Tag Archive | "Noyac Road"

Meeting to Discuss Traffic Calming By Cromer’s

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Noyac Road

By Claire Walla


Business owners have protested, residents have called for action and grass-roots organizations have entered the fray.

The small curve of Noyac Road that runs by Cromer’s Market has divided both the community and the Southampton Town board for more than six years, as plans to implement traffic-calming measures have continually been re-shaped and redefined in an attempt to satisfy all needs.

And while not all parties can seem to come up with a viable plan to suit everyone’s desires, those involved can at least agree on one thing: something needs to be done.

This overarching goal is the impetus behind a meeting next Wednesday, March 28, where all parties will get one last chance to come to the same table to be heard.

Hosted jointly by Southampton Town and the Noyac Civic Council, the meeting will bring together town personnel — like Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor — as well as residents and local groups with a vested interest in the reconstruction project.

To prepare for the discussion, Noyac Civic Council President Elena Loreto said she sent a survey to 359 Noyackers in an effort to solicit their thoughts on the matter. The survey included five questions related to the most recent construction plan, which was proposed by Gregor in 2011. In a nutshell, that plan includes installing two concrete medians in Noyac Road, as well as creating a concrete barrier between the road and the parking area in front of Cromer’s Market and the Whalebone gift shop.

The survey questions are as follows:

Do you feel the 2011 plan accomplishes its mission?

Do you feel this plan will change the rural character on Noyac?

Do you feel this plan will adversely affect the businesses in terms of traffic flow, accessibility for patrons and accessibility for delivery trucks?

Do you feel this plan will adversely affect home owners bordering the construction area [in Pine Neck]?

Are you in favor of this plan?

The questions are all yes/no, however Loreto said there is a section at the end of the survey where people were invited to offer any additional comments on the plan. As of last week, she said she had received 44 completed surveys back, though she expects to receive more before the meeting.

“It looks like everyone wants something done, but most people do not think this plan will succeed for various reasons,” Loreto said of the survey results thus far, which will be kept anonymous. “People seem to favor trying something in increments.”

Rather than constructing concrete medians, she said some residents are more in favor of using striping to calm traffic. And, she added, many residents are concerned with the proposed “loading zone” created in the 2011 plan. According to the design, the concrete barrier separating the commercial parking area from Noyac Road would essentially extend over Bay Avenue where it meets up with Elm Street, thereby cutting-off access to Bay Avenue from Noyac Road.

“People are fearful that that might funnel traffic into Pine Neck,” Loreto continued. “They don’t want anything that’s too severe.”

At a town board meeting last month, Alex Gregor pushed the need for more permanent traffic-calming measures, saying concrete barriers are necessary for safety. He noted how dangerous that stretch of Noyac Road is, particularly because cars back out of parking spaces into on-coming traffic, and the union of Bay and Elm streets at that Noyac curve essentially creates 20 potential “conflict points.”

Also voicing some concern with the construction project is the local organization SpokesPeople, which sees this as an opportunity to increase bike safety in the area.

According to group member Mike Bottini, SpokesPeople’s main concern is making sure the construction plan allows for bike lanes on either side of the highway. With the current plan only allowing for 11-foot-wide traffic lanes on either side of the road — in addition to a left-hand turn lane — Bottini said SpokesPeople will push to get at least eight more feet added to the road for bike safety, creating two four-foot bike lanes going in each direction.

Of course, he added, implementing bike lanes at this section of Noyac Road begs the question: What’s it going to connect to?

That’s yet to be determined.

“But, you’ve gotta start somewhere,” he said.

With the town recently having adopted a Complete Streets policy, Bottini said this will be the start of more comprehensive bike and pedestrian accessibility in Southampton Town.

“Hopefully, one day we can make the connection from Cromer’s to Long Beach.”

The Noyac Civic Council meeting about Noyac Road will take place Wednesday, March 28 at 7 p.m. at the Bridgehampton Nutrition Center on the Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike.

