By Marissa Maier
With the hiring of an engineering firm to complete preliminary plans, Sag Harbor Village is one step closer to creating safer roadway travel to school for local children.
At a special work session held by the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees last week, the board signed off on hiring Dunn Engineering Associates (DEA) to develop initial plans for sidewalk and roadway improvements for an area stretching from Jermain Avenue and Division Street to the Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike.
According to Mayor Greg Ferraris, DEA has extensive experience with these kinds of projects.
“This evolved out of the Safe Routes to School Program, which was developed almost a year and a half ago,” said Ferraris. “We can’t move forward with the entire program, but we are going to take on the most important part now.”
Ferraris and village registrar Sandra Schroeder have already met with Ronald Hill of DEA to discuss the firm’s proposal. DEA’s proposed plans are comprised of three main components — a sidewalk from Jermain Avenue and Division Street to Mashashimuet Park; implementation of traffic control devices at the intersections of Jermain Avenue and Suffolk Street, and Madison and Division streets; and implementation of traffic strategies to reduce accidents and increase pedestrian safety at problematic intersections.
DEA is still exploring ways to make the problematic intersection at Jermain Avenue and Suffolk Street safer. One idea, DEA suggests, is to prohibit right turns for eastbound and westbound traffic at this intersection. If this plan were implemented, it would be necessary to extend the curbs of the sidewalks which would better delineate the sidewalks for pedestrians. DEA is also looking into increasing safety at the intersection of Jermain Avenue and Madison Street by eliminating the existing crosswalk and replacing it with a crosswalk to the north and south side of the intersection.
Although, DEA has yet to present these conceptual plans, which will give the village a better estimation of the cost of the project, Ferraris said, “Both the village and the engineer believe this can be done in an inexpensive manner … a lot of this can be accomplished in a cost effective way.”
For their services in creating these plans, DEA will be paid a fee of $3,500.
By developing the plans for the project now, Ferraris hopes to be “shovel ready” in the new year. Ferraris is optimistic that more federal and state funding grants will be available to fully complete this project. “We have been in contact with Tim Bishop. The federal economic stimulus plan is looking for infrastructure projects that are ready to go . . . and will create jobs right away,” said New York State Assemblyman, and Sag Harbor Village Attorney, Fred Thiele, Jr.
“We will be submitting ideas to local senators and congressmen to hopefully gain funding on a project like this,” said Ferraris.
Once the board has approved the plans, and funding for the project has been found, DEA will begin construction on a new sidewalk and will begin to replace existing sidewalks that are damaged. During this phase of the project, DEA will also install sign changes and create new pavement markings, two features of the plan which are inexpensive, but effective, and will reduce the overall cost of the plan.
“This is money well invested,” said board member Tiffany Scarlato.