installed for this project.

Federal funding was provided through a New York State Department of Transportation's Local Safe Streets and Traffic Calming (LSSTC) grant, which provided 90 percent reimbursement through federal funds, with 10 percent provided by the Village of Great Neck Plaza for the local match. Total costs were $365,000 for the roundabout, and $275,000 for the overhead speed and motorist awareness signs completed for the traffic calming improvements.


The Post-Construction Monitoring Report gives a summary of the project results. A review of collision data by the Village of Great Neck Plaza revealed a reduction in the number of pedestrian collisions in the vicinity of the Barstow Road Roundabout following its installation. Anecdotal data indicates that the roundabout has created a considerably safer pedestrian environment at the same time that it improved vehicle flow. The effect was not as great for the overhead pedestrian crossing signs and the speed warning devices, although they did have the effect of drawing attention to pedestrian presence on local roadways and creating a more welcoming environment for pedestrians. Village officials and residents consider the project a success.


Mayor Jean Celender
Village of Great Neck Plaza, Inc.
Village Hall, 2 Gussack Plaza, PO Box 440
Great Neck, NY 11022-0440
Phone: (516) 482-4500

Ray DiBiase, P.E., PTOE
L.K. McLean Associates, Inc.
437 South Country Road
Brookhaven, New York 11719
Phone: (631) 286-8668


Celender, Jean, Albert Dawson and Raymond DiBiase. "Roundabouts and Other Traffic Calming Initiatives for Downtown Safety." Final ITE Paper. 2009.

Dawson, Albert T. "Case Study: Analysis of Urban Compact Roundabouts as a Traffic Calming Initiative for Downtown Safety." Final Term Paper. 2009.

Village of Great Neck Plaza. "Great Neck Plaza Local Safe Streets and Traffic Calming Grant." Final Evaluation Report. 2008.


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