Other than a letter from Simon Jorna, former owner of the Beach Bakery in Westhampton Beach [“A Big Nuisance,” Letters, February 28], the decision to replace the existing roadway with two roundabouts, in connection with the village’s vital sewerage project, does not seem to have been debated much, in The Press or elsewhere. This seems curious, as, typically, roundabouts are not a natural inclusion at the heart of a town, let alone a small village!
Roundabouts are designed for the safe passage of motor vehicles at four-way or more intersections. Roundabouts are not pedestrian-friendly.
The roundabout by the Westhampton Beach village green is the more contentious of the two planned. It will dislocate traffic patterns and conceivably create both more congestion and less-safe neighborhoods.
The existing junctions are hardly unsafe. Otherwise, why would the police chief have stated, when the farmers market was moved to the village green, that it was “in the interest of safety”? Traffic flows relatively easily even on pedestrian-heavy summer Saturdays, because there is plenty of room for vehicles to maneuver on the wide Main Street.
If there is a problem, it is that Mill Road and Library Avenue are misaligned. Unfortunately, this misalignment means that a roundabout is no easy fit.
However, fit is not the worst of the problem! The roundabout’s ostensible purpose is to allow a more controlled continuous flow of vehicles through the area from the four access roads. Lamentably, this roundabout fails to do that! It actually reduces access to the junctions from four roads to three, blocking and impeding traffic inflows! Library Avenue is made one-way south.
Some may think this one-way is a choice. It is not! The design and safety features of roundabouts require that incoming traffic be separated from outgoing traffic by a splitter island on pedestrian crossings. Because Library Avenue is narrow, it is not possible to install a splitter island on it. Ergo, if a roundabout was chosen, Library Avenue had to be one-way!
The difficult consequences of Library Avenue being one-way are too many to mention here. Return access to Main Street is restricted. Vehicles from the south now have to do a grand tour via Beach Lane if drivers want to access Main Street from the east. The only short way north from the village parking is via Moniebogue Lane, which has the most difficult unsighted exit of all onto Main Street.
Residents on some streets south of the village are going to have to deal with a whole lot more traffic than before, potentially reducing pedestrian and child safety and, perhaps, property values, too.
The decision to use roundabouts seems ill-advised. I urge the mayor and trustees to reconsider this plan.
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