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Southampton Town Eyes “Complete Streets”

Posted on 12 March 2011

By Bryan Boyhan

Southampton Town wants to take a more wholistic approach to their streets.

“We want to look at roads as something more than carrying cars and trucks,” Tom Neely, the town’s director of public transportation, told members of the Noyac Civic Council on Tuesday night. “We want to look at our roads as carrying pedestrians and carrying bicyclists as well.”

Neely, who will introduce the town’s Complete Streets program at a town board work session tomorrow (Friday) morning, said the plan is to examine all possible uses for each of the town’s 450 miles of roadway as repair and maintenance work comes up. If a road needs resurfacing, for example, the town wants to see if it is reasonable to make adjustments to accommodate bicyclists or pedestrians, or make changes that make the road safer.

Studies have shown, said Neely, that adding a four-foot shoulder in some casdes reduces accidents, as does adding bike lanes.

The program “encourages the htown to look at it not as an afterthought,” said Neely, “but to look at it right up front.”

Neely said the town has considered developing a bike lane on Scuttle Hole Road, and added there has been some discussion about creating one on Noyac Road as well.

He conceded that adding one to Noyac Road would be less likely, noting that the rolling landscape and maintained properties close to the road would make it difficult.

“You’d probably be going into people’s bushes and front yards,” he said.

Neely also addressed questions about plans to improve Noyac Road in front of Cromer’s Market, a sore point in the community for some time.

“It’s been nine years,” said former NCC President Chuck Neuman.

Residents have worried about safety concerns at the intersection, and about a dozen different plans have been floated, but a consensus has not been reached on any of them.

“You’re saying we can’t move forward without speaking with one voice,” asked Janet Grossman. “Can you get all the plans together that we can look at?”

Neely said he would speak to the highway superintendent, but that town officials and consultants have reviewed all the plans in the past.

“There hasn’t been a decision that’s proven workable,” said Neely.

The Complete Streets presentation will be made at Southampton Town Hall on Friday at 1:30 p.m.

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2 Responses to “Southampton Town Eyes “Complete Streets””

  1. Jonas Hagen says:

    Dear Bryan,

    I grew up in Sag Harbor (the Southampton side) and regularly visit my family there, and know first-hand how badly “complete streets” are needed in the area.

    Parents no longer let children play in the street out of the (very reasonable) fear that they will become victims of reckless drivers. Like the rest of the US, children no longer walk or bike to school in the area, and obesity levels are soaring because exercise is no longer a part of children’s daily routine. And public green spaces in the villages, like Pierson hill and Bay Street, get paved to provide vehicle parking.

    Although my 6-year old niece could walk alone to the Sag Harbor Elementary School, as I did, it is unthinkable for her to do so, because of the aggressive traffic in the Village.

    “Complete streets” propose to protect the road’s most vulnerable users. Southampton and Sag Harbor residents of all ages stand to gain safer streets, allowing them to walk, bike and take public transport without risking their lives. Residents would get the associated health benefits as well.

    These days I live far away, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I work on the implementation of “complete streets” and other features of sustainable transportation systems. However, I applaud the efforts of Tom Neely, and for the sake of my nieces and all the residents of Southampton and Sag Harbor, hope “complete streets” are implemented there.

    Best regards,

    Jonas Hagen

  2. Ruledbyfools says:

    This has been a big concern for as long as I have lived here. What’s more people come out from the city and treat these dangerous roads like they are in a park. They walk side by side with strollers, ride bikes two or more abreast and jog down the middle with music blasting through earphones to the point they can’t hear a warning. All of this on twisting hilly roads that lack shoulders or walkways to escape trouble. Most of our roads aren’t nearly wide enough for passing cars. It is a recipe for disaster and I often wonder how many come out to enjoy some exercise and leave in body bags.

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