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State Gives Green Light for Illuminated Village Crosswalks

East Hampton Village takes on responsibility of maintenance, while state foots the bill for installation.

After more than a year of waiting, East Hampton Village has received approval and funding for illuminated crosswalks across Main Street, which is part of the state highway.

When the , it was said that there was no other form of pedestrian safety such as this on Long Island.

The board decided to seek approval for the lit crosswalks on Main Street at Huntting Lane, by , and The Circle, near , to increase safety where there are four lanes of travel. Safety and warning devices will be at either side of the crosswalks. A push of a button and a light will flash that will warn drivers to slow down and stop as the pedestrian passes. There will be a 9-by-12 inch sign above the button with instructions.

The State Department of Transportation Regional Traffic Engineer Frank Pearson said in a letter to Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. that he was hopeful the work would be completed before Memorial Day. The project is estimated to cost $125,000.

The state did propose an agreement where the village would pick up the responsibility and cost of maintenance and repair of the two lighted crosswalks, which the board okayed during .

Village Administrator said the municipality would be responsible for maintaining the system for approximately 15 years. "As a result of that we may be assuming some liability for maintaining it, as well," he said, adding that a contract with an outside vendor might be necessary to inspect it.

"Well, considering how long it took us to get them to agree, I'd hate to see how long it would take for maintence -- it would never be working," said Deputy Mayor Barbara Borsack. "So I think that's the best possible solution."

