Tag Archive | "Whalebone"

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.

Back to the Drawing Board For Noyac Road

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Noyac Road, Tom Neely adjusted

By Claire Walla


“I think this is the largest community meeting of this kind that I have been to in my four-plus years in office,” exclaimed Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst as she looked out at more than 100 faces at a Noyac Civic Association meeting last Wednesday, March 28.

The public had turned out en masse at the Bridgehampton Nutrition Center to weigh in on the town’s most recent version of a plan to reconstruct Noyac Road. Twenty-eight people spoke that evening, and all but one was adamantly opposed to the current 2011 plan detailing new traffic-calming measures to be implemented at the bend in the road near Cromer’s Market in Noyac.

Above: Southampton Town Director of Transportation Tom Neely addressed a packed house last Thursday at the Bridgehampton Nutrition Center.

Complaints mostly hinged on the scale of the town’s blueprint, which most residents agreed was much too extreme for their bayside neighborhood.

“Of all the plans I’ve seen, this is about the worst,” said Ralph Dispigna. “If you want to destroy a neighborhood, this is the way to do it.”

Tony Lawless, who owns and operates Cromer’s Market, echoed most of the sentiments that night, saying the current plan would create more traffic, causing cars to drive into Pine Neck to avoid congestion.

“On any given day I could have three tractor-trailers pulling into here,” he said, pointing to the proposed parking lot, where the 2011 blueprint calls for a stop sign to be implemented. “Do we need tractor-trailers driving in here [Pine Neck] because they can’t get in here?”

He continued, “Elm Street is one of the narrowest roads in Pine Neck and you’re diverting all the traffic onto it.”

According to a survey drafted and tallied by the Noyac Civic Association (84 people responded to 350 surveys which were sent out) 56 percent of respondents said “No,” the 2011 plan does not accomplish its mission. And an even greater number of respondents, 65 percent, felt the plan would “change the rural character of Noyac.”

.Ultimately, when asked point blank whether they were in favor of the 2011 plan, 64 percent of respondents voted “No,” versus only 27 percent who voted “Yes.”

Noyac resident Jim Posner said he felt the town should “respect the survey.”

“We’re not engineers, but the surface of it shows that we’re against it,” he added.

Like many, he said speed bumps and stop signs — part of what he called “the ‘let’s take it easy’ approach” — would be a much better solution than concrete barriers.

“If we did step one, then we could see how it worked,” he continued, and if it doesn’t, “then we could go into a fancier plan.”

Ultimately, after listening to many reactions from community members, Throne-Holst submitted that the current plan would need to change.

“I think what we’re hearing first and foremost is that this is overkill,” she said. “We have to take a giant step backward.”

The effort to improve the bend in Noyac Road near Cromer’s was first established on a town-wide level eight years ago when a 2004 Hamlet Study identified the potential dangers on that stretch of pavement. A year later, the town’s first conceptual plan for reconstruction involved adding a concrete barrier between the road and a proposed parking area in front of the commercial businesses on the north side of the street.

The plan also called for blocking access to Bay Avenue from Noyac Road, making it only accessible via Elm Street.

Six different iterations of the original plan surfaced over the years — all of them blown-up into large color posters, which peppered the walls of the Nutrition Center last week — the last of which seems to have brought on the most controversy.

The 2011 Conceptual Plan, like the original, proposes adding a concrete median between newly created parking spaces, in front of The Whalebone and Cromer’s Market, which wraps around Bay Avenue, cutting off direct access to the neighborhood. Like the original plan, cars would be forced to access Bay Avenue from Noyac Road by first turning onto Elm Street, then taking a right onto Bay.

Keith Schumann, who said he was representing the next generation of Noyac residents and just so happened to be a former traffic engineer, said he, too, believed the 2011 plan was too drastic.

This plan also requires cutting into the triangle-shaped property where Bay and Elm join — a piece of land belonging to Whalebone owner Linda Heine. Even though the town has drafted plans that build over that patch of dirt, Heine said last week that she was “offended” by the town’s intent to build over it.

“That piece of property is owned by my family,” she told the crowd. “I was told it wouldn’t be touched unless we wanted to give it away.” And, she said, they don’t. (Throne-Holst later stated that the triangular piece of land would not have to be touched in order to implement traffic-calming measures.)

Heine said she preferred the 2009 Plan over the 2011 iteration, saying it was much more “friendly.”

Resident John Anderson, who has lived in Noyac for 50 years, didn’t object to any of the statements made that night. Rather, he simply called for action.

“Sometimes, backing out of those spaces [at Cromer’s], you’ve gotta say your prayers!” he exclaimed.

