Safety First - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1807992

Safety First

As a resident of Water Mill, I read with great interest “From Canoe Place To North Roads, Traffic Schemes Strategized In Southampton Town” [, August 10]. No one should have to sit for hours in traffic on their commute to work. But until we actually address the number of cars on the road, no amount of blinking lights or roundabouts is going to solve our traffic issues.

While I’m encouraged to hear that the town is looking into a number of solutions, I am concerned to hear that removing the light in Water Mill by introducing roundabouts at either end of the hamlet is something being considered as a traffic solution. Putting aside the larger issue of whether roundabouts make sense in Water Mill, there are some serious safety issues in the hamlet that the state continues to ignore and the town seems to have forgotten about.

Lights serve numerous functions, including a means for motorists to safely enter a road and for pedestrians to cross dangerous highways. There is good reason Bridgehampton recently added a light at Candy Kitchen — and despite the bumper-to-bumper traffic through the hamlet, no one would ever suggest removing any of the lights in that area so that traffic could move faster.

Chief Steven Skrynecki’s comment that he agreed with drivers calling for the light in Water Mill to be removed, as well as the supervisor’s belief that roundabouts could make that happen, is alarming. Perhaps they should be reminded that bus stops are located on both sides of the highway at Station Road. How do the supervisor and the police chief suggest pedestrians using Suffolk County Transit or the Hampton Jitney cross the highway?

The town also should note that its own Planning Board approved a 38-unit townhouse project that relies on the light at Station Road as a means for residents to safely turn left onto the highway. Over the years, the town has put aside land so that a cross access between the parking lot behind the post office could one day connect to Station Road. The Community House, which hosts numerous local functions, is also located at the light.

Unless the town plans to ban left turns onto the highway, which we all know is not a realistic or enforceable option, I would expect that these safety concerns would be addressed before talking about roundabouts and removing traffic lights.

Obviously it’s important that the town looks at ways to alleviate traffic, but I hope that in that effort, safety is not abandoned. I would like to think the residents of our community would want safety issues addressed by the town and the State Department of Transportation first.

Rachel Verno

Water Mill