New traffic patterns look to boost business in Baldwin
New traffic patterns could be coming to main streets all over Long Island.
As many as 40 downtown areas in Nassau and Suffolk are currently targeted for revitalization, according to the group Vision Long Island
That includes Grand Avenue in Baldwin – between Sunrise Highway and Merrick Road, where four lanes will be shrunk down to two with a turning lane in the middle.
Longtime residents of the town say it used to be a thriving area, but now it's full of empty storefronts.
Even though there will be fewer lanes, advocates say the project will keep traffic flowing, while making the street safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. They say that will bring more foot traffic into businesses.
"You've got a lot of families, you've got a lot of seniors, you've got a lot of people walking to the train station," says Eric Alexander of Vision Long Island. "These are all user groups that benefit from a safe, walkabout roadway, as well as downtown stores."
Some residents in the area, however, tell News 12 they're worried the plan will make the road more congested than it already is.
"You can see with the two lanes, the traffic slowed up," says Dennis Hernandez, who works in Baldwin. "I can imagine taking one of those lanes just to put in a turn lane. I don't think it's going to be effective."
Others say they're willing to give the plan a chance because nothing else has worked.
The Grand Avenue project is in its final design stage. Work is expected to start next year, with an estimated cost of $7.7 million. Half of that money is expected to come from a federal grant.