Finish Line In Sight for Bridgehampton Pedestrian Safety Improvements

Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee chair Pamela Harwood. Peter Boody photo

The ongoing state-funded effort to improve pedestrian safety in Bridgehampton is nearing completion, with new lighted crosswalk, sidewalk, handicapped ramp and concrete work from the monument at Ocean Road west to Butter Lane nearly complete except for some wiring, Thomas Neely, Southampton Town’s director of public safety and transportation reported to the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday.

Mr. Neely said the new state crosswalks that have embedded, in-street warning lights will be fully functional in the spring, after new three-color traffic signals are installed and activated at School Street and Ocean Road, where existing lights will be replaced.

A lot of progress was made from mid-November into December but cold weather in January stopped the ground work, said Mr. Neely, who last reported on the project to the CAC at its monthly meeting in November. The CAC had no December meeting.

Mr. Neely called on the CAC to form a subcommittee to help the town chose the trees to be planted to replace the eight that were removed in December to make way for sidewalk work.

Among other topics reviewed at the CAC’s freewheeling, 90-minute meeting, members and visitors expressed concern about word that the Sag Harbor Fire Department might be considering establishing a museum for its antique equipment collection at the vacant Falkowski farm stand site on Scuttle Hole Road at Millstone Road. “They need to keep their little keisters over in Sag Harbor,” said one man, a visitor from the public.

Michael Daly of North Haven, a member of the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals, came to the meeting to urge CAC members to “think out of the box” about affordable housing solutions that the community should present to the Town Board in order to “create an environment in the town so that housing that is affordable can be built.”

He said the North Sea CAC “got all excited about going to the Town Board and making recommendations” to allow homeowners to convert their structures into multi-family dwellings.

“I think you’d like it to come from you,” Mr. Daly said of proposals for affordable housing, instead of being “imposed on you.”

He handed out a sheet from his organization East End YIMBY, short for “Yes In My Backyard,”  with basic facts about affordable housing options. “Every village and hamlet in the five East End townships,” it reads, “owes their fellow community members best efforts to ensure that there are enough dwellings for our young and old, business owners, veterans and community servants. Each village and hamlet has an opportunity to craft a plan on how to effectively provide for their community housing needs and then to request help in securing the resources needed to enact their plan …”

Earlier in the meeting, CAC members had complained that the Bridgehampton Hamlet Plan is out of date and the town building codes “are allowing overdevelopment,” as the board’s chair, Pamela Harwood, put it. At the same time, “We have this affordable housing problem yet the town code allows our [existing] affordable housing to be torn down in favor of huge houses,” she said.

The message seems to be: “If you want to overbuild, come to Southampton Town,” Ms. Hardwood said.