Over the past few months, there has been a series of vehicle accidents that resulted in death or serious injury. The recent tragic death of an 11-year-old boy on Town Line Road in Wainscott has inspired a slew of recommendations to enhance road safety.
As usual, the East End towns and villages react to events rather than develop proactive approaches that would make our roads safer. The East End has no comprehensive safety strategy; consequently, we are left with a hodgepodge of recommendations for traffic lights, stop signs, speed bumps and speed limits. It takes an act of Congress, lawsuits and human tragedies for the towns to consider installing any safety measures.
The article in The East Hampton Press cites incidents of police clocking two drivers at 80 mph on Town Line Road. Maybe it is because I am getting older, but it feels like the Wild West on the road. If you drive at the speed limit, you are taking your life in your hands. Walking and biking on the East End are dangerous sports. Speed limits, traffic lights, and stop signs mean nothing.
Add to the mix that everyone is in a hurry, road rage, DWI and driving while texting — it is a damn miracle there are not more fatal accidents. There is little or no enforcement of the road rules, and drivers who choose to blatantly ignore the rules know this.
We will never have sufficient law enforcement to ensure that drivers follow the rules of the road. And we know we cannot rely on a drivers’ honor system.
One solution: Enter the 21st century of technology. New York City has installed a safe streets initiative, a maximum 20 to 25 mph on local streets designated as slow zones. The initiative is enforced by a combination of cameras and law enforcement.
If the East End towns adopted a safe streets initiative, the revenue could support other road safety measures. It may not be the entire solution for creating safe roads on the East End, but it would be a start.
PS: I live off Springville Road. If cameras were installed on Springville and Rampasture roads, the revenue could support the entire Hampton Bays school budget.
I am exaggerating to make a point, but I would like to test my hypothesis. Stay safe — and drive like your kids live here.
One fine body…