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.