Editorial: A Safer Stretch

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In October 2015, when 81-year-old Anna Pump of Sag Harbor, a well-known chef and cookbook author who co-owned the Loaves & Fishes Foodstore in Bridgehampton, was run down by a car in a crosswalk not far from the shop, it was a tragic wakeup call that made it all to clear: Main Street in Bridgehampton was too dark and too dangerous, a setting for disaster when cars and pedestrians mixed.

Four years later, credit local officials for their response. Much has been done, and more is underway, along the busy stretch of Montauk Highway that runs through the hamlet. Crosswalks are better marked and lit, new flashing speed check signs are deployed throughout, and a series of improvements in the corridor will wrap up this winter or in spring 2020 at the latest.

The Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee deserves a great deal of credit for keeping the discussion going, and for making sure there were results. But Southampton Town officials, including Tom Neely, the town’s director of public transportation and traffic safety, and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. also deserve credit for urgently responding not just with platitudes but with action.

Next summer, that stretch of road is going to be much more pedestrian friendly — though, with a new traffic signal will replace the flashing light at Montauk Highway’s intersection with School Street and Corwith Avenue, a move that might slow traffic even more than usual. To any motorists who end up sitting in it: Remember Anna Pump, and realize that the safety of pedestrians in a small hamlet is of much greater importance than a few extra minutes for those driving through.

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