“We’ve been talking about this problem off-and-on for 10 years,” he continued. “And I’ve seen faces here I’ve never seen before. My great concern is that we’re going to spend another 10 years talking about it.”

He paused before continuing, making his message was loud and clear.

“For crying out loud, let’s fix it,” he exclaimed, making no attempt to contain his passion. “Can the powers that be make some decisions?”

According to Southampton Town Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone, the town is now hoping to implement striping, rumble strips or stop signs before the start of the summer season. While the supervisor is also exploring the idea of preventing commercial trucks from traversing Noyac Road, an idea some in the audience seemed to favor, he said this is something that would take a lot longer to implement and would require an additional public hearing and a resolution by the board.

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.

A Day of Small Miracles: Lives Spared After Driver Plows Through Whalebone

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Call it what you will: fate, luck, a miracle, but the fact that no one was killed when a truck plowed through the wall at the Whalebone General Store in Noyac on Friday afternoon is certainly remarkable. It appears that, at least for two women, tasks that took them out of the normal routine of their day contributed to their lives being spared.

At about 2:40 on Friday afternoon, a driver who has told police he felt dizzy while driving eastbound on Noyac Road, apparently blacked out, crossed over the west bound lane of traffic and went through a small garden supply area next to the building before crashing through the wall and landing completely in the store.

“He apparently went a bit airborne, since there is a small retaining wall just outside the building,” said Kristen Heine, whose family has owned the popular general store since 1985.

The truck drove over the store’s check out counter where, normally, an employee would have been taking care of a customer, perhaps buying a greeting card, or trying their luck with the lottery.

The driver of the truck, a 2005 Chevrolet pickup, has been identified as Donald W. Calabrese, 62, of Sagaponack, and has since been charged with driving while intoxicated.

Photos of the site show the truck surrounded by wrecked counters and shelving, balloons, gift items and boxes. Even a stuffed animal sits in the foreground. The photos do not show the lone employee at work that afternoon, who was standing only a few feet away from where the pickup came to rest. As it turns out, Friday was her first day on the job.

“The whole day was a series of unplanned events,” said Linda Heine, Kristen’s mother. She said the young woman who was working when the crash occurred was actually filling in for another woman who had to leave early that day.

“I didn’t do what I was supposed to on Friday,” she said. “I’m almost always there.”

Indeed, Mrs. Heine had returned recently from the annual gift fair in New York City, and had planned on spending the afternoon at the Whalebone, making follow-up calls and making sure orders for new stock were received.

Instead, Mrs. Heine accompanied her husband, George, to the eye doctor.

Mr. Heine had ordered a new pair of glasses and wanted his wife to see them.

“I trust her opinion,” Mr. Heine confided.

“I really didn’t want to go,” Mrs. Heine admitted. But she agreed to the trip to Southampton.

Also that day, the woman who normally would have been working had to leave early, and the Heines called in a new woman to help out.

“She’s a friend of the family and I was very impressed with her when I first interviewed her,” said Mrs. Heine. “She knows what she is doing.”

“I knew I was going to be about 15 minutes late getting back,” said Mrs. Heine,” but I felt she could do anything.”

And it was the new woman’s attentiveness and reliability that possibly saved her life.

When Mrs. Heine spoke to the woman — who she asked not to identify — about her chores for the first day, she asked her specifically to vacuum and straighten up an area about two aisles away from the counter. So after only about a half hour into her first day, and after helping a couple of customers with the purchase of lottery tickets, the young woman found herself straightening up the aisle.

“She reached down to turn on the vacuum and heard a terrible explosion,” said Mr. Heine. “She thought she blew up the building.”

At the exact moment the woman flipped the on switch, the pickup came barreling through the wall, creating a giant cloud of smoke.

“At first she couldn’t see the truck,” said Mr. Heine.

But as the smoke cleared, she found herself pushed up against a glass candy counter and the checkout counter pressed up against her legs.

“She could have been cut to ribbons if the glass had broken,” said Mrs. Heine.

“It was her work ethic that saved her life,” said Mr. Heine. “She was told to clean up that aisle, and that’s the first thing she did.”

While not injured, the woman was taken to Southampton Hospital because she was shaken by the accident. Calabrese was also taken to Southampton Hospital, but apparently did not sustain any injuries. He was arraigned on Saturday in Southampton Town Justice Court.

“For all intents and purposes I was supposed to be there, sitting at the counter checking on the orders,” said Mrs. Heine. “There were no customers in the store at the time, no delivery people, someone buying lottery tickets had just left.”

“It’s a miracle no one was killed,” said Mr. Heine. “I don’t care what you say; God was in the store that day.”


 

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.