The Suffolk County Department of Public Works will install a new traffic light at the intersection of Montauk Highway and Canoe Place Road in Hampton Bays early next year, according to officials.
The new light is the result of a joint effort between several town groups—including the Hampton Bays Beautification Association, the Town Transportation Committee and Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, and was prompted by a fatal accident two years ago.
According to Susan Von Freddi, the president of the Beautification Association, the group began its campaign for the light following the tragic death of one of its members, Jeanette Kelly, in October 2011.
Ms. Kelly was attempting to make a left turn onto Montauk Highway from Canoe Place Road when it is believed she hesitated and was struck on the driver’s side by a van being driven eastbound on Montauk Highway. She died after being airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center.
“At the funeral, I met with the family and they were distraught,” Ms. Von Freddi said. “We all said right then that we were going to do what we could to get a light, or at least some solution, presented to us on how to make that corner and the whole intersection safer.”
After the accident, and with several requests from throughout Southampton Town, the Suffolk County Department of Public Works conducted a traffic study in the area last summer. Last week, Chief Engineer William Hillman announced that due to a history of crashes and an increased traffic volume at different times of year, the intersection did need a light.
“Traffic volume continues to increase in this area,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a press release sent out this week. “And a traffic light will make this intersection much safer for drivers and pedestrians.”
According to Thomas F. Neely, the director of public transportation and traffic safety for Southampton Town, designs for the light will be finalized over the next few months and the county will set aside funding to have it installed sometime in early 2014.
“We are all looking forward to having it installed,” Mr. Neely said this week. “I haven’t seen an estimate for it yet, but this is a significant and necessary investment for the county. Traffic signals are pretty expensive, so it is good to see that they have justified it and they will be able to fund the installation next year.”
Mr. Neely said this week that it was unclear what type of light would be installed at the intersection, noting that engineers are considering whether turn signals are needed, or if a standard three-color light will be sufficient.
“As the East End has become busier over the years, this is one location where traffic volume has increased significantly,” Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said in the release. “I thank the county for responding to the community’s concerns by conducting a thorough analysis of the area. The light will make the area safer for everyone.”