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Roadway Tipping Point

Thu, 06/13/2024 - 11:57

Editorial

A proposed traffic circle at the intersection of Long Lane, Stephen Hand's Path, and Two Holes of Water Road in East Hampton has drawn complaints on practical and aesthetic grounds, but it represents far more than that. Though the anxiety provoking crossroad is a problem unto itself, it is also a road sign of sorts pointing at the unintended effects of growth. 

As more and bigger houses fill in the landscape, while at the same time businesses add amenities and a short-term rental scene blows up, there is a directly related increase in demand for services. And having services means vehicles, many more than the roads and intersections have evolved to handle. It is frustrating, dangerous, and there seems to be no answer.

There has never been an effective master plan for transportation infrastructure in East Hampton. From time to time, studies commissioned by local officials call for bike paths and traffic "calming" measures, mostly without meaningful progress. Planners have also called for modest development limits, which have had some impact but less than what would have been needed to limit the heavy burden on our roads, groundwater, and emergency services. For years, there has been a sense that East Hampton has reached a tipping point, but then another season comes around, and it seems worse than ever.

Whether town and village officials can put the genie back in the bottle when it comes to growth remains to be seen; it is not at all clear that they are even interested in doing so. Meanwhile, road congestion only increases, which means more so-called solutions like the Stephen Hand's Path traffic circle are ahead.
 


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