Noyac Gets Lesson in Traffic Control


Travel on Noyac Road can be hectic

One of the biggest problems faced by people living in Noyac — especially those living on or near Noyac Road — is traffic. With that traffic comes speeders, many who are rushing to points east, bypassing an ever-more crowded Montauk Highway. There have been efforts to slow traffic down, most recently with electronic signs that post drivers’ speeds, but the only real solution, according to Southampton Town Police Lieutenant William Hughes, is enforcement.

“We can give warnings to people, but warnings don’t get the job done,” said Hughes. “It takes tickets and summonses.”

Lt. Hughes was the invited guest speaker at the Noyac Civic Council’s monthly meeting on Tuesday night at the Old Noyac School House, perched just a few feet from what town officials have said is the busiest roadway they maintain.

“I don’t have any magic pill for you, or for some of the problems you have,” said Lt. Hughes. “But the best thing is that I am here.”

Lt. Hughes told the members of the civic council that it was important to have a good and open relationship between the community and the police department in order to address the many problems.

“If there’s a bad relationship, if the community and the police are not on the same page, it doesn’t work,” said Lt. Hughes. “We need to have the help of the community.”

Lt. Hughes said Noyac was different from many other areas he has worked in, intimating the degree of problems is greater elsewhere.

“In Noyac it’s not about taking back the neighborhood; it’s about maintaining a beautiful community.”

When it comes to speeders and controlling traffic, he said, “we encourage our officers to give summonses.” He said most of the patrolmen are radar trained, and many are now transitioning to laser technology.

In general, it is important for residents to be familiar with neighbors and the community. And when communicating problems with the police department, it is best to do it in person.

In an emergency, people should dial 911. But for non-emergency calls, residents should dial police at 728-5000.

“Sometimes it’s just a barking dog, but sometimes it’s a serious accident,” said Lt. Hughes. In either case he recommended asking to see a police officer in person. “You want to see the person face to face; convey the message directly.”

Civic council vice president George Heine, who owns the Whalebone General Store on Noyac Road, said he has regularly seen officers near the Morton Wildlife Preserve, and at the traffic roundabout in North Haven, but asked if there could be a greater police presence in the corridor between Trout Pond and Long Beach.

Hughes said he could have officers move from the other spots, but cautioned they would “not be able to write the warning,” meaning the yellow caution sign that recommends drivers reduce their speed to 20. Despite the recommended lower speed, the limit on the road is still 35 mph.

Resident Jim Posner, who acknowledged “taxes is a scare word,” asked Hughes if he had the budget necessary to run the department.

“No,” said Hughes, adding that more police officers would top the list of needs.

Patrick Witty asked what residents should do about consistent, noisy parties from rental houses.

Hughes said residents should call 728-5000, ask to see an officer, and then fill out an affidavit.

“That might be a problem, a neighbor might not want to fill out an affidavit, then go to court,” observed Witty, who asked if a police officer’s testimony alone would be enough.

“I’ve seen courts say it’s not good enough,” said Hughes.

Resident Elena Loreto, who was elected second vice president of the council Tuesday night, asked what recourse bicyclists have who have been harassed by drivers.

“If you get a plate number, contact the police,” said Hughes, who added he twice had a similar experience.

“The courts handled it very well,” he said.

In other business, civic council president Chuck Neuman told the membership he had met with Southampton Town officials about the town taking over ownership of Noyac Road from Suffolk County.

“The town has to figure out the process,” said Neuman, “we have to keep meeting with people.”

Neuman said the council would eventually put a committee together to build alliances with other communities along the road.