Tag Archive | "Cromers"

Residents Will Get Chance to Comment on Noyac Road Redesign Next Month

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Heller_Cromers Controversial Traffic Pattern 4-28-15_1500_LR

By Mara Certic

Residents who are unhappy with changes to the traffic pattern in front of Cromer’s Market on Noyac Road in Noyac will have the opportunity to air their grievances to the Southampton Town Board and Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor next month, Councilwoman Bridget Fleming announced on Tuesday.

Discussions leading up to public hearings on a few minor traffic measures installed last year as part of the road project led Southampton Town officials to agree to hold a meeting for residents to provide input on the project as a whole, now that they have lived with it all winter.

When Southampton’s director of transportation and public safety, Tom Neeley, attended a meeting of the Noyac Civic Council last month, most of the comments were not about the specific traffic measures the town was retroactively codifying, but had to do with broader aspects of the redesign.

“I know that what we’re probably going to adopt today is just sort of memorializing what’s already in place,” Councilwoman Fleming said on Tuesday, of the resolutions to approving new stop signs and no-left turn signs as well as prohibiting parking along certain stretches of the road.

“But because of some of the feedback that we got in the community,” the town has decided to organize a meeting between representatives of the Noyac Civic Council, the Noyac Citizens Advisory Committee and the highway department, she said.

Chuck Neuman, former president of the Noyac Civic Council, was the only person to speak about the traffic measures on Tuesday evening. He said that overall, he would give the redesign somewhere between a seven and an eight out of 10. “One of the goals was specifically to stop the cars from backing into Noyac Road and the traffic,” he said, “and that was achieved.”

The second overriding goal, he said, which was to slow the traffic that has been speeding up as more and more cars use the road as an alternative to Montauk Highway, has not been achieved.

Mr. Neuman recommended the board hold quarterly meetings with residents and business owners in the area in order to monitor the viability and the success of the redesign.

He also asked the board to look at the viability of installing speed cameras along Noyac Road to keep speeds down. The road currently has speed reminder signs, and Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst told Mr. Neuman the town still does not have the legal authority to install speed cameras, but that those discussions could continue at next month’s meeting.



Verdicts Go out on Cromer’s Road Work in Noyac

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By Stephen J. Kotz

The long anticipated or dreaded—depending on one’s point of view—road work at Cromer’s Country Market in Noyac was finished this week, with many taking a wait-and-see attitude about the project.

“I like it. I just don’t like when it was done. The timing was horrendous,” said Tony Lawless, the owner of Cromer’s. “I think we’ll need a year to see how it works.”

Linda Heine, the owner of the Whalebone general store, who said she had been opposed to the project “since day one,” is trying to be positive. “Will it work? That remains to be seen,” she said. “It is definitely easier to back up as long as someone is not speeding through the parking area.”

That happened, just the other day, she said, as she and a friend were standing in front her store watching traffic pass on Noyac Road. “Everyone was being very careful and moving slowly, and some guy came through the parking area at about 60 miles per hour to try to get around everyone else,” she said. “There is no cure for stupidity.”

“They wanted to calm traffic, slow it down,” said Mr. Lawless, but the new lanes are wide open and nice and level and it seems to have made it faster for cars moving west.”

A woman, who asked that her name not be used, said she was most concerned by the sharp turn on Noyac Road just west of the small shopping district. The other day, she said, a tractor trailer heading east hit the curb as it came around the bend, and the driver struggled to keep the rig on his side of the road.

The roadwork, which was finally begun this spring after years of argument over the scope of the plans, has shifted Noyac Road to the south and provided a two-way access road to the parking lot in front of Cromer’s and the Whalebone. businesses that is separated by a median from the main road, theoretically to make it safer for patrons of the stores. There are access points on either side of the business block.