One More Meeting Before Town “Bites the Bullet” on Noyac Road Expansion

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Noyac Road Expansion adjusted

By Claire Walla


For Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, the town has been waffling long enough. Something needs to be done about Noyac Road.

“I think there’s just a point at which we have to take action that is effective before we see more tragedy,” she stated at a town board work session last Friday, February 10. “What are we going to do, wait for someone to get killed before we do something?”

The stretch of pavement in question curls at a small shopping complex between Bay Avenue and Cedar Lane, which includes Cromer’s Market to the east and the Whalebone General Store to the west. Addressing several accidents that have occurred in the area over the years — precisely 47 from 2008 to 2010, according to Southampton Town’s highway superintendent Alex Gregor — the town has sought to make traffic-calming improvements since at least 2003, when a hamlet study identified that intersection as a major traffic risk.

However, town government played hot potato with the project for years, passing it from Land Management to the Planning Board and then the Town Board, before the board finally passed a resolution at the tail end of 2009 to allocate funds to the Highway Department designated specifically for the road construction project.

“There are rumors in the community that the funding was taken away [from this project],” Fleming said at the meeting.

She spoke in reference to an “alert” that had been circulated the previous week by an organization called Spokespeople. The document conveyed the notion that Councilman Chris Nuzzi intended to defund the Noyac Road project.

However, Fleming continued, those rumors are “not true.”

She explained that there was a budget modification at the end of 2010, which reallocated funds that had been reserved for the Noyac Road expansion project to other road repair projects within the Highway Department. But, this was only because — by the end of 2011 — construction had still not begun in Noyac. Fleming reiterated that the money is in this year’s budget.

“It has been in place since 2009,” she added. “We’ve authorized it, and we’re behind that.”

According to Gregor, the reason construction has been halted has to do with indecision in the community as to the best way to execute traffic-calming measures.

The proposed plan — which includes laying in concrete curbing to physically separate the row of shops from Noyac Road — has been through at least 13 drafts, Gregor explained. The current model includes expanding the road slightly to the south and adding three concrete medians in the middle of Noyac Road, plus a left-hand turn lane into the shopping center from the eastbound traffic lane. It also proposes cutting off access from Bay Avenue to Noyac Road.

Currently, Bay Avenue (which runs alongside Whalebone) meets up with Elm Street to the west at a single point, essentially funneling traffic from two roads onto Noyac Road in one spot. This is a major area of concern for Ray DiBiase, an engineer with McLean and Associates, who conducted a traffic study of this section of Noyac Road for the town.

While a normal “T” intersection will have roughly nine total “conflict points,” or areas where traffic accidents are likely to occur; this intersection has 20.

To mitigate this situation, the current plan cuts off access to Bay Lane from Noyac Road. Instead, the parking area extends into the road with a crescent-shaped area DiBiase explained could be used for trucks to park while loading and unloading goods.

However, Whalebone owner Linda Heine opposes the current configuration laid out by the town. And she has a more significant stake than many: her family now owns the triangle of land between Bay and Elm that the town has proposed paving over.

“I agree that something needs to be done, but this is way too much,” Heine said.

She particularly cited issues with the proposed “loading zone,” saying trucks in the area would block visibility to her store; but she also said putting concrete barriers between the parking area and the road is “overkill.”

“I don’t know why the parking has become such a major concern,” she continued. “I understand the safety issue, but anyone who couldn’t back out safely shouldn’t be on the road.”

In the end, Heine said she recognizes the conundrum the town is in, but feels there’s a better way for town officials to address the traffic problems.

In line with Heine’s concerns, the imposition of concrete barriers had some town council members questioning the need for such permanent adjustments — Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera wondered whether striping or rumble strips might be installed instead, and Councilman Jim Malone asked about traffic cameras as a way to prevent speeding in the area.

Both Gregor and DiBiase agree that more permanent fixtures were necessary to not only calm traffic, but prevent cars from swerving on the road.

“They call it a friction theory,” Gregor explained. “If your feeling is that the road is getting smaller, it forces you to drive slower.”

He cited the concrete median outside North Haven Village Hall as a successful example of this concept.

