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The Mast-Head: Ahead of Her Time

Wed, 08/16/2023 - 17:45

It is a sad state of affairs that all anyone is talking about this summer is traffic. Too many vehicles, bad roads, slapdash intersections are topics above all else.

Tie-ups are developing in new places because of the volume, such as where Swamp Road meets Route 114 northbound. Driving east into Amagansett, as well as in Montauk, speeds drop to nearly nothing. In the letters section this week, there are two contributions about the same road — Stephen Hand’s Path — about two separate problems.

Plenty of things contribute, like vehicles stopping for pedestrians one after the other. Then there are the irritating “courtesy stops,” as I call them, when a driver cheerfully holds up a line of cars to let someone make a left (of all things). Not that long ago in Montauk, a woman on a bicycle was run over by a Jeep as it was waved across by an oncoming driver at dusk; the woman had no idea what was coming and was killed just yards from home.

Grouch that I am, I am pleased that the Long Island Rail Road bridge over my street, Cranberry Hole Road in Amagansett, is closed indefinitely. There have absolutely been fewer speeders this summer. Won’t last, though.

Smartphone maps are putting drivers onto all sorts of circuitous routes, so they will reach it before long. More than 20 years ago, Jodi Della Femina was vilified for giving up some of the alternatives to Montauk Highway in her book “Jodi’s Shortcuts.” Ms. Della Femina was simply ahead of her time.

Following up, a reader responded to something I wrote about black Audis and their drivers with a riddle: “Do you know what the difference is between a porcupine and an Audi? The porcupines have the pricks on the outside.”


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