Bridgehampton Road Safety Reconsidered

Improving the safety of pedestrians on Bridgehampton’s Main Street, an ongoing concern, is closer to reality this spring, according to Southampton Town’s director of public transportation and traffic safety, Tom Neely, who described a series of changes using a $700,000 state grant at a meeting of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday. 

There has been a history of pedestrians hit by cars on Main Street. In October of 2015 Anna Pump, a partner in the Loaves and Fishes food shops and the Bridgehampton Inn, died after being hit by a pickup truck in front of the hamlet’s post office. As recently as December a woman was injured after being struck in the crosswalk in front of the Bridgehampton Inn. 

  Mr. Neely, who displayed a map pinpointing some of the corridor’s most treacherous crossings, laid out the elements of the town’s plan, saying the project should be completed by the end of June. The work will include adding and reconfiguring crosswalks, improving signs and street markings, extending existing sidewalks, and upgrading street lighting. 

Mr. Neely said the street lighting would be improved along the 1.3 miles of road from Bridgehampton Commons to Lockwood Avenue, with 19 new lights attached to existing utility poles via 12-foot arms. Eighteen existing lights will also be upgraded to meet federal standards for highway lighting, he said.

The sidewalk on the south side of Main Street is to be extended, with the goal of creating an uninterrupted passage from Ocean Road to the building that houses Citarella. “We’re looking to fill in the sidewalk gaps so that people won’t have to walk in the road,” Mr. Neely said. 

The most intensive work will be new and improved crosswalks, an effort that requires the town to work with the state’s Department of Transportation since Main Street is a state highway. “The state has final approval on everything involving the road,” Mr. Neely said, noting that as a result some of the decisions concerning the crosswalks are in flux. For instance, the state apparently is still whether to install a traffic signal on Main Street in front of the Candy Kitchen. Proposed new crosswalks at the School Street intersection and at the war monument just west of the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike are also being reviewed by the state. 

Highly visible pedestrian crossing signs are planned at the crosswalks in front of the post office, Thayer’s Hardware and Patio store, and the Bridgehampton Library. “They will be diamond-shaped yellow signs with yellow LED lights framing them,” Mr. Neely said, explaining that the town is working with engineers from the firm of L.K. McLean Associates of Brookhaven. Overhead motion detectors are to activate the lights whenever a pedestrian enters one of the crosswalks. Plus, a curb extension known as a bump-out would be added to prevent cars from parking in these spaces. “Bump-outs also shorten the distance that pedestrians have to walk in unprotected territory across the street,” Mr. Neely said.