Categorized | Express Editorials

Get Moving (2/14/13)

Posted on 15 February 2013

Well….we’re back to square one it seems.

On Tuesday, a group of Noyac residents showed up at a Southampton Town Board meeting to let their elected officials know in no uncertain terms they wanted nothing to do with highway superintendent Alex Gregor’s plans to fix an infamous stretch of Noyac Road.

We’re talking, of course, about the nightmarish situation that exists (and has for years) in front of Cromer’s and the Whalebone where cars visiting the stores often must back out directly into traffic lanes frequented by vehicles passing much too quickly.

Though Gregor has come up with a pretty intricate plan to physically separate the lot from the roadway so cars must come and go from a dedicated entrance, it involves opening up Pine Neck to some traffic it doesn’t currently get

And residents don’t like that, and given the influx of traffic into a residential neighborhood, we can understand why.

However, there was so much opposition to this plan residents actually want to give back the funding ($450,000) that has already been allocated to do something about this situation.

Though we can agree with residents that aspects of this latest plan weren’t ideal – potentially opening Pine Neck up to traffic for example — Gregor was given the authority to figure this one out and we think he can do an admirable job when supported. But despite his marching orders, the town board caved this week, in a way, by passing a “memorializing resolution” — purely symbolic. Basically, what it does is urge Gregor to consider installing less drastic traffic calming remedies — like rumble strips — rather than what he had in mind.

Seriously? Rumble strips? That’s a solution?

Sorry, but we believe at the end of the day to effectively address that section of Noyac Road you need a plan that is both comprehensive and aggressive.

If anything, the scope of Gregor’s plan should be broader, not narrower, and include measures to create a truly pedestrian-friendly center for “downtown Noyac,” if you will. Marked bike lanes, raised crosswalks, center islands to slow traffic (and give pedestrians half a chance to make it across the road alive) — this is where we should be putting our energy. And this is where the future of road design is headed.

Rumble strips and a “slow down” sign? Please.

Let’s face the facts. There’s not just one single danger lurking on that road. Yes, it’s got a high potential for car accidents, but it’s an even more significant risk for pedestrians and bicyclists who could be seriously injured by vehicles.

Protecting the rights of cars at the expense of people on feet and bikes is not where we should be investing our energy. More and more residents are trying to make an effort to walk and cycle out here, particularly in summer. We should be helping, not hindering them.

And here’s another fact to add to an already stark reality. Drivers are using Noyac Road as a bypass from Southampton to East Hampton. Like it or not, that road is a highway. People are not going 30 mph – they’re going 50 mph. And without real traffic calming measures forcing drivers to slow down, they’ll only hit the breaks when they actually see a cop.

Which is why we would rather look at Noyac Road on an even bigger scale by coming up with a design from North Sea Road all the way to Long Beach — one that takes into account bicyclists and pedestrians as well as cars.

And you know what? No matter what the plan, there will always be someone in who doesn’t like it. And to those folks we’d have to say it’s either time to be part of the solution or part  of the problem.

 

 

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