An informal poll of customers at Cromer’s on Wednesday morning found few critics. “I like it. I think it is much nicer,” said Wojciech Sobolewski, a Riverhead contractor,  who said he stops at Cromer’s regularly for breakfast. His work partner, Carlos Leonardo said he also liked the result, but suggested that diagonal parking spaces be put in next to the store to make it easier for vehicles to pull in.

Joyce Catalfamo of Westchester, who said she has been coming to the East End for 25 years, said she loved the new design. “It used to be a nightmare getting in and out,” she said.

Another woman, who would not give her name, said she was worried that there wasn’t a stop sign on the westbound exit from the parking area.

Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor said on Wednesday that people have to give the project time. The highway department can tweak the design if needs be, he said.

“They are all critiquing a job that was done as of yesterday,” he said of those who have criticized the work. “It needs to be given a little time.”

He thanked the public for being patient during the project, which sometimes disrupted traffic and which was completed about a month behind schedule. Mr. Gregor blamed that on a delay in shifting utility poles, which set the whole project back.

He said the visual impact of the project will be softened when landscaping is added. “We don’t want it to look like Queens Boulevard,” he said.

Mr. Gregor added that the knew he couldn’t please everyone. “Some people don’t even want a road,” there he said. “But it’s the only other alternative, to Montauk Highway, to go east.”

Noyac Road Work Temporarily Disconnected

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Verizon workers were back on the job on Noyac Road this week.       Stephen J. Kotz

By Stephen J. Kotz

The presence of a Verizon crew on Noyac Road in front of Cromer’s Market and the Whalebone gift shop this week was a welcome, if overdue, sight to Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor.

The telephone company’s crews “pulled out of the job last week on Tuesday afternoon [April 22] and never had the courtesy to tell us,” said Mr. Gregor on Friday. Mr. Gregor said he had first been told Verizon would not be able to finish its work, splicing wires and moving poles, until the end of June, jeopardizing the completion this summer of a project intended to make that stretch of Noyac Road safer.

After applying pressure on the phone company, Mr. Gregor said he had since been told that crews would be able to finish their portion of the work by the end of this month, which would still cause a serious delay in the project.

“We need two months to get the job done” after the poles are moved, he said. If Verizon’s crews don’t get their part of the project done in a timely fashion, Mr. Gregor said, “we may just have to wait until fall” to repave the road. “We’re going to see what the timing is to see if we can do some of the work now and do some of the work after Labor Day,” he added.

Last month, the highway superintendent told the Noyac Civic Council that he wanted to get the project done by the end of June to avoid disrupting traffic after school lets out and mobs of summer visitors descend on the South Fork, but that that timeframe depended on the phone company completing its work by the first week of May.

“We know in July and August you don’t want to be on the main roads doing construction,” he said this week.

As it is, after Memorial Day, assuming paving crews are able to get started, work will be suspended on Fridays and Mondays to avoid creating more tie-ups as weekend traffic increases with the arrival of the summer season.

The highway superintendent said he had been told Verizon workers had been pulled from the project because their supervising engineer retired at the end of the month, but he said the real reason was because Verizon “wanted us to pay for their time and equipment,” something the town refused to do, as part of the road project.

On Tuesday, Linda Heine, the owner of the Whalebone and a long-time opponent of the project, said the work has not caused traffic problems—yet.  She said even though both the road the parking areas in front of the businesses will be widened, there will be problems because access to store parking will be limited to driveways at either end of the business block. When delivery trucks block one end of the parking area, a common occurrence, she said, traffic will be backed up.

“There’s not enough room to effect the kind of change they want,” she said. “I hope and I pray it’s going to be a nice thing, but I’m not counting on it.”

Mr. Gregor said it was time to get to work. ‘We have gone so far,” he said. “It’s time to execute the project.”


Town Considers Limiting Truck Size On Noyac Rd.

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By Claire Walla

When it comes down to it, 10,000 pounds isn’t really that much.

Sedans, SUVs and light-duty pick-up trucks would make the cut. But, according to Southampton Town Traffic Coordinator Tom Neely, heavy-duty pick-ups, larger vans, dump trucks and tractor-trailers would have to go.

