The residents of Noyac know what they want …they also know what they don’t want.
And what they really don’t want is 7A, the extensive traffic calming plan which was put out to bid last week by Alex Gregor, Southampton Town’s highway superintendent.
Let’s face facts. Everyone agrees Noyac Road as it now functions in front of Cromer’s Market and the Whalebone General Store is something of a disaster. With no separation from the roadway, customers are forced to pull in and back out directly onto Noyac Road. There’s also a curve in the road there and approaching drivers often don’t know what’s coming their way by way of congestion when they hit that stretch.
Plan 7A would certainly remedy the situation. The design includes a back stop style curb that would force drivers to use dedicated entry points into the shopping plaza. It would also shift the roadway slightly south, allowing for medians to be created in Noyac Road that would provide turning lanes into the shopping center.
But it would also channel traffic down a newly one-way Bay Avenue into a very narrow residential neighborhood.
That’s a major problem for many residents, who not only disagree with that aspect of the plan, but even the need to start with such heavy-handed remedy for the area.
The residents have spoken and they don’t want 7A. Neither does the Southampton Town Board, which refused to send the plan out to bid last month. Both prefer a phased in approach beginning with less extreme measures — such as rumble strips, improved pavement striping or perhaps blinking lights.
These less aggressive measures could conceivably be instituted before Memorial Day and the start of the silly season. And if they prove to be successful, they would also save the taxpayers of Southampton in the neighborhood of half a million dollars currently earmarked for 7A.
And if they aren’t successful — then we go to plan B — which is 7A, or at the very least aspects of it like the introduction of a dedicated curb cut at the Cromer’s parking lot.
But the push to go out to bid anyway for a project residents don’t support and the town board has no will to enact shows a certain stubbornness on the part of Gregor and an unwillingness to compromise on behalf of his constituents. We agree that safety and excessive speed on Noyac Road are major issues. But soliciting bids for a project that most certainly won’t be accepted by the town board accomplishes nothing and shows an inability to play nice with others.
On the bright side, perhaps a smaller version of the project will come through as a result of the bidding process that could address some of the issues without going whole hog. That would be a good thing. Otherwise, this whole exercise will prove to have been nothing more than a huge waste of everyone’s time.