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Dec 19, 2011 12:21 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sidewalk Proposal Causes Stir In Tuckahoe

Dec 21, 2011 10:00 AM

Homeowners on the western side of Tuckahoe’s Magee Street expressed concerns about a proposed sidewalk construction project at a public meeting on the proposal at the Tuckahoe School library on Friday.

The worries the small group presented to officials included concerns about maintenance, including clearing the sidewalk of snow and trimming hedges currently in the town’s right of way, disturbance of residents’ property, and the possibility that new sidewalks could add to the congestion and commercialization of the street.

Southampton Town and school officials said they aimed to make the roadway more safe for walking students. “We don’t want to cut down private property, but we will try to maintain the town’s right of way and keep it safe,” said Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor.

Mr. Gregor, the Tuckahoe School Board and School Superintendent Joseph C. “Chris” Dyer walked the homeowners through what would take place if the Town Highway Department goes ahead with the project, although how much the work would encroach on private property has not yet been determined.

“Plans haven’t been made,” Mr. Gregor said at the meeting. “There will be a boundary survey in the spring to determine the border between the town’s and the folks’ property.”

The boundary survey is slated to take place in late April or early May, when the Highway Department can set aside funds to begin the planning process. The survey will determine the lines of the town’s right of way so it can be gauged how much room the town has to put in the 5-foot-wide sidewalk and how much room there would be for a snow shelf—a shoulder where snow is piled to keep it from landing on the sidewalk. The town will determine what private property in the right of way, such as hedges and driveway aprons, need to be altered to successfully install the sidewalk.

Until the survey is completed, the town will not add the sidewalk to its project list. “I would make a promise once I see what land we have,” Mr. Gregor said. Until then, he said, he can only give a rough estimate of what could be done.

According to Mr. Gregor, four private driveway aprons would need to be changed in order to accommodate the sidewalk, and some hedges may need to be uprooted and moved back a number of feet from the town right of way. Once the survey is completed, and if the project is approved by Mr. Gregor, the town will work with each household concerning the replacement of hedges and alterations to driveways.

The Highway Department estimates that it would cost approximately $28,000 to install the 512-foot-long sidewalk from County Road 39 to Sebonac Road during the 2012 summer season.

Homeowners expressed a distaste for the aesthetics of a sidewalk and the problems it might bring to the neighborhood.

“Our hedges serve as an important barrier between residents and a very busy street,” said Tuckahoe resident Nancy Miller.

Mr. Gregor assured the homeowners their hedges would only be moved and not removed. He also addressed the homeowners’ concern about snow removal. “We are sensitive to that,” he said. “It may be occasionally problematic, but we are not going to make life harder.” The town would be in charge of clearing the sidewalk of snow and other debris.

“Making it look like a school zone makes it difficult to sell homes,” another homeowner said. “It’s just ugly,” Ms. Miller added.

The Tuckahoe School Board, Mr. Dyer and Mr. Gregor stressed that it is important to address the safety concerns raised by a parent at a recent Board of Trustees meeting.

Because there is no legal way to make a U-turn on Magee Street heading south, some parents are forced to drop their students off on the west side of the street, where there is no sidewalk. According to Mr. Dyer, the biggest problem occurs when snow is piled on the shoulder, forcing children to walk on the busy street.

“The school will get bigger—you can take care of it now, or you can take care of it then, but something’s going to happen,” said Phil Matthews, a concerned Tuckahoe parent.

“We cannot afford losing or injuring a child because we could not take the safety precautions,” Mr. Dyer added.

Shortly after the request was made, the Southampton Town Board sent a letter to the Highway Department endorsing the safety a sidewalk would provide.

Mr. Dyer assured Tuckahoe School’s neighbors that the school has done everything to make crossing the road safe for students, including a new request that Tuckahoe School staff members refrain from parking on Magee Street from 7:45 to 8:15 a.m.

