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Apr 17, 2012 6:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

A Sidewalk To Nowhere On Highway In Water Mill

Apr 25, 2012 11:12 AM

The new Parrish Art Museum building has its first new feature in place: a sidewalk—to nowhere.

Earlier this month, construction crews diverted traffic on Montauk Highway as they put the final smoothing touches onto the broad new concrete walkway, which leads from the grassy lawn of the Duck Walk Vineyards at one end to the dirt driveway of Heirloom Gardens garden center at the other.

The construction of the sidewalk was not planned to allow for the disembarking of busloads of museum visitors on the roadside, or to accommodate overflow parking of cars for popular museum events. Rather, the incongruous sidewalk was mandated by the State Department of Transportation as part of the approval for the museum’s project, which will also fund a road widening along the stretch to accommodate turning lanes.

“It’s not something we proposed or requested,” said Parrish spokesman Mark Segal. “We had to put it in as part of the widening, but it’s not like anybody is going to use it.”

State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Eileen Peters said that it has been standard practice for two decades to require any privately funded project that is widening a state roadway to construct a sidewalk. The policy is part of a state vision far into the future of roadways that are more pedestrian and bicycle friendly—even in areas where the sidewalk seems unlikely in the foreseeable future to connect to any other stretch of sidewalk that could conceivably lead to, or from, somewhere.

“It may be a sidewalk to nowhere now, but who knows what it will be many years down the road,” she said. “The roads are not just for cars, and we’re looking to the future.”

Early in the planning process for the new building, the museum had tried to get out from under the sidewalk requirement—an effort that drew the support of state Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. When the state DOT refused to waive the sidewalk construction policy, Mr. Thiele arranged for the state to fund about $5,000 of the $25,000 construction cost.

“If this were in more of an urban or suburban environment, I could see this requirement making sense,” he said. “My feeling was that if the state is making this stupid requirement, the state can pay for it.”

MICHAEL WRIGHT

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Ahem, beg to differ.

The sidewalk leads to the Fiddle Section of the East End Roman Symphony ("EERS").

Our NYS DOT tax dollars spent insanely once again, not to allow for buses etc.. Looking forward to the traffic accidents here due to poor planning -- hopefully there will be no fatalities.

Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle!
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Apr 20, 12 12:26 PM
Perhaps the sidewalk IS an artistic statement. What is art? If Ms. Vered donated her legs to the Parrish, would they be allowed to walk the sidewalk--as a metaphor perhaps to the perversion and commercialization of art? Maybe other art could be dispalyed along the sidewalk and people could walk down and appreciate the, well, sidewalk art... Sometimes nowhere is somewhere.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Apr 20, 12 12:33 PM
2 members liked this comment
Paint it, and make it a bike lane.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 21, 12 2:55 PM
Ugly sidewalk to match ugly building.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Apr 26, 12 8:02 PM