Southampton Town Councilmen Chris Nuzzi and Dan Russo took their hits in Noyac on Tuesday night by members of the hamlet’s civic council concerned about traffic in front of Cromer’s Market and the future of the proposed community center.
Pointing to a computer generated image of a proposed traffic calming solution in front of Cromer’s and the Whalebone General Store, Noyac Civic Council President Chuck Neuman looked at the councilmen and said “we need a better drawing.”
Indeed, much of the evening’s conversation was about the relative width of traffic lanes and the distance of a proposed island to the stores. George Heine, co-owner of the Whalebone, with his wife Linda, said he felt the island would discourage drivers from pulling into the parking lot to his store. His wife said the island would not allow delivery trucks to come to the store’s front door, the only place she can take delivery.
The need for a redesign of the route is based on the difficulty —Â and danger —Â of pulling in and out of the parking lot.
“We wanted the best traffic calming that was safest for the people,” said Neuman, “but without affecting the business owners.”
As proposed, a long traffic island would stretch from Bay Avenue east to the end of the parking lot. The island would sit roughly where the southern edge of Noyac Road is currently, and the roadway would then be pushed further south onto land owned by the town. The island would then separate Noyac Road from an enlarged parking area in front of the stores, and allow two way traffic to flow through the parking area. While the proposed solution would address the problem of cars backing into traffic, it would also discourage drivers heading east from turning into the lot, past Heine’s store, who would then have to drive back through the parking area to get to his store.
“They’ll just keep going to Sag Harbor,” said Heine.
Linda Heine said “most accidents happen from people speeding, and hit someone backing out. Slowing traffic at those points is the only solution.”
Most people agreed that speeding traffic coming into the hamlet’s commercial center was a problem.
“Maybe a stop sign or stop light,” one woman offered, but was quickly criticized.
“Every time you have one of those big diesel trucks waiting at a light you’re sending out pollution,” countered another woman.
Councilman Russo said he had originally proposed a stop light, but changed his mind when he realized it would create a backup of traffic.
Nada Barry suggested rumble strips, similar to those on the bridge coming into Sag Harbor, and also noted that the narrowing of Route 114 has helped slow traffic through the Village of Sag Harbor.
“The biggest danger is the speed of traffic coming into the area,” said George Heine. “This is a bypass now. We don’t just have a bunch of Mini Coopers; we get trucks with some size. I don’t see this plan working.”
“A plus with the existing plan is that nobody will be backing out into traffic,” observed Walter Tice.
“Yes, but the other side of the equation is that it does nothing for the business owners,” said Neuman.
Councilman Nuzzi said one thing that would help is a speed monitor on Noyac Road.
“We had one there,” he said,”but it was stolen.”
The town will work on getting scale drawings for the council to review.
In other news, council members criticized the news that their community center has apparently been put on the back burner while the town reorganizes its capital budget. The town announced earlier this month that the center, which the hamlet has been hoping for for about five years, will not be part of the budget until 2011.
“In a conversation with [Deputy Town Supervisor] Richard Blowes, he left the door open to move the date up,” Neuman told the audience.
The civic council has lobbied the town to purchase a five-acre parcel adjacent to Trout Pond that they hoped would be the site for a new center.
Nuzzi said the town has instructed Mary Wilson, the Community Preservation Fund manager, to appraise the property for consideration of purchase.
“We don’t even know if there is a willing seller,” said Nuzzi.
“How much CPF money has been spent in Noyac,” asked Elena Loreto. “Someone said none has. If not, let’s get some here.”
On Wednesday Wilson said CPF money has been used to buy 15 parcels in Noyac totaling 352 acres at a value of $21.5 million. Some of the larger parcels include the Dolores Zebrowski parcel and the Great Swamp. Wilson said sales in the hamlet have generated $9.9 million for the fund.