Push Is On to Finish Downtown Bridgehampton Pedestrian Safety Project

Work is underway to install a new three-color traffic light, new sidewalks and curb bump outs for the crosswalks at the staggered intersection of Corwith Avenue and School Street at Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton. Peter Boody photo

After a delayed start, the push is on to finish a long-planned, state-funded pedestrian safety improvement project in downtown Bridgehampton by December 31, with construction crews at work this fall on both sides of Montauk Highway at multiple locations in the business district.

Meanwhile, completing one part of its complementary traffic safety project, the Town of Southampton has installed 10 solar-powered driver-feedback signs around Bridgehampton to encourage compliance with local speed limits on the community’s ancient and temptingly long and straight roads.

A driver-feedback sign recently installed on Hildreth Lane in Bridgehampton.

Reporting on the work at Monday’s monthly meeting of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, Tom Neely, Southampton Town’s director of transportation and traffic safety, said the state’s crews were striving to meet an incentive deadline for completing the work by the end of the year. If work is delayed, the contract provides a fallback deadline of April 15, he said. In either case, the project will be complete by the advent of the 2020 summer season in the congested highway corridor.

“We’re making progress,” he said.

CAC member Nancy Walter-Yvertes praised the work. “It really looks great. It has really come a long way,” she said.

The CAC, through a committee that included Ms. Walter-Yvertes, Julie Burmeister, Carey Millard, and Fred Cammann, worked with Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., and Mr. Neely to push for pedestrian safety improvements after chef and innkeeper Anna Pump was struck and killed crossing Montauk Highway in October 2015.

This week much of the work has been focused on the complex intersection of School Street and Corwith Avenue, a staggered junction at Montauk Highway by the Candy Kitchen, where a new full-functional red-amber-green traffic light will be installed to replace the flashing light there now. Improvements also will include controls for pedestrians to control the light, new sidewalk ramps and curb bump outs to deflect traffic from pedestrians entering crosswalks.

Work is also underway at four other locations in the central business district to install pedestrian-controlled flashers, curb bump outs and sidewalk ramps. They include the post office, where curb and sidewalk work appears to have been completed; the municipal parking lot at Thayer’s Hardware; and the intersection of Montauk Highway with Butter Lane and Church Lane, where a triangular island to separate traffic is also under construction at the terminus of Church Lane; and the notably pedestrian-unfriendly Ocean Road-Sag Harbor Turnpike intersection at the war monument.

Work does not appear to have begun there. It will include improvements to the traffic light, as well as new crosswalks and sidewalks at all points around the intersection, including two new crosswalks that will connect the monument island in the middle of Ocean Road’s terminus to the widely separated east and west sides of the street. That work will include a sidewalk that will wrap around the base of the war memorial, which has always been a no-man’s-land for pedestrians.

The first phase of the pedestrian safety initiative began earlier this year with the installation of new LED lighting and sidewalk and crosswalk improvements at the Hampton Library.

The town’s part of the joint state-town pedestrian improvement project includes the installation of driver-feedback signs on Lumber Lane, Sagaponack Road, Hildreth Lane, Pauls Lane, Newlight Lane and Ocean Road.

The town is also making 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.