“Our responsibility is to everyone,” Gregor continued. “But, mostly the people walking and cycling the roads.”

Fleming added, “One of the things I’ve heard more and more is that if you make the roads safer for bicyclists, you make them safer for cars, as well.”

Noyac Civic Council President Elena Loreto agreed that something needed to be done. “Let’s face it, it’s dangerous,” she said. “As a bicyclist, I no longer ride on that road because it’s dangerous.”

However, she doesn’t believe the town’s current plan will satisfy all needs.

“I think maybe they need to look at the plan wish fresh eyes and come up with something different, because obviously some of [the plan] is not amenable to some of the store owners,” she said. “It doesn’t mean the town should stop, but maybe we should go back to square one.”

Last week’s meeting concluded when Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst reiterated her commitment to getting something done.

“Let’s have one more meeting,” she continued. “Let’s get as critical a mass [as we can] together at once, then after that I think we need to just bite this bullet and do it.”

Though an exact date and time have not yet been set, the town board is expected to hold a special meeting during the first week in March to address the proposed Noyac Road expansion plan.

Party’s Over: Town Shuts House

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2210 Noyac Rd. adjusted

By Claire Walla

The house had been on the town’s radar since last summer, said Southampton Town Chief Investigator David Betts. He had received numerous noise complaints and several reports of overcrowding at the Noyac Road home, just south of the fork where Noyac and Deerfield Roads meet.

To get to the bottom of the issue, last Sunday, July 24 Betts executed a search warrant and discovered 25 people had been staying in the house — all on a short-term basis. Both circumstances violate Southampton Town code.

According to investigators, the house has a certificate of occupancy for six legal bedrooms.

“So, you’re probably talking about [a maximum occupancy] of eight to 10 people,” Betts explained.

However, upon inspection, investigators discovered that the basement had been illegally converted into four bedroom spaces and a separate living area had been fashioned above the garage. That space was discovered to have been used by two people who were not part of the larger group leasing the house this past weekend.

The homeowners, Muhammad and Anessa Raham of New York City, have been charged with several town code violations in the wake of this weekend’s investigation. They include: no rental permit, operation of a transient rental, excessive vehicles, no building permit, no smoke detectors (two counts), no carbon monoxide detectors (three counts) and change of use (two counts).

Betts said this weekend’s investigation comes after 12 complaints were recorded in 2010 and eight so far reported this year. The complaints range from excessive noise and overcrowding, to the construction of a sand volleyball court built on the property without a permit, as well as reports of the Noyac facility being used to host a prom after-party.

The property at 2210 Noyac Road is currently listed on several real estate sites as a seven-bedroom rental. According to Corcoran, it has “a spectacular great room and a finished lower level with a separate apartment.” (The listing also indicates that the location is currently rented.)

On streeteasy.com, the same property is priced at $20,000 for the month of June and $45,000 for the month of July, although short-term rental (for an unspecified period of time) is also available for $4,000. (This website also indicates the property is “no longer available as of four months ago.”)

Even though short-term rentals have become relatively commonplace on the East End, as it is a popular waterfront vacation destination, leasing property for less than 30 days is illegal in Southampton Town. Betts explained that homeowners can lawfully lease property for 30 days or more, but only after having received a permit from the town.

All 25 guests this past weekend were reportedly leaving the facility that day. But, authorities say the property had been booked solid for the entire summer.

Now that charges have been pressed against the homeowners, Betts said the house is permitted to be occupied by the family or even by renters, but can only be made available for the “shortest term lease” (30 days). And in that case, the Rahmans would need a permit.

Road Work

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We’re pleased that Southampton Town has finally arranged to take control of Noyac Road. Considering it has maintained it for years, and there appears to be no additional expense attached to it, we think local ownership will be a benefit to the town and the constituents in Noyac and North Sea.

We should recognize part of what has fueled this desire to gain autonomy over the road has been fear. Fear that some government other than our own may one day recognize a need for a second east-west route through the South Fork. And one glance at a map would tell you Noyac Road is the most obvious choice for such a route.

