Pedestrian safety improvements that were slated to have been made beginning this fall on Main Street in Bridgehampton have been delayed by the State Department of Transportation while National Grid upgrades buried gas mains at the Montauk Highway-Sag Harbor Turnpike intersection, according to Southampton Town Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni.
The planned improvements, which were to have been completed this coming winter, include more new crosswalks with curb bump-outs and pedestrian warning lights, sidewalk improvements, a new traffic signal to replace the flashing light at School Street and Corwith Avenue, modifications to the signal at Ocean Road, and modifications to the monument island at Ocean Road to accommodate a new sidewalk and crosswalk.
The first phase of the pedestrian safety initiative began earlier this year — after years of discussion and planning driven by the death of chef and innkeeper Anna Pump while crossing the highway on foot, in a crosswalk, four years ago — with the installation of new LED lighting and sidewalk and crosswalk improvements.
Mr. Schiavoni reported on the delay at the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on Monday, fending off some critical questions from CAC members who asked why the town had been unaware of the upcoming gas main project. He explained that the town was not necessarily privy to internal communications between a utility and the state DOT.
The town, meanwhile, will continue on schedule with its part of the joint state-town pedestrian improvement project, he said. It includes the installation this fall of “driver feedback signs” that flash the speed of oncoming vehicles, enhancements to three municipal parking facilities, modification of the pedestrian crossing at the library, and an extension of local bike routes.
The parking lot work includes setting aside more handicap parking spots and installing curb ramps to make them compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Mr. Schiavoni and CAC members also discussed the town’s decision over the summer to sign a contract with a firm that will provide bicycle-sharing stations in Hampton Bays. CAC Chairwoman Pamela Harwood expressed concern that roads marked as bike routes in Bridgehampton were not wide enough, and lack designated bike lanes, so drivers “have to go into oncoming traffic to avoid” cyclists.
“How do you do a ride-sharing program” in Bridgehampton, she asked, “if there are no further infrastructure improvements to make room” for bikers?
Mr. Schiavoni said the Town Board will be watching the Hampton Bays program, and a similar one in the Village of Southampton, to decide whether to consider one for Bridgehampton.
“We think it’s a pretty good area for a bike-sharing” program, he said, with the proximity of the ocean beaches, the train station, and access to Sag Harbor on a road that has a wide shoulder, the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike. Unlike some skeptical CAC members, he said a ride-sharing program would be one way to help reduce motor vehicle traffic on local roads.