Bridgehampton School officials have asked the Southampton Town Police Department to station a patrol car outside of the school to monitor and enforce the speed limit along the portion of Montauk Highway in front of the school.
According to school officials, some parents have approached them with concerns about how fast motorists drive past the building during weekday hours. While the speed limit on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton is 30 mph, it is reduced to 20 mph in the school zone.
School Business Administrator Robert Hauser said that because he and other administrators agreed with the parents that the speed limit should be better enforced, he put in the request to the police department last week.
“From time to time, we’ve seemed to notice the speed picking up with people passing in front of the school,” Mr. Hauser said. “Because it’s really the one way to get east … maybe the people forget that school has started, and you have to slow it down a little bit. Sometimes it’s a good reminder to do this once school has started.”
Sergeant Todd Bennett of the Southampton Town Police said the department will respond accordingly to the officials’ request. He said a patrolman will be equipped with a radar gun and, if he or she determines that speed is an issue, the area will be monitored continuously.
“We have not received any complaints, and the patrol cars are aware and they ride the area regularly, and they haven’t been advised of anything yet,” Sgt. Bennett said. “We haven’t been advised of any concerns until Mr. Hauser. We’ll be addressing it.”
A patrol car was in place on Wednesday morning.
In June 1998, Bridgehampton High School senior Tiffane Walker was struck by a vehicle and killed while crossing Montauk Highway after leaving the school in the evening. Since then, rumble strips were installed, the speed limit in front of the school was reduced, and lighting was improved. In 2002, then-New York State Governor George Pataki also signed “Tiffane’s Law,” introduced by State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., which extended the amount of time schools can flash warning lights for drivers to reduce their speed.
In addition to the rumble strips and the warning lights, the school zone in Bridgehampton is also equipped with a speed radar monitor, and a crossing guard is present when school begins and ends for the day.
Bridgehampton Superintendent Dr. Lois Favre said she was thankful to the police department for listening and responding to the school’s request. “We always appreciate the cooperation of our local community when safety is a concern,” she said.