Southampton Village is looking to alleviate parking concerns this summer by creating an additional 24 parking spaces on Hampton Road.
The plan, according to village officials, is to convert parallel parking spaces on the south side of Hampton Road into diagonal parking from the Main Street intersection all the way to Southampton Town Hall.
While the main goal is to create more parking in the municipality, the village also hopes the change—which will eliminate a bike lane on that stretch of village street—will slow traffic on the busy street, making it safer for all.
The project, which involves redrawing existing road markings and some minor paving by village crews, will be carried out primarily by Safety Marking, which has offices in Connecticut, and village trustees say they hope the project will be completed by Memorial Day, though the weather could affect the timeline.
“We are going to re-stripe Hampton Road,” Southampton Village Trustee Nancy McGann said at a board meeting last week. “I think it will be helpful in that area, because people will pull into the spots there, run into the stores, and be out and only be here for 20 minutes and be gone. I think it will be a big improvement.”
Ms. McGann noted that the pending opening of Citarella, a popular gourmet market, on that stretch of Hampton Road, coupled with recent conversations about the need for more parking throughout the village business district, convinced the board that it was time to do something along Hampton Road.
According to Gary Goleski, superintendent of the village Public Works Department, the yellow line in the center of Hampton Road will be moved closer to the north side of the road, eliminating the bike lane on that side and creating more space on the south side. From there, engineers will take the current 44 parallel stalls on the south side of the street and turn them diagonally, creating 68 spaces.
Parking on the north side of Hampton Road will continue to be in parallel spaces, as the existing road is too narrow to make the spaces diagonal on both sides. The village bike lane will be removed for this portion of the street, but crosswalks will remain intact.
According to Village Mayor Mark Epley, the village had to wait to complete the project until the spring, because the temperature has to be above 50 degrees for several days in a row for the paving work. If the ground is too cold, the pavement will crack and have to be patched over the summer, causing more problems.
In total, the project is expected to cost between $5,000 and $7,000 to complete, depending on how much of the original markings must be ground down. An additional $2,000 worth of masonry work will be completed afterward using village DPW staff.
Mr. Epley said the proposal to add diagonal spaces on one side of Hampton Road, which increases the number on that stretch by more than 50 percent, was prompted in part by the success of a similar change on Herrick Road, behind Southampton Hospital—another spot where parking is a premium. On Herrick Road, diagonal parking was created on the north side of the road, which had been parallel parking, and parking was eliminated on the south side—a move that the mayor said has been widely considered an improvement.
While Mr. Epley said there are concerns about accidents with diagonal stalls, traffic traditionally slows while entering a diagonal-parking zone, decreasing the likelihood of an accident. He also said people will have to drive more slowly to accommodate people pulling into and out of parking spaces.
“That is always an issue and a concern,” he said. “But people will naturally slow down in the area with the changes.”