Recipe For Accidents - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1808008

Recipe For Accidents

Suffering through the worst summer traffic on record, I truly appreciate Supervisor Jay Schneiderman’s efforts to ease road flow [“From Canoe Place To North Roads, Traffic Schemes Strategized In Southampton Town,”, August 11]. As a longtime Water Mill resident, I am all too familiar with the hamlet’s traffic issues.

Mr. Schneiderman has laid out two proposals to improve Water Mill traffic: one is worthy, one not so much. The first suggestion calls for the installation of two roundabouts at the eastern and western edges of Water Mill. The proposal has merit. A 2016-18 State Department of Transportation study of the intersections of Montauk Highway and Scuttle Hole Road and Montauk Highway and Little Cobb Road clocked a total of 94 accidents, 56 occurring at the hamlet’s eastern edge and 38 at the western edge. Three primary causes were cited: following too closely, driver inattention and failure to yield. I am not sure how roundabouts address the first two causes, but certainly they can reduce, if not eliminate, accidents arising from “failure to yield.”

The supervisor’s second proposal is to eliminate the traffic light at Station Road. This strikes me as problematic and dangerous. Drivers exiting Water Mill Center, and the soon-to-be-constructed Water Mill Crossing condos, will find it virtually impossible to safely negotiate a left-hand turn. Pedestrians wishing to cross Montauk Highway will have to play a real-life game of “Frogger.”

A serious problem already exists in drivers attempting left-hand turns at Deerfield Road and Davids Lane. All will be exacerbated by the anticipated faster-flowing traffic on Montauk Highway. This is nothing short of a recipe for further accidents, increased risk of a fatality and higher insurance rates for Water Mill residents.

The better, and safer, choice is to leave the light at Station Road as a blinking yellow at all times, except when pedestrians wish to cross the highway, or when pressure plates sense a vehicle exiting the Center/Water Mill Crossing and turning left. This solution will allow highway traffic to flow, as the supervisor wishes, but also will protect pedestrians and drivers alike.

We applaud Jay’s efforts to address our horrendous traffic. But let’s make sure any changes do not compromise our personal safety. Getting “there” a few minutes earlier is not an acceptable trade-off for a trip to the hospital.

Rik Kristiansson

Water Mill