East Hampton Town Board members were well on their way to approving the installation of a roundabout on Stephen Hands Path on June 18 — until a dissident voice gave pause to ponder.
Highway Superintendent Steve Lynch told the board what members already know: the intersection of Long Lane, Two Holes of Water Road, and Stephen Hands Path is a traffic jam waiting to happen, especially during the summer.
“It’s become quite dangerous,” pointed out Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, who noted traffic can back up all the way to Route 114 on the west and Cedar Street to the east.
Lynch pointed out a portion of Stephen Hands Path near Route 114 frequently floods, exacerbating the situation further.
Planners had already researched the various kinds of traffic control measures available, including four-way stop signs, traffic lights, and more.
“Roundabouts are way safer,” said Planning Director Marguerite Wolffsohn, who suggested the town pony up some money for further study. Lynch pointed out there is enough room without infringing on private property, and that large trucks would be able to maneuver through it.
Jeff Bragman, the board’s newest member, threw a wrench into the works. He said he frequently comes upon the intersection, usually three times a day, and noted the farm vistas and rural view, which he called “breathtaking.”
Then there were the matters of due diligence under the state’s environmental laws and of examining alternatives. What weighed heavily in his opinion, he said in an interview afterward, was the cost of the East Hampton Village roundabout on Route 114 and Toilsome Lane, said to be $1.6 million. Called “the jug-handle,” it is by no means popular with local drivers.
“I’m not in favor of it,” he told the board, referring to the latest roundabout being discussed.
Van Scoyoc, though, persisted, and after discussing the speed limit — “no one pays attention to it” the supervisor said — the board agreed to allow Wolffsohn and Lynch to gather more info.