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The Statesman

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The Statesman

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    Toll Drive opens to pedestrians and drivers

    (Photo Credit: Statesman File Photo)

    Toll Drive has been open to through traffic as of Nov. 2, from the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., to compensate for the closing of Circle Road from the North Parking Lot to the North Entrance while it is undergoing construction.

    The construction project is a safety measure for both drivers and pedestrians using the North Entrance and Circle Road intersection, which will be realigned to improve the sight lines for drivers.

    “Roadway improvements are part of the campus-wide initiative to repair and/or relocate campus roadways in the interest of traffic and pedestrian safety,” said James Montalto, media relations manager. Toll Drive has been and will remain open until these improvements are finished. Montalto said the project is weather dependent and assures that, “the campus community will be notified of updates as they become available.”

    Toll Drive operates during class hours. Hundreds of students cross the road everyday, heading for the facilities on the northern part of campus in the Union. Now being occupied by both drivers and pedestrians, the road is usually crowded.

    Susan Facini, a sophomore with an undeclared major, has classes in the Physics and Humanities buildings. Living in Mendelsohn, she has to cross Toll Drive frequently, but doesn’t find herself inconvenienced by the opening of the road.

    “It hasn’t been a problem,” Facini said. “There’s been a little traffic, but stopping and waiting a minute hasn’t caused any problems for me.”

    Other students who also cross Toll Drive shared similar statements.

    “I have class in the Union everyday,” said Theresa Mayerhofer, a junior double majoring in anthropology and sociology. “It hasn’t been a problem for me personally. Usually I don’t have to wait at all.”

    While the traffic on the road is consistent and often results in a line of cars, students do not seem to be the ones who have to wait.

    Theodore Hueckel, a junior majoring in chemistry, has noticed that drivers using Toll Drive appear to be more inconvenienced than the pedestrians.

    “This morning, I watched a dozen students cross the street while one car had to wait,” Hueckel said.

    He saw this occurrence more than once during the day on his way to classes.

    “Walking from Staller to the Union, I saw a line of at least ten cars, and not one of them got to go past,” Hueckel added.

    Those who skate, longboard or bike to class may find the road’s opening to be more of an inconvenience. Tom Fasano, a freshman studying applied math and sciences, longboards to class and crosses Toll Drive, “everyday, more than once,” he said. “The problem is, now I have to stop myself at the edge of the street.”

    Now being shared by drivers and pedestrians, the university has instated necessary safety precautions along the road. Even though the speed limit is 15 mph and there are two temporary stop signs positioned for oncoming traffic in either direction, a crossing guard has been stationed at the crosswalk in the middle of the street where pedestrian traffic is most congested. The University Police Department is contributing to these precautions in positioning officers along Toll Drive to direct traffic as well.

    According to Montalto, “Stony Brook C-CERT (Campus Community Emergency Response Team) members will also join officers at that location to assist in these efforts.”

    During the time increments when classes are in session, the pedestrian and vehicle traffic is minimal. When classes have just been let out, however, drivers on Toll Drive may find themselves waiting several minutes for large crowds of students to cross the street.

    Montalto added, the “North Entrance and Circle Road heading in both directions will be closed to all traffic to allow for the connection of the new roadway to the existing roadway.”

    These closings may increase congestion on Toll Drive, but for now, the opening of the road has not been a major problem.

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