Strong Will Needed - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1803381

Strong Will Needed

I attended the Citizens Advisory Committee meeting about traffic in Bridgehampton that you reported in your July 29 editions [“Police Chief Tells Bridgehampton Residents No Easy Fixes For Traffic Woes,”, July 28]. I believe the residents at that meeting are more concerned with traffic safety than with traffic volume and are looking for ways to mitigate speeding and dangerous driving habits on our back roads — especially the newly popular commuter route to the north of Montauk Highway/Route 27 that passes through Narrow Lane, Lumber Lane, Maple Lane, Corwith Avenue and Butter Lane — all residential roads frequently used by pedestrians and bicyclists.

Traffic volume and road safety are almost two different problems. We’re not looking to turn Montauk Highway, or any other road for that matter, into a local version of the LIE (it’s bad enough) and have no interest in making it easier for traffic to increase — definitely NIMBY.

We are seeking solutions such as three-way stop signs at critical intersections to slow that traffic down and to make it less desirable to speed through the back roads. Driver behavior is what we’d like to influence.

As far as mitigating traffic, well, we all know what that will take: a moratorium on building construction. Your editorial in the same issue, “A Slow Crawl,” mentions the tourist economy and the fear that if “they cannot get from point A to point B comfortably, they will quickly find somewhere else to spend their dollars.”

Overpopulation negatively impacts this area already, and turning our roads into highways to accommodate visitor demand seems to me the quickest way to ruin what is here: overbuilt, badly planned suburban blight is insidious and far too common already. The areas that do manage to protect their communities from being over-built have an organized vision and a strong will toward preservation.

As to the tourists, well, I doubt a little traffic is going to get in the way of visitors continuing to visit as long as there is something worth visiting. Perhaps looking at other pressured East Coast tourist destinations for inspiration is a start: Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island, for instance. Like those locations, we might consider more water ferries and more bicycle-friendly roads. We definitely need more stop signs and more roundabouts, such as those on the way to Cape Cod.

Our local officials worked with the state to make Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton much safer by installing steady traffic lights and crosswalk lights — so we know it can be done. But we need more. We need additional solutions that do not involve creating bigger roads.

This is a place worth getting to — how do we keep it that way? And how can we make our roads safer for everyone without further destruction to our local environment?

Susan White