Removal of Stop Signs Rankles Members of Bridgehampton CAC

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The town’s recent removal of two stops signs on Scuttlehole Road at its intersection with Millstone Road has rankled some members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee. They complained at the CAC’s monthly meeting on Monday that southbound traffic from Millstone can no longer make left turns safely to head east on Scuttlehole Road because the traffic on Scuttlehole is too heavy and moves too fast.

In addition to removing the stop signs, the town has posted a no-left turn sign at Millstone. Left turns instead must be made from Guyer Road, a short diagonal that forms the triangular parcel where the Country Garden farm stand is located.

“I sat five minutes to make the left from Guyer and there were cars blaring at me because I pulled out in front of them,” complained CAC member Janice Delano, who prepared a detailed map of the intersection and its traffic flows.

The issue has sparked more emails and phone calls than any other recent topic, CAC president Patricia Harwood said. “It’s more of a disaster since they removed the stops signs than it was before,” she said. “I have received so much communication about this. People are unhappy about this.”

When she noted that the stop signs were installed more than a decade ago, at the same time the nearby roundabout was completed at the intersection of Scuttlehole and Mitchell Lane, several members complained about that, too. They groaned when Ms. Harwood noted the same engineering firm that had designed the roundabout is the same firm that recommended that the stops signs be removed, according to an email she read from Tom Neely, Southampton Town’s Director of Public Transportation and Traffic Safety.

The stop-sign removal was formerly proposed last spring and the subject of a public hearing before the Town Board at which no one but Mr. Neely and Supervisor Jay Schneiderman spoke in late June.

In his email to Ms. Harwood, Mr. Neely wrote that “concerns had been raised over traffic congestion at these stop signs, including traffic backing up into the roundabout on occasion. Crash records indicated there had been 2 or 3 rear end crashes” on Scuttlehole within the last three years and “appeared to be stop sign related.”

CAC member Peter Wilson defended the town’s decision to remove the stop signs and restrict left turns at Millstone. “Scuttlehole Road has too much traffic on it,” he said, noting that it and Noyac Road have become major east-west reliever arteries for Montauk Highway. The town “has no control over it” except to find ways to “keep traffic moving.”

When Bonnie Verbitsky asked what was wrong with the stop signs the town had removed, he said the one the stopped eastbound traffic on the west side of Millstone “was making the roundabout much more pathological” by causing traffic to back up into it.

“We’ve developed a road system that was designed for the horse and wagon,” Mr. Wilson said.

His solution for dealing with the Millstone-Scuttlehole intersection? “I don’t go to that intersection unless it’s life or death,” he said.

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Peter Boody is news editor of The Sag Harbor Express. Previously he was the editor of the Southampton Press for many years and also edited several other papers, including the Shelter Island Reporter and the East Hampton Press, of which he was founding editor. He was a regular correspondent for the New York Times Long Island section and wrote the novel “Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me.”