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Apr 29, 2015 11:35 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Town Asks If Flashing Lights Would Ease Traffic Backups

Apr 29, 2015 11:35 AM

Southampton Town officials met with Suffolk County traffic engineers on Wednesday to discuss potential hail-Mary attempts to ease congestion on County Road 39, following two weeks of severe early-morning back-ups for commuters.

Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said on Tuesday night that the town was going to pitch an idea to make the traffic signals on County Road 39 at Southampton College and at the intersection with Magee Street flash yellow during the morning rush hours, rather than cycle through red light periods, in the hope that it might keep traffic flowing quicker.

Ms. Throne-Holst said the town’s proposal would be that Town Police officers be stationed at the two intersections. In the event of a car coming off Magee Street or Tuckahoe Road, they could halt traffic manually.

“It may have an impact, it may have no impact whatsoever,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “It may not be something that’s even workable. I don’t know, we’ll see. But we need to try to do something to ease things along up there.”

The traffic lights at the two intersections are already two of the longest green lights in the county, holding for as long as four minutes during rush hour periods. In the spring of 2013, after long backups led to outrage from commuters, the county extended the green cycle of the lights from 125 seconds to 240 seconds. The lights do not turn red at all unless a car stops at the cross-street intersections.

At the time, county engineers warned that while the change appeared to alleviate the congestion then, over time the congestion would continue to build as traffic volume increased.

Observers have found that traffic during the rush hours of the spring morning commute is higher even than in the height of the summer season, as the “trade parade” of service workers streams eastward in an effort to finish construction and landscaping work at summer homes on the South Fork.

On Tuesday morning, traffic ground to a crawl as far west as the Eastport exit on Sunrise Highway.

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Well let's just through a shopping center into the mix that will help everything!
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Apr 29, 15 11:55 AM
Sorry, throw a shopping center into the mix!
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Apr 29, 15 12:09 PM
I hope the Town asked the Suffolk County traffic engineers what they thought of the proposed shopping center and how it will effect County Road 39. If they didn't ask, maybe the Southampton Press could inquire.
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Apr 29, 15 12:39 PM
Montauk Hwy corner at Canoe Place Rd (Shell station) should prohibit "Right on Red Light" from 6-10AM because cars on Montauk Hwy making that U-turn to go East get interfered with cars going thru the red light (turning on red) causing more delays.
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Apr 29, 15 12:43 PM
Non-political, are you one of the people getting interfered with?

Maybe they should have made it a traffic circle. Probably would have worked out better than that light.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on May 4, 15 6:28 PM
What time would the traffic cops begin manually directing traffic and would this be considered overtime, thus adding to the tax burden and adding insult to injury?
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Apr 29, 15 1:22 PM
Start by shutting down shortcuts from hill station rd and Cobb rd. I promise you it will provide a better pace for traffic
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Apr 29, 15 9:40 PM
Making lights blink will solve the traffic problem? This proves the town board is a bunch of simpletons. We need a new highway....period
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Apr 29, 15 11:08 PM
There are multiple locales in this country which use blinking yellow arrows to facilitate turns and ease congestion. Blinking yellows ease congestion by facilitating flow, instead of traffic backing up via the stop and go created by red lights.

You really are a special kind of mind, aren't you?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 29, 15 11:17 PM
There is a limit to how many vehicles any given road can maintain. Think of traffic along the L.I.E. through parts of Suffolk, Nassau and especially Queens. No traffic lights there just more cars than the road can handle. Well that is County Road 39.

Too many vehicles not enough road.

Road can't be widened any more than it has been. Replacing traffic signals with police will only increase the risk of a traffic officer being hit by a vehicle.

Some things cannot be ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Apr 29, 15 11:15 PM
3 members liked this comment
Couldn't have said it better myself.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on May 1, 15 11:45 AM
Impose a building moratorium during summer months...Odd/Even license plate days...Build the Great Peconic Bay Causeway...
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Apr 30, 15 12:32 AM
Wow Z all these ideas of new highwaysto help alleviate traffic, and all we needed was blinking lights. You should run for office or at least be in the think tank of MIT. Roflmao
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Apr 30, 15 7:15 AM
You do realize I am educated and fully qualified when it comes to PLCs and ladder logic. That also includes binary and hexadecimal.

Please do try not to make an *** of yourself...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 30, 15 9:42 PM
Why doesn't the Town create a light-rail train on the empty and unused during rush hour LIRR tracks? NO TRAINS RUN EAST DURING RUSH HOUR! The Westhampton- East Hampton train takes a quick 38 minutes BUT the schedule (that hasn't changed since the 1950's) only runs East at 2:54AM (3:32AM arrival EH), 9:49AM (10:27AM arrival EH) and 1:12PM. Simply run a light rail train East and West from Speonk to East Hampton every hour! Intelligently scheduled trains would be VERY popular for commuters out here. ...more
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Apr 30, 15 7:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
Just a bit of a problem with the thought. What happens to the lawn mowers, gardening equipment, the carpenters equipment, the plumbing equipment, et al

And how are these dashing dans and janes gonna get from the train stations to their work locations.

Its not like the bulk of traffic on Cty Road 39 is comprised of the east end equivalent of Wall Street workers.

we are talking primarily blue collar workers and day labor intensive workers. Sure some teachers, shop keepers, ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Apr 30, 15 11:43 AM
I agree with everything you said w/ the exception that it's not people wanting to work out East, it's where the work is-- due to overdevelopment. If the Towns had put more importance on slowing/regulating residential development in the 90s we wouldn't be where we are today and that is a fact.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Apr 30, 15 11:50 AM
Flashing light I'd rediculous! How are the locals going across 39 from Magee St? No one will let you out! Someone will get killed. If the Town Board passes the KK shopping center it will just show a pay off from the election donations to the Supervisor from the developer !Other wise it makes no sense!
By bayview (160), Southampton on Apr 30, 15 8:03 PM
Flashing light I'd rediculous! How are the locals going across 39 from Magee St? No one will let you out! Someone will get killed. If the Town Board passes the KK shopping center it will just show a pay off from the election donations to the Supervisor from the developer !Other wise it makes no sense!
By bayview (160), Southampton on Apr 30, 15 8:03 PM
The Water Mill light is the one that should be flashing. Its a much bigger cause of congestion!
By ArthurVandelay (8), on May 1, 15 6:29 AM
And a shopping center in Tuckahoe is just insane and should be denied.
By ArthurVandelay (8), on May 1, 15 6:33 AM
Extend the expressway out to Easthampton..as was proposed years ago! Anything less is a bandaid. There are too many cars for these roads to handle..period, and it will only get worse!
By sandydog21 (195), Southampton on May 1, 15 7:34 AM
It should be extended right through East Hampton, through Napeague out to Montauk and right up to the cliffs under the light house, with no guardrail.
By TheoM (16), southampton on May 1, 15 7:43 AM
2 members liked this comment
The Editor hereof might wish to question the Town Supervisor about the rumor that the question of this amber light be discussed in Executive Session prior to the next Town Board meeting.

Editor you might wanna make a rush request for all emails between Town employees and County employees concerning this matter.

Exactly what exemption to the provisions of the open meeting s law might this particular discussion fall under?

Rumor has it if you start with questioning Jennifer ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on May 5, 15 10:41 PM
1 member liked this comment