Regarding the Hampton Bays bypass plan: Either none now know or a choice was made to ignore its true purpose and design: It was to be a four-lane road connecting the exit from Sunrise Highway directly to the bridge at Ponquogue. It would have taken out half the town. Its focus was increasing tourism.
The Hampton Bays overlay district at a minimum puts 175 cars daily directly onto Montauk Highway in the space of a single block. Real world is twice that. No one is giving up their cars anytime soon. We have no idea what sort of commercial traffic it will engender.
The bypass will not improve or even mitigate this traffic. Nor will traffic circles. Traffic already backs up at the circle in Riverhead.
The trade parade is not just commercial trucks. I paid attention as I drove to Southampton: single car drivers. Likely domestic help of various sorts, or simply other jobs east of the canal. Three solid hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic.
How exactly would commercial vehicles be denied access to the bypass? Also, how many tradespeople are going to be willing to leave thousands of dollars of tools and materials hours from home? And how are they getting to the train? Buy another vehicle? Walk? Complicate an already long and exhausting day? Train travel is expensive.
Common sense is lacking in this suggestion. The bypass will do nothing for any traffic-related issue.
Finally, the now ever-present justification for any unpalatable thing: emergency services. They need the bypass for access to the highway. Twenty years on, much has changed. Technology exists that gives emergency vehicles control of traffic signals. It is widely used. This is more effective than any new road. If the town has yet to discover this, one suspects grants and programs are available. There also is a firehouse south of the railroad and the new section of old Riverhead Road.
Things change. Our thinking needs to keep up. Frankly, get accustomed to traffic. Itâ€™s not going away unless many people leave the area. One most likely effect of the overlay plan is that fire taxes will increase.
It has been suggested that if we who oppose the land swap and the bypass â€śpiss off the wrong people,â€ť code enforcement will be loosed on us. Another said corruption is rampant in Southampton. As I am neither paranoid nor a fan of conspiracy theories, I dismiss these comments. It stands as a sad statement on how some see local government.
What I see is outdated thinking and definitely a plan that will enrich a few with little benefit to the majority.
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