Slow Road for Crosswalks

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said on Monday that an engineer will help figure out how to best use the $700,000 in state money for pedestrian and traffic safety in Bridgehampton. Taylor K. Vecsey

Southampton Town officials are looking to hire an outside engineer to start developing a plan for improving pedestrian safety and traffic problems in the area around downtown Bridgehampton.

Tom Neeley, the town’s transportation and traffic safety director, said he has been considering various pedestrian traffic safety measures and looking at traffic and accident data but has not put an overall recommendation together just yet.

Pamela Harwood, the chairwoman of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, said she felt there was a lack of communication about what preparations were being done to spend the $700,000 state officials had secured for Bridgehampton.

“I thought that’s why I was here tonight,” Mr. Neely said.

There seemed to be general frustration that things were not moving fast enough. Kathy Conway of the C.A.C. said the group had discussed many of the same concerns about crosswalks, lighting, traffic flow, and lack of police presence — which members spent an hour and a half talking about Monday night — at a meeting last month. “Nothing has gone on in four weeks. I’m so frustrated I don’t know if I’m going to come back next month,” she said.

Two subcommittees have been formed to look at how the money could be best used for lighting and crosswalks. Nancy Walter-Yvertes reported that three changes have been recommended for the portion of Montauk Highway that is Bridgehampton’s Main Street. The first was for adding illumination to the crosswalk at the post office, as was done for the one near the Hampton Library. The post office crosswalk was where Anna Pump, the cookbook author and owner of the Loaves and Fishes shop, was killed in October.

The second recommendation was for a traffic light at the Candy Kitchen that would turn red only when a pedestrian wanted to cross. The third called for a lighted crosswalk across Ocean Road from the Nathaniel Rogers House to Almond restaurant on the south side of the highway.

If money allows, the committee would also like to see an illuminated crosswalk stretching across Main Street from the Golden Pear to the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church.

Any of these changes, Mr. Neely said, would require the support of an engineering recommendation or state study, since Montauk Highway is a state road. A Department of Transportation study of the area has not been completed.

“To hear that the study is not completed for one little stretch of road with about five, six crosswalks is really disturbing, and what can we do about that?” Ms. Harwood asked.

“That doesn’t surprise me the way that it surprises you,” Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said. “There’s a study called FIMP that’s been going on for my lifetime,” he said, referring to the Fire Island to Montauk Point coastal study.

The supervisor said the town needs to know what the community wants, and he said he felt it would be best to have a traffic engineer start developing a plan. “We have to define it very clearly,” he said, adding that traffic congestion is probably something everyone will have to live with.

“There’s no question that traffic is the number-one problem Bridgehampton faces, and it’s the most amorphous to deal with,” Peter Wilson, a C.A.C. member, said. “If there’s any way we can get some help with this — something — I think enforcement is probably a key pressure point.”

Mr. Schneiderman said he would ensure that either the police chief or captain would attend the next meeting, on Aug. 22, to hear firsthand the committee’s ongoing concerns over the lack of police presence. Due to a prior commitment, Mr. Schneiderman will not be there, but he hoped that Councilwoman Christine Scalera, who is the committee’s liaison to the town board, would attend.