A big thank you is in order to Gary Goleski and his team for the recent installation of crosswalks on Hill Street in Southampton Village at the Catholic church and Halsey Neck Lane. Additional thanks are owed to past and current village trustees who have shepherded this issue over the past couple of years.
The Comprehensive Village Plan adopted nearly 20 years ago makes increased access and safety for pedestrians a priority for Southampton Village. Unfortunately, slow progress on the plan and the increased use of Hill Street as a regular commuter road have only pushed this goal farther away. Daily traffic counts on Hill Street have increased from roughly 5,000 in 2001 to more than 15,000 today, with much of that traffic seemingly unaware of the dense residential nature of the street, its extensive use by pedestrians and bicyclists as a major access route to the village and its beaches, and the Comprehensive Plan’s objective of increasing access and safety for non-car users.
With increasing frequency over the past three years in particular, I have watched several times a day as pedestrians — often family groups with young children, or a parent/nanny pushing a stroller — wait as long as five minutes for a break in traffic to cross Hill Street. On many of these occasions, I have watched young kids forced to sprint across the final lane to beat cars not yielding properly.
The new crosswalks provide welcome support to pedestrians, and, hopefully, a visual reminder to drivers as well, even when no pedestrians are present. There may be a need for one or two additional crosswalks on Hill Street — the intersections with First Neck Lane and Halsey Street come to mind. Hopefully, the village will watch the impact of the first two and take another look this fall.
In the meantime, thanks again to those who made these improvements happen. And thank you in advance to all village residents for remembering to yield to pedestrians using them.
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