The area is notorious for accidents, Thiel said, and for years residents have pushed for more safety measures. According to Suffolk County police, between Nov. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2017, there were 113 accidents at the intersection, 18 of which resulted in injuries.
Carmine Galletta, president of the recently created West Babylon Chamber of Commerce, said vehicles travel too quickly through the intersection for it to be a downtown. “When a place has a downtown feel, there’s slower traffic and people tend to stop and see what’s there,” he said. “Right now, they’re flying by.”
“It seemed like the perfect spot to do something proactive,” she said.
Galletta said he’s concerned about obtaining funding for all of the changes and whether the government agencies will be able to work together to make the changes. “This is a lot that we’re asking for, but we have to start somewhere,” he said.
The planning group developed two alternatives to the current road configuration, both of which eliminate the “bow tie” and create two “T” intersections. The suggestions include narrowing lanes by 1 to 2 feet each and adding 6 feet of landscaping between the roads and sidewalks.
Thiel’s organization, which formed in 2011, has made the creation of a downtown a priority and is focused on that crossing. While it may be hard to envision the area as downtown material, Thiel said the roads there “take you from both ends of West Babylon.”