But for residents in the two hamlets that border the road, having a major throughway would destroy what is left of the, well, not-quite-rural charm that remains.

So, unless the town at some future date takes leave of its senses, we should be OK.

Now that we’ve got it, let’s talk about what needs to be done with it. In our own little corner, we are anxious to see the town complete a traffic calming design in front of The Whalebone and Cromers. As we have said in this space many times, an intelligent treatment here could be a benefit both for the store owners and the customers who frequent them, considering the difficulty — and danger — of pulling in an out of the parking spaces there.

But frankly we’d like to see a traffic calming proposal extended beyond this intersection to include the entire business district in Noyac. We’d like to see a plan that makes the entire business district more pedestrian friendly, and a design that would actually work to slow traffic — think islands and bump outs at corners and crosswalks that would allow shoppers to move freely and without fear through the downtown area. It’s honestly not that far to walk from The Whalebone to the deli to Cappelletti’s —  it’s just not that comfortable. A narrower road makes a slower road. These are efforts that would benefit the entire hamlet by discouraging speeders and those seeking to use Noyac as a bypass.

Accident Claims Life of Sag Harbor Man

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Southampton Town Police are investigating a fatal accident which claimed the life of a 26-year-old Sag Harbor man. The name of the victim has not been released.

At about 9:13 p.m. on Thursday night, May 7, police began receiving a number of 911 calls about a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Noyac Road and Bayview Avenue in Noyac. Town police along with the Southampton Volunteer Ambulance Corps and North Sea Fire Department responded and found a 2007 Nissan pick-up overturned after striking a utility pole. The truck had come to rest on its driver’s side.

The driver, who police say was the only occupant, had been partially ejected from the truck, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver was apparently traveling at an unsafe speed for the wet roads, according to police reports, lost control of the truck and spun off the road striking the pole before flipping over. It is unknown if alcohol was involved.

Southampton Town Police added this was the third accident in the past ten days in the town where a vehicle has overturned and an occupant ejected, receiving serious or fatal injuries. Police caution they will strictly enforce New York State seatbelt laws this month during the “Click it or Ticket” traffic safety campaign.

The Southampton Town Police Detective Division is continuing to investigate and is asking anyone with information about the accident to contact them at 631-728-5000.

 

 

Now Will You Calm Noyac Road?

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Some have observed that it takes someone getting killed to put up a stop light at a dangerous intersection. Will it take more than that to get some traffic calming in Noyac?

In one week’s time, at a tiny yet increasingly treacherous stretch of Noyac Road, we have seen one man killed and another woman nearly killed. It is apparently only a miracle that saved a young woman on her first day of work from escaping being crushed by a pickup truck that came hurtling through the side wall of The Whalebone General Store last Friday. Exactly one week before, on a slick road, a driver failed to negotiate the bend in the road and slammed into a tree just feet away from The Whalebone. The driver was killed and his two passengers were injured.

Alcohol has apparently been involved with the most recent accident, and speed may be a contributing factor in both, which underscores the need for creating a safer environment for both the drivers and the pedestrians who frequent the increasingly busy hamlet.

The area around The Whalebone and Cromer’s Market is a nexus for pedestrian and vehicular traffic that is going uncontrolled. It has become a very popular shopping area — which is great — but coupled with increasing car and truck traffic and a winding country road, the stretch is begging for a safer plan.

Southampton Town has made a couple of proposals to calm this section of the road, by installing a median and actually moving the road further to the south by about 16-feet in order to make it easier for vehicles to get in and out of the parking lot.

But frankly, more needs to be done, and by the events this past week, they need to be done soon. We suggest the town take a good look at traffic from Trout Pond to the Waterside Condominiums in an effort to find ways to slow traffic before it gets into the business district. We wouldn’t mind if traffic crawled through the area —  think bulb-outs, neck-downs and medians that, by design, force cars to slow down.

It would give pedestrians a better chance at crossing the road safely, and — at the rate things are going — probably save a couple of lives.