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Say Farewell to Muddy Feet

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 17:41

A long-held plan to improve the westbound bus stop in Amagansett recently came to fruition when a flat brick surface was installed on Main Street in front of Gansett Green Manor. Two new benches accommodate waiting passengers.

On Saturday, Joan Tulp, co-president of the Amagansett Village Improvement Society, and East Hampton Town Councilman David Lys, the town board’s liaison to the hamlet’s citizens advisory committee, met at the new-and-improved bus stop to celebrate the aesthetic and structural improvements. 

The waiting area by Gansett Green Manor, which used to be a sea of mud after every rain, has been dug out, raised up, connected to the walkway from the municipal parking lot, and paved with bricks, a solid and good-looking foundation for two brand-new benches. That project, which was in the works for a year or so, cost about $50,000.

“AVIS has been trying to get this fixed for a long time,” Ms. Tulp said. “It just wasn’t getting done. Finally, David came along and helped us.”

Draft plans and a bond issue to finance the project were in hand but dormant, Mr. Lys recalled. “One of the first initiatives when I came on as liaison to the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee was to shepherd this through,” he said. “I have a strong feeling that no one should leave East Hampton with mud on their feet, and that’s what they were doing, for years.”

“And with no place to sit,” Ms. Tulp added, the benches having sunk too deep into the mud for some to sit comfortably. “Older people couldn’t sit down.”

The new installation complies with the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act, and includes an access ramp.

“You’d be surprised at the number of travelers that use this stop specifically,” Mr. Lys said, owing to the nearby municipal parking lot, which includes a section for long-term parking. “You’d be surprised, a lot of people come from the parking lot with walkers.”

AVIS purchased the benches from Hildreth’s Home Goods in East Hampton. They will be adorned with plaques recognizing the society and the Hampton Jitney, Ms. Tulp said. 

“We’re thrilled,” she said on behalf of AVIS. “It looks beautiful. I’ve already gotten compliments about it.”

Other kinds of transportation are also getting attention in Amagansett. The train station, where, even in winter, people picking up or delivering passengers often had nowhere to park thanks to cars left in the same spot for weeks or more, is now displaying signs restricting parking. Seventy-two hours is the new limit — enough for a Tuesday-to-Thursday city run but not enough to cause a Friday-night vehicle spillover onto Montauk Highway, as in the past. 

At Monday night’s monthly meeting of the hamlet’s citizens advisory committee, Mr. Lys announced that the town, which owns one side of the station (the Long Island Rail Road owns the other) has “cleaned up” the area and trimmed the hedges on its side. He also noted, to applause, the good news about the westbound bus stop.

Pedestrians, too, will see some changes in the hamlet in the near future. Bluff Road is scheduled for repaving, which was to have been finished by Memorial Day, “but all the rain is backing it up,” the councilman told the committee. And on Main Street, where two new crosswalks are being replaced following improper installation and “some vandalism” (footprints and fingerprints), bricking and new concrete are on the way. The coming of the crosswalks will mean the loss of a few parking spots, Mr. Lys noted.

Also at Monday night’s meeting, Caroline Cashin, a member of the advisory committee who is an Amagansett School parent and the recently elected president of the PTA, said the school had advised her as Easter approached that “the community didn’t want decorating in front of the school on holidays.” She did not say what kind of decorations were involved. 

Others on the committee appeared taken aback; several said the school should not have spoken for the “community” and that they would be particularly sorry to lose the Halloween scarecrows. It was unanimously resolved that Jim MacMillan, chairman of the committee, write to Maria Dorr, the principal, and Seth Turner, the district superintendent, in support of Ms. Cashin.

On Tuesday, however, Ms. Dorr disputed Ms. Cashin’s version of events. “Not at any time were they told they couldn’t put [decorations] up,” she said. “We just have to check them. We have to ensure, as a district, that the fire and electrical codes are met, and we do not support the use of balloons. Our kids are passionate about no balloons,” she said, having watched a Surfrider Foundation presentation not long ago about their harmful effect on marine life. 

The advisory committee will hold elections for new officers at its next meeting, on June 10 at the American Legion Hall. Mr. MacMillan was nominated Monday for another term as chairman; Arthur Schiff was also nominated. Vicki Littman was nominated to succeed herself as vice chairwoman, while Rona Klop­man and Randi Ball were nominated as co-secretaries. Other nominations may be made from the floor at next month’s meeting.

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