Tag Archive | "traffic calming"

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.

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.

Noyac Pushes for Traffic Calming

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The Noyac Civic Councl rambled through a broad agenda Tuesday, recapping and bringing themselves up-to-date on issues ranging from the hamlet’s community center to the garbage at Circle Beach.

With scheduled guest speaker Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi unavailable, civic council president Chuck Neuman offered his membership a list of about 20 topics.

First out of the box was the proposed community center, and Neuman said he intends to schedule a meeting with Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot to discuss the option of locating it on a parcel adjacent to Trout Pond. The council has had its eye on the property for more than two years, but were discouraged to learn that the town thought it too expensive to buy. Kabot, who was last month’s guest speaker, “left the door open,” said Neuman, when she suggested that the economic environment might force the owners to make the parcel more affordable.

“I want to make sure nothing was misspoken,” said Neuman of Kabot’s comments.

Tin Wilcoxen asked how the council would reach consensus on a location for the center, and Neuman said he would take a survey through the mail and e-mail, which he said could reach about 570 Noyac residents.

Wilcoxen also commented on the trash at Circle Beach, saying it was finally picked up this week, after the Thanksgiving weekend. She had commented at last month’s meeting that there was a rat problem caused by the garbage at the beach.

“Cecil Bill is our liaison for highway department matters,” said council board member Elena Loreto. “You should call him if you see the garbage isn’t picked up.”

Ralph DeSpigna asked about the traffic calming proposal in front of Cromer’s Market, saying he found the plan to build a median in the road confusing.

Neuman said they spent about a year-and-a-half discussing a hard structure, but the town has decided instead to simply paint the lines of a median on the road, in an effort to control traffic better at the busy shopping area.

“That has nothing to do with people pulling in and out of the parking lot,” said DeSpigna. “They need room.”

“Also,” added member John Anderson, “ the engineers are very reluctant to make changes.”

“That’s the crux of the matter,” agreed Neuman.

The council agreed to establish two committees, with Tom Loreto and John Anderson working on a revision of the council’s by-laws, and Ralph DeSpigna working on getting the council of the town’s agenda to discuss traffic calming.

Noyac Wants Action on Traffic and Community Center

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If there’s one thing that Southampton Town councilman Dan Russo will take back to his board after his visit to Noyac Tuesday night, is that the residents there are tired of getting little done in their hamlet.

“You need to tell them that the people here are p—– that nothing has been done in 6 ½ years,” said Noyac Civic Council president Chuck Neuman during the council’s regular monthly meeting. The meeting was held at the town’s Bridgehampton Community Center while repair work was being done by the town at the normal meeting spot, the Old Noyac School House.

Clearly in Neuman’s sights were proposals for a new community center for the hamlet, plus traffic control measures along Noyac Road, especially in front of the Whalebone/Cromer’s shopping area.

The town had conducted a formal hamlet study over six years ago, Neuman noted, and virtually none of the recommendations in that document have come to fruition.

Particularly irksome is the lack of a community house. For decades his organization and other community organizations have used the old school house, but its age and size — and increased demand — no longer make it practical.

Plus, noted Ralph DeSpigna, who helps work the polls on election days, new voting machines will make the already small quarters more cramped in a building where two districts come to vote.

In a vote that appeared more out of frustration with the town’s inertia than actual desire, the council decided to tell the town they can build the community center on the property where the school house sits, rather than pursuing one or two other locations they felt would have been more appealing.

Neuman told Russo, who was the evening’s guest speaker, that he and other Noyac residents who had formed a committee to investigate sites for a community house had been encouraged by the town to look for opportunities they felt best suited the community. They had chosen, said Neuman, a parcel adjacent to Trout Pond that, in addition to serving as a gathering place for community organizations and events, could also serve as a trail head for the system that runs through Trout Pond park and connects to the larger trail system throughout the town.

The town, said Neuman, was loath to spend the money to buy the property, and Russo doubted that Community Preservation Fund money could be used to purchase it, and then build a structure on it.

Despite the town’s urging to explore possibilities, said Neuman, “From the beginning the town’s position was: ‘why build a center on any property other than what we already own’.”

Neuman asked for a show of hands to judge who was willing to have the community center built on the property with the school house, which the town owns. Virtually every hand in the room went up.

“Maybe reality is starting to sink in,” said a resigned Neuman.

“The good news is, “said Russo, “when you get back into the school house, you’ll be sitting on new toilet seats.”

On Wednesday, Neuman said he would poll the 588 members of the civic council to see in which direction they would like to head.

But the council was also concerned about the safety of Noyac Road, and commenting on the increased amount of traffic, big trucks and speeders, implored Russo to find a solution.

Neuman said the consensus from a June meeting between representatives from the hamlet and town officials was that the town was going to make an effort to “calm” the traffic along Noyac Road.

“But since June, nothing has been done,” said Neuman.

Neuman said a plan proposed by the town included building an island in front of the Whalebone/Cromer’s parking lot, but that the owners of those businesses were concerned that the construction would discourage customers.

“Just calm the traffic, don’t build anything,” he said.

“I think the plan is more aggressive than you need,” agreed Russo. “The island would be intrusive.”

Russo said the plan for improvements along Noyac Road had been developed by the town’s consultants, McLain Associates, for about $40,000.

“But I think we wasted our money,” he said, “You can do this with road markings; I’ll take that message back.”

The conversation turned to other means of slowing traffic, including installing one or two traffic lights along the road and more speed limit signs.

“I’ve been recommending rumble strips for years,” said John Iacurto. “Why not put them on either side of Trout Pond?”

Ed Drouhin wondered about the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Long Beach and Noyac roads.

“The price was way to expensive,” said Russo.

Frustrated, Iacurto asked: “After a study, what’s the next step to get something done?”

“You put it out to bid and decide to bond for it or not,” answered Russo. “But if the numbers come back astronomically, the plan gets shelved.”

The councilman conceded the town needed to get back to the intersection “to make it safe for pedestrians.”

The civic council members also asked about the possibility of the town taking ownership of Noyac Road from Suffolk County. Part of the concern is that the county may one day want to expand the road to create a bigger bypass.

Russo said he would need to weigh the pros and cons of taking the road.

“I can tell you, the county would be happy to give us the road,” said Russo. “The county exec would be asking, ‘Where do I sign;’ which makes me wary of the cons.”

He added: “The fear of a major highway coming down Noyac Road? I just don’t see it.”

One woman asked if the town would be able to control the weight of trucks that come along the road.

“Yes; but without enforcement, they’re going to disobey the limits,” said Russo. “We just gave Chief Overton ten new police officers last week; that’s what we should be screaming about. Everything we’ve been talking about is pointless without enforcement.”