After years of concern from residents, and a fatality in a marked crosswalk in October, Bridgehampton’s Main Street might finally receive attention to improve the safety of pedestrians.
Members of the hamlet’s Citizens Advisory Committee sat down last week at the Hampton Library with local officials, including State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, and had what they called a productive conversation: government officials said they will attempt to find funding for three additional illuminated crosswalks on Bridgehampton’s Main Street—and, quite possibly, a traffic light.
The lighted crosswalks would be located near Thayer’s Hardware, at the post office and in front of the Bridgehampton School, as those three locations are not at intersections with traffic signals. Mr. Thiele explained that State Department of Transportation regulations say that lighted crosswalks cannot be located next to traffic lights.
Both the CAC and government officials also agreed that the most beneficial place to put a traffic light would be by the Candy Kitchen, at the intersection of Main Street and School Street, where, currently, there is only a flashing yellow light. Mr. Thiele noted that the town should contact the DOT if it wants a traffic signal installed near the restaurant, explaining that the agency must first complete a traffic study.
“The saga continues,” said CAC Co-chair Nancy Walter-Yvertes, “because the state has to approve these things.” However, it if works out, she noted, “that is a big improvement—a red light and three lighted crosswalks.”
Last month, Southampton Town contracted the Eldor Traffic Signal Contracting Corporation in Holtsville to install the first lighted crosswalk on Main Street, near the Hampton Library. As soon as a pedestrian sets foot in the crosswalk, the lights automatically turn on—a button does not have to be pushed to activate it.
The crosswalk cost $75,000 to install and was financed with money previously secured by State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle.
Mr. Thiele said he and Mr. LaValle would also work on securing funding from Albany to replace existing street lights on Main Street with brighter LED lights, and the additional illuminated crosswalks. He noted that the state’s budget process starts in January, and he will need a budget request from the town for both the signals and lighted crosswalks as soon as possible.
“The senator and I would try to get the money to do both of those projects,” Mr. Thiele said. “Those were the two big items. Whatever we can do to improve visibility.”
Others in attendance at last week’s meeting included DOT Regional Traffic and Safety Engineer Emilio Sosa, Southampton Town Superintendent of Highways Alex Gregor, and Southampton Town Director of Public Transportation and Traffic Safety Tom Neely.