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Aug 17, 2013 12:30 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Officials Recommend Traffic Light Cameras, Lower Speed Limits To Reduce South Fork Car Crashes

Aug 21, 2013 11:27 AM

State lawmakers announced several recommendations on Friday aimed at diminishing fatal accidents and the traffic congestion that follow them on the South Fork, including installing cameras on traffic signals, reducing speed limits and changing the ways state, county and local governments share emergency response services.

The report came from the South Fork Highway Safety Roundtable, a group of 25 to 30 state, county, local police officers, emergency responders, educators, and elected officials convened by State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle in response to a series of accidents that occurred on the East End last year.

The South Fork Highway Safety Roundtable has not reconvened in its entirety since last year, but the sub-groups—which focused on education, enforcement and engineering, respectively—issued recommendations to the state legislators earlier this summer, Mr. Thiele wrote in an email. He said the work groups “met several times in early 2013 and submitted recommendations to Senator LaValle and me early in the summer.”

Recommendations from the report include expanding an already established Red Light Safety Program in Suffolk County to the South Fork to deter people from running red lights, seeking ways to slow traffic around business districts and schools, enhancing education about “distracted driving” and increasing signage in areas of with dense deer populations, according to a press release from Mr. Thiele’s office.

The report also made suggestions aimed at shortening traffic tie ups following fatal and serious crashes to prevent crippling traffic jams, including “maximizing the efficiency of and reducing the response time for medical examinations done at the scene of an accident,” according to the release.

The report also credited the South Fork Highway Safety Roundtable with introducing several initiatives that have either been implemented or are being worked through the State Legislature. These initiatives include increasing fines for talking or texting on a cellphone while driving and repaving parts of Montauk Highway.

Mr. Thiele introduced legislation to allow the red light cameras to be installed on the East End to catch drivers speeding earlier this year. That legislation was referred to the Transportation Committee in April but has been stationary since then, according to the New York State Senate website.

According to the report, officials also are discussing ways to increasing safety on Flanders Road—namely by adding traffic lights and center line rumble strips, eliminating center turn lanes, and trying to create a hamlet center.

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It will be interesting to read the full report, and to see if it includes recommendations for a rail/bus component to help ease the commute traffic, similar to the experiment a few years back.

The LIRR tracks are just sitting there begging to be used more productively, right next to the many stalled cars on CR39, at times.

Mr. Thiele has previously envisioned a possible Peconic Bay Regional Transportation Authority, with scoot trains on The East End. Is he still in favor of this, ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 17, 13 12:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why is the speed limit on CR39 in Water Mill 45mph when it's 35mph further west. Shouldn't it be uniform at 35mph?
By rv (38), watermill on Aug 17, 13 1:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
Good question.

The newly redone part of CR39a has the same 45 MPH signs in spots. There is a brand new one right in front of Revco for instance, just yards from where the dump truck plowed into a Jitney a couple of weeks ago (although speed does not appear to have been a factor in that crash).

It is as if one hand does not know what the other is doing IMO.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 17, 13 2:26 PM
Thirty five is too slow period
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Aug 17, 13 3:02 PM
The posted speed limits make no sense whatsoever on most parts of 27 and 27A East of Sunrise. In Water Mill you can't go 45 at all--traffic is mostly at a dead crawl all the way to Wainscott. And in Southampton going 35 will get you rear-ended on the North Highway in either direction west of the Magee Street light. It's just a dangerous stretch of highway, with half the traffic looking to pull in/out of a driveway, and the other half rushing to get where they need to go.
By M. O'Connor (147), Southampton on Aug 17, 13 3:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on Aug 17, 13 3:49 PM
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From this meeting we have a lot of suggestions to problems that are secondary at best. Signage to reduce distracted driving? If the law doesn't deter somebody, I doubt a sign will. How many fatalities have we had from deer strikes (except the deer)?

Sounds like they had a meeting on how to raise revenue and protect insurance companies, not solve problems.

