Shfiting Burden - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2070996

Shfiting Burden

Over the last several Board of Trustees meetings, there has been a great deal of public input and discussion of the closing of the Magee Street access to the Somerset neighborhood.

Somerset and Pleasant Avenue residents have made an excellent presentation about traffic safety issues; clearly, those issues are serious and must be addressed. Residents from surrounding neighborhoods have made compelling statements describing how the temporary closure of the access road from Magee to Somerset has dramatically negatively affected traffic and safety.

This is a complicated and contentious issue, but I must state that I do not believe the board should move forward with closing Somerset Avenue from Magee Street. The temporary barrier, which was erected without board resolution and closed a public road, should be removed. New and increased efforts to reduce speed and cut-through traffic must be immediately initiated.

The Somerset group says previous efforts have been tried and failed. If those efforts have not been entirely successful, we must try harder: more signs, more enforcement, cameras and speed bumps. If a neighborhood bank is being robbed, the solution is not to close the bank — it’s to hire more guards, install more security cameras, etc.

Our ambulance and fire department chiefs have expressed concern that the closure hinders their access to the Somerset neighborhood. Emergency vehicles will have a difficult time getting to Somerset if they can only travel on Hill Street during rush hour, and if there is an accident on Hill Street, it will be nearly impossible.

It is concerning that, in the discussion of what to do about traffic and whether the pilot program has been a success or failure, there is no data. Has closing Somerset improved traffic on Hill Street? What has been the impact, in terms of traffic and safety, on feeder streets? Even with closing Somerset, the traffic on Hill Street will be at a standstill in the summer, but residents on Bishop Lane and Corrigan Street will be bearing 100 percent of the cut-through traffic, while the Somerset neighborhood will have none.

We are a collective village. Everyone in the village shares the good and the bad. Traffic is terrible. We clearly need to work on that, and it is going to take big ideas involving the village, town and county to make it better.

I assure the residents of Somerset and Pleasant that I have heard their concerns and will work diligently to see that the signage, speed bumps, cameras and additional enforcement is initiated.

But closing the road — alleviating the problem for one neighborhood by putting an even heavier burden on the others, and pitting one village neighborhood against those that surround it — is not the right solution.

Roy Stevenson


Southampton Village