That was cause for concern for many who came to Town Hall speak out on the issue of banning vehicles over 10,000 pounds at a Southampton Town Board meeting on Tuesday, April 24.

The proposed legislation, put forth by Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, would effectively prohibit vehicles over 10,000 pounds from driving along Noyac Road between County Road 39 and the Village of Sag Harbor. A few exemptions would include school buses and vehicles doing business on Noyac Road.

The legislation was put together in an effort to further address traffic-calming measures, which have been hotly debated for years with regard to Noyac Road, specifically the curve that runs along Cromer’s Market and the Whalebone Gift Store.

Discussions have mainly revolved around road repairs, like installing a concrete median or adding striping to get cars to slow down. But at a community meeting last month, which was attended by over 100 Noyac residents and every member of the Southampton Town Board, a couple of people brought up the ban.

“We were thinking about fuel-delivery trucks, ones that seem to use [Noyac Road] as a thoroughfare rather than a delivery route,” Throne-Holst said. She added that the major threat comes from the large trucks that tend to use Noyac Road to bypass traffic on Montauk Highway, and proceed to speed through the bayside hamlet.

“There’s risk and danger for oncoming traffic,” she said. Let alone the noise factor.

“The noise is significant,” said Bill Reilly, who lives on Oak Drive near Noyac Road.  He explained that because road conditions have improved over the years, it’s effectively increased the amount of traffic caused by large trucks.  While banning all trucks over 10,000 pounds might not be the solution—Reilly admitted that vehicles prohibited from driving down Noyac Road would just travel elsewhere—he said, “we’ve got a significant problem.”

However, the legislation, as it now stands, may have some unintended consequences, as members of the Sag Harbor community pointed out on Tuesday.

“If you took the trucks off Noyac Road, my opinion is that you would also increase the speed on Noyac Road,” said Mickey Valcich of garbage-collection company Mickey’s Carting.

East Hampton Highway Supervisor Steve Lynch added that prohibiting certain vehicles from using Noyac Road would add time onto their routes, which would be costly in the long-run.

John Tintle, who owns and operates the Sand Land Corporation, which has a facility on Mill Stone Road, agreed.

“The unintended consequences passed on to the tax payers would be enormous,” she said. Tintle explained that he already charges higher prices for deliveries that are further away because of fuel costs. By averting Noyac Road, and thus adding extra time onto truck routes, he said costs would inevitably rise.

And they would not only rise for those living in Southampton Town.

Jay Card, superintendent of highways for Shelter Island, and Jim Dougherty, Shelter Island Town Supervisor, both spoke out on the issue, saying it would make commuting on and off the island for commercial trucks very difficult.

“It would essentially cause us to go all the way to East Hampton to get back to Montauk Highway,” Card said.

“We basically think that in a soft economy like this, this is no time to be burdening our residents with additional costs,” Dougherty said.

Neely explained that the town used the 10,000-pound benchmark only because it had used that measurement in the past. He further noted that this would prohibit F350 trucks and Ram 3500 trucks from taking Noyac Road.

“If this were to go forward, looking at heavier weights would be something we’d want to put out there,” he said.

The other big issue is enforcement, a topic many speakers brought up.

Neely explained that in order enforce the law, police officers would be responsible for pulling vehicles over and physically checking the inside of the passenger door, where the maximum weight is listed. Officers would also be responsible for checking any documentation the driver might have to prove he or she is making a local delivery or service call.

“You would have to put a number of vehicles on that road to do enforcement,” said Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano. “And I guarantee that once you put this into effect, you’re going to get a lot of calls [from people saying], ‘there’s a truck on Noyac Road, do something about it.’”

Throne-Holst said she recognized there were many concerns, particularly for the business community. And while she said the town does not have accurate statistics on just how many of the vehicles that drive down Noyac Road are large trucks, she suggested the town put together a study in order to secure that information.

