By Kathryn G. Menu
A committee formed to look at traffic and transportation in the Village of Sag Harbor has been meeting monthly since October, and according to committee member Susan Mead is zeroing in on 23 intersections as it attempts to create a blueprint of traffic calming solutions to make the village a safer place to drive, bike and walk.
On Tuesday night, Mead updated the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees on the committee’s progress. In addition to community members, the committee also includes village board member Robby Stein, and is attended by Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano and Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley. The group was formed in October following a presentation by the non-profit Save Sag Harbor and urban planner Jonas Hagen, who detailed the results of a traffic-calming workshop held with community members last winter.
The committee committed itself to exploring initiatives like reviving the possibility of applying for Safe Routes to School funding for the Sag Harbor School District, and also looking at Complete Streets, a guideline for policy making when it comes to roadway projects that takes into account drivers, pedestrian, cyclists as well as the needs of children and seniors. Exploring specific traffic calming measures was another initiative.
Mead said Serve Sag Harbor is funding the mapping for 23 intersections throughout the village, complete with traffic calming solutions. The committee, which has privately raised the funding for these schematics, will gift the plans to the village when they are complete, she added.
“We expect the first part of this — four intersections — to be completed by mid February,” said Mead.
The first four intersections the committee is focusing on are Union and Main streets, Main and Glover streets, Jermain and Main Street at Mashashimuet Park, and Jermain Street and Oakland Avenue.
“We are told if the engineering is done and there is interest locally, the chances of getting a grant goes way up,” said Mead of potential funding for the traffic calming improvements detailed in these plans.
Trustee Ed Deyermond wondered just how detailed the plans would be. Would they include, for example, the trimming back of hedges that block a view of an adjacent roadway?
Mead said the traffic calming would primarily be on pavement, but that she would ensure hedges and other obstacles are detailed on each intersection plan.
During public comment, Wharf Shop owner Nada Barry questioned the board on the enforcement of the village’s requirement that residents shovel the sidewalks in front of their homes or places of business during the last snowstorm, which dropped about 10 inches of snow on downtown Sag Harbor.
“Is the board moving forward with anything following the storm,” asked Barry. “Where are we?”
Mayor Brian Gilbride said he did not believe anyone was ticketed.
“There are people who shovel their sidewalks, and there are people who do not,” he said.
“They should be penalized for it if they do not and so should homeowners,” said Barry, adding after a heavy snowfall, un-shoveled walkways can freeze and become dangerous, forcing people to walk in the street.
“It’s dangerous,” said Barry.
Stein asked if code enforcement could be tasked with enforcing the sidewalk issue. Gilbride said a part time code enforcement officer could be hired to issue warnings and then tickets if that is the will of the village board.
Shoveling snow was not on resident and former mayor Pierce Hance’s mind. Instead Hance expressed concern about the lack of a comprehensive capital projects plan, with financial figures, for the myriad of projects including repairs for Long Wharf, drainage and upgrades to the Municipal Building.
In terms of Long Wharf, Hance wondered if trustees would look to repair all its bulkheads, including Marine Park, as they are all experiencing the same level of damage.
“Fixing Long Wharf if you don’t fix Marine Park is sort of a waste of time,” he said.
Gilbride said he believed all the village docks would be included in a formal assessment of repair needs.
Hance said he thinks the village should put drainage on its list of capital projects. He also wondered if the remediation of Havens Beach was truly complete or if that should be included in an assessment of capital projects. Any renovation to the Municipal Building, to accommodate an elevator allowing access to the third floor, should also be assessed, said Hance.
“I think you should be developing a capital projects program, prioritize it and see what kind of money we have to get things done,” he said.