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OMIG such miserable people to speak against the children. And the absolutely stupid comment that a school zone makes it difficult to sell houses?! Not when you plan to live in the house you just bought at a low price; and now you just want to flip it. That kind of ---- person Tuckahoe and Southampton Town do not need. Too many flippers now any way.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Dec 19, 11 1:11 PM
It is a school zone and children's safety is the only consideration. The school was there long before these people bought homes there.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Dec 19, 11 2:04 PM
Ummmm, the school has been there for a while, correct? Any problems associated with the lack of a sidewalk? Seems like a waste of money and will help make the area look like some up the Island dump. Status quo please. Where would the funds come from? Must be from the savings from not picking up the leaves.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 19, 11 4:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
Bigfresh, you are clearly against any public improvements whatsoever, including those that create jobs and protect the safety of children. Just because the school has been there with no sidewalks for a long time means it should simply remain that way? Do you live near the school or have children there? Yeah, didn't think so. You clearly like to hear yourself talk.
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Dec 20, 11 3:31 PM
Editor: It's the "Right-of-way", not the "right away"!
By zaz (197), East Hampton on Dec 19, 11 5:47 PM
Well when we elect incompetence into office you get incompetence. Maybe the sidewalk would look good where he lives, so.... he probably spent the better part of 3 months working on a plan to install 512 linear ft of side walk somewhere in his domain. The sad sorry part of all this is our roads and highways need repair especially after LIPA, Keyspan and Suffolk Water Authority gets a hold of um. One would think the Highway Supt would spend the better part of his day riding around the rest of the ...more
By rrc1049 (63), Bridgehampton on Dec 19, 11 6:04 PM
Wanna bet his cousin's leaves got picked up...
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Dec 19, 11 6:57 PM
Anyone who has dropped their kids off on that side of the street in the snow knows very well that it's a nightmare and an accident waiting to happen. The norm would have been to put in the sidewalk only after a tragedy occurred. Thank you Mr. Gregor for being pro-active and not reactive. Perhaps a deal can be reached with the district to handle the snow removal on that small stretch of sidewalk.
By teachourkids (36), southampton on Dec 19, 11 9:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
Everybody is all for the children until we're talking about your privet hedge and your belgian blocks huh? Only in the Hamptons. Its about time, great idea and I personally look forward to walking on that sidewalk. I'd rather look at an ''ugly'' sidewalk than an alter of flowers, ribbons and pictures in memory of a student that slipped in the road and was hit by a car. You know, notwithstanding those fabulous privets.
By Glazed (21), Southampton on Dec 20, 11 7:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
I am totally for a sidewalk. It is incredibly dangerous for students who are dropped off to cross the street in the winter. During the past winter, students could not exit their cars on the non-street side because there was a five foot pile of snow making it only possible to exit street side while cars were driving by very quickly. I think the school/town has an obligation to put in a sidewalk - it is definitely an accident waiting to happen without one.
By tmarie (30), Southampton on Dec 20, 11 10:37 AM
There will still be a pile of snow between the sidewalk and the road so you still won't have safe access to a sidewalk in the snow. Even if you do manage to get to it have you seen how the town clears the sidewalks? Better pack your ice skates!
By cmac (184), East Quogue on Dec 20, 11 2:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
As the current snow removal contactor for the school i agree that this work really has to be done . After the large snows that we have had the west side has no place to put it. it just piles up out into the street after plowing . we use a large blower and shoot it into the hedge area. After a few snow falls the children are forced to walk in the street . Great idea that should have been done long ago . While you are at it alex ,how about extending the shoulder of the road on the south east side ...more
By Bestmod (8), southampton on Dec 21, 11 6:46 AM
Alex Gregor's been confused about a lot of things lately, not just the Magee St. sidewalks. He's totally confused about whether his dept. will pick up the leaves, and if so, how, and for whom. That disaster, covered in another piece on 27east, will end his career if he doesn't fix it.

Equally career-threatening is Gregor's confusion about where his loyalties are. In 2009, he ran on the ticket with Anna Throne-Holst, and they both won. They've had some squabbles since then, but that ...more
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Dec 21, 11 5:27 PM
Um Clam? You realize all of that puffery and aggression is about leaves and a sidewalk right? Pretty rough stuff. Pull out a world map, stand back and look at Southampton, NY - pretty miniscule isn't it? Now envision your street and its leaves and you start to get an idea of the scope of your problem in the scheme of things - maybe. It is not only bad karma but it is very nasty to wish that someone lose their source of income because they have to deal with several factions of knuckleheads who ...more
By Glazed (21), Southampton on Dec 22, 11 7:50 AM
No, Glazed, it's not just "about leaves and a sidewalk." You're new to this site (1st post 2 days ago), and possibly new to town affairs generally. That means you may not know all the background involved. Actually, it's clear that you don't. It's also clear that you're not familiar with the common practice of picking one aspect of a subject (here Alex Gregor's performance) as a point of departure to discuss that subject more broadly. This is something we do in adult conversation, and that's ...more
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Dec 22, 11 1:05 PM
Wrong again. You don't know, what you don't know. Careful when you judge. A quick review of your posts reveals the same misfires. It also reveals that you save your most personal attacks for Mr. Gregor. With friends like you, who needs bottom dwelling clams or their pies.
Dec 23, 11 8:44 PM appended by Glazed
look, it is obvious that Alex Gregor owns you and now I do too. There is no reason to respond directly to anyone's false narrative on mental replay.
By Glazed (21), Southampton on Dec 22, 11 8:44 PM
Your post doesn't address any of the substance of what I said, so it's pointless.
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Dec 23, 11 10:58 AM