“In the end, we need some sort of understanding of what the actual traffic looks like there,” she said, adding that this is just one component of what she hopes will be a bigger plan. “What this town needs to do is a comprehensive truck route.”

The board closed the public hearing on Tuesday, but has opened up a 30-day comment period on the proposed legislation.

Town Considers Banning Trucks on Noyac Road

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By Claire Walla

It’s not a panacea, but it’s a start.

When Noyac residents gathered two weeks ago at the Bridgehampton Nutrition Center to discuss their distaste for the 2011 plan to calm traffic on Noyac Road, one of the many ideas tossed out from the crowd was a measure to limit commercial truck traffic on that strip of roadway between North Sea and Sag Harbor Village.

And at a Southampton Town board meeting last Tuesday, April 10, board members unanimously agreed to hold a public hearing on the matter. (This will take place Tuesday, April 24 at 6 p.m.)

The idea was pushed by a handful of people at that Noyac community meeting, but it’s an idea Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said goes back a good number of years.

“There’s just been such an explosion of traffic on that road,” she said.

The effort to limit trucks was brought about in earnest in 2004 when the town conducted a hamlet study of Noyac. In addition to the current traffic issues concentrated on the curl in the road near Cromer’s Market, the frequency of large, 18-wheeler trucks along the narrow, single-lane, shoulder-less roadway was of concern.

“When you live here, after a while you become blasé about it,” said Noyac resident Chuck Neuman, who is also the former president of the Noyac Civic Council. “But, when you think about it, it’s a quality of life issue. I live about 500 feet away from the road, and when [trucks] break, I hear it!”

According to the current draft of the law, the measure (if enacted) would ban all commercial trucks over 10,000 pounds that aren’t traveling Noyac Road for a pre-approved purpose. School busses and delivery trucks with designated stops on Noyac Road would be allowed, for example. But commercial trucks using Noyac Road as an alternative route to Highway 27 would be banned, and subject to fines.

Throne-Holst said the reason why this measure was largely overlooked in the past is because the original plan included the construction of weigh stations in order to regulate truck traffic. These would cost a pretty penny to implement, and the thought made many residents pessimistic of the town actually going through with putting such a structure in Noyac, or North Sea.

But Throne-Holst said the current plan is for this new law to be upheld by law enforcement.

In addition to the issue with weigh stations, Throne-Holst added that there was some skepticism surrounding the viability of a plan to enforce traffic restrictions without the town implementing a comprehensive, town-wide plan for traffic. While this is still waiting in the rafters of town hall, Throne-Holst said she hopes this might be the start of an effort to create a town-wide transportation plan. But, even so, she said Noyac Road is “well situated” for the proposed ban on commercial trucking.

According to town records, there are currently several roadways in the town of Southampton that limit commercial truck traffic—most of them small side roads—including Hildreth and Carroll streets streets in Sag Harbor. And, as Supervisor Throne-Holst pointed out, many smaller roads that lead in to Noyac Road currently impose trucking restrictions, which would make it a bit easier and even logical to regulate traffic on Noyac Road.

Noyac resident Linda Heine has been at the helm of efforts to control traffic out in front of Cromer’s Market. As the owner and operator of the Whalebone Gift Shop in that same shopping complex, Heine has held strong opinions of the various plans the town has put forth in an effort to take traffic-calming measures.

After expressing a deep dissatisfaction with the town’s most recently proposed effort to increase traffic safety near her store—plans which included cutting off access to Bay Avenue from Noyac Road and creating several concrete medians—Heine said she was pleased the town seemed poised to scale back.

“I really appreciate the fact that Supervisor Throne-Holst was willing to re-think it and look at alternatives,” she said this week.

Of the concept of banning commercial truck traffic, Heine said, “it’s a very interesting thought.” She admitted the volume of large trucks on Noyac Road is an issue, even pointing out that in the span of just a few minutes last Tuesday morning, she counted four large trucks zoom passed her house, which sits on Noyac Road.