CUL8R January 25, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I think it will be a waste of money - people never use them at night anyway - they just run or walk slowly across the street not even in a cross walk!
Preliator January 25, 2012 at 05:38 PM
If it saves one persons life it is worth it.
Lys Marigold January 25, 2012 at 06:31 PM
After driving around Jordan (Middle East), we wondered why East Hampton didn't have such a simple solution as installing reflective speed bumps before ALL crosswalks -- the kind that make high-pitched noise as well as jiggle the car. All drivers know that these bumps mean Slow Down and Look for Pedestrians. Even on highway crossings. Only we don't have camels to worry about....
Yes Yes January 25, 2012 at 07:07 PM
It's a start
Kevin Gray January 25, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Needed but might contribute to increased traffic congestion. I agree with Preliator...if it saves one life...
Barbara Borsack January 25, 2012 at 08:01 PM
These are visible in daylight as well as at night.
Barbara Borsack January 25, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Because Route 27 (Main Street) is a state highway we are very limited in what is allowed. The state will not allow speed bumps.
tm January 25, 2012 at 08:03 PM
worst idea ever
Bruce January 25, 2012 at 10:06 PM
The problem is that it's a main highway, with two lanes of traffic in each direction. Even though it's 30 mph, average speed is 40-45 mph on Main Street. Then there are the jaywalkers. If one is lucky enough to make it to the center median, without being mowed down, your stuck there until traffic is clear in the other direction. Probably, a raised median down the center of Main Street would help, safety wise. That's the state highway problem. The village can only request it. There is no simple solution, other than using a marked crosswalk and hope drivers yield the right of way.
matt stutterheim January 26, 2012 at 03:39 PM
I've been thinking about this for a long time. At night, it is very hard to see someone in dark clothing, but I'd suggest another location which would be Newtown Lane by Babette's In parts of Canada they use very narrowly focused lights which cast a rectangular beam across the crosswalk so it's easy to see anyone crossing or trying to cross. saving such a lighted safety zone at the painted crosswalk might persuade pedestrians to stay within the lines.
CUL8R January 26, 2012 at 03:50 PM
The main problem is the terrible lighting along main street at night. Its nearly impossible to see anyone crossing in a cross walk or jay-walking. Wondering will lights on the cross walks make it worse than it already is?! Perhaps something can be stepped by by patrol cops or TCO's in regards to jay-walkers?! They're the ones that just dart across the roadway! I personally don't have a problem with main street and the cross walks during the day.
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) January 26, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Just FYI to the readers: The DOT got back to me today. The project is estimated to cost $125,000.
Yes Yes January 26, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Just another reason to avoid the village in the summer.
Walter Noller January 27, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I agree with Matt. Not seeing pedestrians is the issue at night. Giving them control of a light will make it another eyesore and to say many (especially in summer) have little regard for both their safety and the effect they cause on vehicle traffic is an understatement. I'm afraid this will have a negative effect and considering the cost/maintenance factors, a less than stellar move. BTW, do we have locals doing the work or outside contract? There's got to be a better way of providing illumination so as not to make things look even more "city-like". So much for light pollution as an issue.
Walter Noller January 27, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Frank Pearson said that he was hopeful the work would be completed before Memorial Day. ..A mere 21 weeks from now.. No wonder it cost so much. Look, I'm all for safety, but also for personal responsibility both for drivers and pedestrians. You drive with lights so as to see and be seen, but little thought is given by the "stealth" person, dressed in black who thinks a driver will see him/her crossing. Common sense is underutilized but shouldn't be compensated with more rules and lights.
David Buda January 27, 2012 at 03:14 PM
The biggist pedestrian jaywalking problem is in front of the movie theatre, as patrons dart across the street to or from the access to the parking lots. If only someone could design an attractive, non urban looking, barrier system (with plantings) for either the curb lines or the center of the roadway for a distance in front of the theatre. Then use of the crosswalks would become a no-brainer. And, how about some statistics on how many tickets were issued by Village Police in 2011 to motorists that ignore the crosswalks, and to pedestrians that jaywalk. I suspect the numbers are quite low.
David Buda January 27, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Also, the State D.O.T. and the Village should consider broad, paved "speed humps" (not bumps) which are effectively used for "traffic calming" in many domestic and foreign jurisdictions. "Speed humps are three to four inches high and 12-22 feet long. To avoid driver discomfort, the vehicle must slow down to a speed of 15-20 mph while traveling over them." (http://www.ctre.iastate.edu/research/roadhump/) If there was a traffic hump at each crosswalk, with the crosswalks placed in center of the elevated portion, stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks would become almost self-enforcing.
Debra Brodie Foster January 27, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Barbara, what do they look like? Do they project glare into the eyes of motorists or are they showing light in a rectangle casting downward toward the middle. The State DOT always does urban lighting overkill. It sounds like this is a done deal. What do the other East End Towns do?
todd January 27, 2012 at 05:55 PM
If people want to jaywalk and not use crosswalks then good luck to them. That's no reason not to have a safe crosswalk for those with young kids in tow.
Barbara Borsack January 27, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Deb, these lighted crosswalks consist of lights set into the pavement which flash, warning motorists that there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk. We drove to Brookhaven Hospital to look at one that is in use for people crossing to the hospital and it's my hope that they will not be terribly intrusive in our beautiful village, but of course until they are in we won't know exactly how they'll fit into the landscape. There have been many accidents at these crosswalks and we are hoping to avoid a fatality. We are unique in the way the state road cuts through the commercial district and are very limited as to what the state will allow us to do. It's a conundrum!
Barbara Borsack January 27, 2012 at 06:43 PM
The village would much prefer something like speed bumps or humps but the state will not allow it. This is something that has been debated and explored for years and we are, unfortunately, very limited by the state as to what can be done.
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) January 27, 2012 at 11:41 PM
I would like to thank Village Deputy Mayor Barbara Borsack for being so active in this discussion on East Hampton Patch.
Bruce January 28, 2012 at 02:54 AM
I agree with David. A center median 6-10 feet wide with ornamental shrubs on Main Street, extending from Newtown Lane to David's Lane would eliminate the jaywalking problem. You still would have to maintain two lanes of traffic in each direction. Ingress onto The Circle from the westbound lane would be lost unless an opening was incorporated for it. A third crosswalk could also be designated in that location. What you don't want to do is slow it down with too many restrictions as you will develop backups in both directions. The state usually only moves when you have a area of roadway with a high rate of personal injury. I have not heard of too many accidents on Main Street with injury over the years. I suspect NY State is more interested in vehicular traffic than pedestrians so it will never happen.
Barbara Borsack January 28, 2012 at 01:30 PM
I am always happy to participate in any discussion as long as it remains civil and on point. It helps to hear others' ideas and opinions - that's how elected officials can do their jobs most effectively! This is a difficult problem that has been discussed and puzzled over for many years now. I think every idea that has been brought out in this discussion has already been floated and then dismissed for various reaons, most having to do with what the state will allow. (I love the idea of a center median - but it is uimpossible due to many access points along Main Street) There have been a number of serious accidents at the crosswalks in the past few years - some serious and some not, but the potential is clearly there. It is always difficult to balance the (sometimes) opposing issues of safetly and asthetics, which is something we struggle with constantly in the village where too much traffic is one of our biggest concerns - not many communities have the state highway going right through the middle! I appreciate everyone's thoughts and want to assure all that this has been something we've taken a lot of time to think about and research and we are hoping for the best. We don't always make the right decisions but we try hard!.Hopefully these crosswalks will be a step in the right direcion without urbanizing our beautiful village. We all share the same concerns!
David Buda January 28, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Perhaps the EH Town Government officials can learn from EH Village Deputy Mayor Borsack's philosophy of embracing participatory democracy. Kudos, Barbara! Now, please tell us how many tickets were issued by the Village Police in 2011 to motorists that ignored the crosswalks, and to pedestrians that were caught jaywalking.
Barbara Borsack January 28, 2012 at 04:13 PM
LOL! Well David I can tell you that at least one ticket was issued for a motorist because a family member got - and paid - it! I don't have a number off the top of my head but I can get it for you. In terms of jay walking, that is a nearly impossible ticket to give out. According to state law "jaywalking" is walking across a street in a diagonal direction and technically a pedestrian always has the right of way, so the term "jay walking" is not what we all think. Again - we've discussed this many times and its not an easy one!
Barbara Borsack January 28, 2012 at 04:15 PM
P.S. We also encourage our police to be "use friendly" and not overly agressive. We don't want to live in a police state but it is a delicate balance! Not always done perfectly but we try, I promise!

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