Sag Harbor Village officials will try to reduce the speed limit on Route 114, saying that they believe motorists drive too fast on that stretch of road.
At this month’s Village Board meeting on November 12, Mayor Brian Gilbride said the village is going to ask the State Department of Transportation, which manages the state road, to reduce the speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph in the village. The speed limit change would be in effect starting at the boundary of Southampton and East Hampton towns near the Harbor Heights service station, and it would exclude school zones on the road, since the speed limits there are already under 30 mph.
Before the speed limit is lowered, the DOT will have to study whether a reduction is warranted or not. But many in the village believe it is, and Village Board member Sandra Schroeder has gone so far as to describe the road as “a death trap.”
One person who sees Route 114 on a daily basis and agrees with Ms. Schroeder is Robin Lindgren, a manager at Harbor Heights. Ms. Lindgren pointed out that an accident occurred just a few weeks ago in front of the gas station, as a driver tried to pull out but was struck by a vehicle moving at what she presumed to be significantly more than 40 mph.
Ms. Lindgren also expressed concern about the fact that children walk home from school on Route 114, as Sag Harbor Elementary School is down the road from Harbor Heights.
“I mean, look—they’re definitely not going the speed limit,” Ms. Lindgren said on Tuesday morning, pointing out the front window of the station’s office as cars zoomed by. “I don’t think anyone pays attention to the speed limit there. The cops patrol the area so much, and they always have people pulled over.”
Sag Harbor Chief of Police Thomas Fabiano said that while he’s happy to see the village take action on reducing the speed limit, it’s something he believes should have been done when the DOT made its proposal for traffic calming on Route 114 more than 10 years ago. Mr. Fabiano noted that many motorists, especially those driving large trucks, do not abide by the speed limit, and that while more speeding tickets are issued on Main Street in the business district, Route 114 also “has its share of tickets.” Mr. Fabiano also noted that a police car periodically monitors the road.
“I think it would help our situation here,” the chief said. “I’m glad to see they’re doing it.”
Following the footsteps of Southampton and East Hampton villages, the Sag Harbor Village Board also presented a draft of legislation that would ban single-use plastic bags in the village, beginning April 22, 2015. The public will have the opportunity to voice opinions at the board’s next meeting, slated to take place Tuesday, December 9.
The proposed law, presented at the November 12 Village Board meeting, states that its purpose is to “improve the environment in the Village of Sag Harbor by encouraging the use of reusable checkout bags and banning the use of certain plastic bags for retail checkout of purchased goods.”
The law would exclude the smaller plastic bags used for fresh produce at grocery stores like Schiavoni’s Market.
Any individual or retailer in violation of the plastic bag ban would be subject to a $1,000 fine, or up to 15 days in jail.
While she said she supports the law, Nada Barry, the owner of the Wharf Shop on Main Street in the village, said she was concerned that businesses like hers may not finish using all of the plastic bags they ordered by the April 22 deadline next year. If that’s the case, and the bags have to be discarded, it could be a financial hardship, she said.
“This is going to cost us a lot of money,” Ms. Barry told the board.