However, she admitted the issue is not at the forefront of her thoughts at the moment. She said she’s not sure the measure will directly affect the need for calming traffic.

“No matter what kind of vehicles you have on Noyac Road, the whole key to traffic-calming is slowing traffic down,” she said.

Will Phase in Traffic Calming on Noyac Road

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In the area along Noyac Road, where Cromer’s Country Market, the Whalebone General Store and George Heine Reality lie, a facelift may soon take place. The area has long been a target of concern given the number of customers frequenting those businesses and the difficulties experienced when maneuvering in and out of the parking lot. Engineers hired by Southampton Town will revisit the idea of traffic calming in that stretch of Noyac Road based on a plan that has been on and off the table in recent years. Now, there is the possibility of a phased-in approach for the plan.

On Friday at a town board work session, Southampton Town Planning and Development Administrator Jefferson Murphree said that the town is trying to work closely with property owners to come to consensus on a plan that will slow traffic in that area, while also providing a happy medium for the business owners.

The plan presented on Friday in Southampton Town Hall shows improvements along Noyac Road that include the addition of an island in the middle of the road, just west of the shopping area. That island is designed to slow traffic around the bend just past the intersection of Elm Street and Noyac Road. In front of the businesses, an additional 16 feet of roadway is proposed to widen the road. The additional land would come from a vacant property across the street, which is owned by the Town of Southampton.

The engineers of P.E., L.K. McLean Associates proposed adding a raised median that would run almost the entire length of the businesses in the shopping center. The median would be similar to the median in front of village hall in North Haven and composed of grey brick.

The shop owners in the audience, however, worried that a raised median would negatively affect their businesses and do not like the idea. Neither does Chuck Neuman, president of the Noyac Civic Council.

“We have talked about this for four years. Let’s get a conclusion — build the whole damn thing without that,” said Neuman pointing at the median in front of the shops.

“We have talked about the improvements for a long time and talked to business owners to come up with a compromise,” said councilman Chris Nuzzi.

The meeting room quickly erupted in debate with audience members and town representatives all talking at once, arguing their case for improvements along that road — the Noyac audience not in favor of the implementation of a median in that area.

“When the delivery trucks are there, [in the parking area] there is no way for people to get in or out,” said Linda Heine, owner of the Whalebone.

“An alternative is a plush island,” engineer Ray Dibase responded. “The drawback is that drivers could drive over it. We think a raised island is more effective.”

“We had this discussion last year,” Nuzzi said in an attempt to move the argument forward. “We need to get beyond that.”

Neuman said that what business owners would like to see is a “safe shopping experience.” He added this was the first time he was hearing of the additional 16 feet of property to be used to widen the roadway.

Nuzzi, who requested the work session on this project, explained that the goal of the project is to slow traffic, constrain cars on either side of the road and to add a turn lane. The issue that remains, he said, is the barrier between the westbound traffic and the businesses.

Supervisor Linda Kabot responded that it is important to get the project underway because the funding, which had originally been earmarked for the roundabout at Long Beach Road and Noyac Road, would have to be re-directed.

“We are getting ahead of ourselves,” Nuzzi explained, “We need to come to consensus if we are okay with proceeding with this project without that barrier.”

Town board members agreed that the plan could go forth with the improvements — minus the barrier.

Murphree said that the engineers will go back and work on what may be “shovel ready” for a phased-in approach to the project.

 Nuzzi said on Monday that he is working on securing the funding for the project. He added that the town will measure results of traffic calming after the first phase of the project is completed, and if that shows the median is still necessary to improve the situation, the town could implement it at a later date.

Councilperson Nancy Graboski added that she wouldn’t want to see a “shovel in the ground” for this project between May 1 and September 15, so as not to interrupt traffic flow on Noyac Road during the busy summer months.

Nuzzi responded that he would like to see the project completed before the summer, if possible. 

 Illustration above shows proposal to create median in front of Cromer’s Market/Whalebone General Store.