The answer to problem at the forefront of South Fork constituents? "The report did not specify if or how these recommendations ...more
By diy_guy (101), Southampton on Aug 17, 13 7:18 PM
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The road is not dangerous, people are dangerous animals.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 17, 13 9:35 PM
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They need to figure out how to wrap up fatal crashes quicker, without comprising evidence. Where should the speed limit go? It 35mph, which is artificially low. 45mph is fine for that road, they don't make the Speed Limit 45mph, because people will go 55-60mph some do now with the limit at 35mph. I remember when it was 55 mph and no one had smartphones and there were no fatal accidents.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Aug 17, 13 11:19 PM
CR 39 has been an extremely dangerous road for as long as I can remember...long before smartphones. I am sure that they don't help matters, but come on, you cannot deny that this has been a road to avoid if possible for at least 35 years-regardless of speed limits or innovative technology!
By S'hamptonNative (84), Southampton on Aug 18, 13 12:29 PM
Just wait for the mall in Tuckahoe! You ain't seen nothing yet.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 18, 13 7:18 AM
yes and the low income housing project on Sandy Hollow ROad !! hey thers several towns just to the west that WOULD LOVE some low income qualified excellent tenants! its the
and the 88 condos on Bishops Lane ..
and all those houses that mat lauer is building
.. and
the new CPI Dveelopment !! yay
and all that NEW TAX REVENUE that WONT spare anyone any tax dollars ..
By david h (405), southampton on Aug 27, 13 2:31 PM
Mr. Thiele and the rest of the officials should be discussing the extension of the Sunrise Highway, with the proper exits to each of the towns and hamlets like in the western sections of the canal. CR 39 was not and can not be designed for the four lanes of traffic, and even if you lower the speed limit. Law enforcement has to be always present to keep those from speeding between the lights. The accident which the 28 year old mother was terrible, but with the traffic lanes like they are it was ...more
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on Aug 18, 13 7:19 AM
What is really interesting is that we didnt seem to have this problem before the county decided to expand 39. It was fine with idling cars backed up on 27 coming into a single lane, but some genious decided to change that. Now we have increased traffic volumes on our backroads and accidents on the the main roads not to mention the loss of our bucolic backroads which are now major thoroughfares. Somehow Tuckahoe got a road closed to traffic and I think Noyac Rd should be as well. The businesses werent ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Aug 18, 13 7:26 AM
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Oh please there have always been accidents on cr 39. If you want to fix the problem we need to build a new hwy to handle the volume. These other ideas are worthless and are wasting money. I know we dont have the money , but we can pay trillions for wars, bankers, and a failed healthcare reform.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 18, 13 4:53 PM
"I know we dont have the money . . . "

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 18, 13 6:34 PM
I basically drive for a living and I can tell you that the bucolic backroads were warzones long before the expansion to county road 39
By Brian Bailey (36), Southampton on Aug 29, 13 11:05 AM
Ridiculous post North Sea Citizen. Our bucolic backroads are disappearing because farmers have disappeared.I guess this would all be great if it stayed just like the 1950's and nobody came here after you did.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Aug 18, 13 10:52 AM
"Too much of any 'good' thing..."
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 18, 13 11:07 AM
Shazam North Sea! I'm with you, slow em down, the citiots will still come and leave their $$$$ behind!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 18, 13 1:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
You can call people "citiots" all you like, but it's locals who are involved in these killer accidents. I wouldn't be calling the kettle black.
By btdt (449), water mill on Aug 29, 13 9:36 PM
Speed cameras are the only solution. People won't change or slow down unless you hit them in their wallets.
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on Aug 21, 13 4:56 PM
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And then take 1/2 of that $$ and give it to a private business who installed the camera. Sounds like America to me! *cue eyeroll*
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 23, 13 11:59 AM
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Its a good idea and will pay for itself on Noyac road alone. I drive the limit on purpose and am usually the guy with cars and trucks piled up behind me and obviously we do not have enough police available for our area. Also the speed limit needs to be consistant. There are mutlitple chnages on North Sea and Noyac Roads.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Aug 24, 13 7:40 AM
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Why don't the police patrol this area?
They are not out there. I travel this every day several times and there is no sign of any law enforcement out there.
We have town, state and troopers able to patrol and ticket, but nobody is out there.
On the rare occasion you find the traffic going 30 to 35 mph, you find a visible patrol car monitoring traffic a couple of miles up the road. It does slow traffic down.
But there is no one out there during rush hour

By ADAMSG (53), EAST QUOGUE on Aug 30, 13 8:11 PM