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Sep 16, 2009 12:29 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village officials move forward in making walkways safer for students

Sep 16, 2009 12:29 PM

By next summer, Southampton Village is planning on having safer streets for children who walk to school, thanks to a $421,000 grant from the federal government.

There are plans to place countdown timers on the corners of Hampton Road and Pine Street as well as Hampton Road and Main Street, according to Paul Campagnola, the director of transportation for VHB Engineering in Hauppauge, who is also working on the project for the village. He explained that the countdown timers help the elderly and small children cross the street rapidly, before traffic begins to move.

Pine Street is also slated to become a one-way street from Meetinghouse Lane to the municipal parking lot located in front of Southampton Elementary School, according to a presentation Mr. Campagnola gave to the Southampton Village Board on Thursday, September 10. Traffic would flow south to north.

Creating a one-way street would make it easier for students to arrive at school because they would have to look only one way when crossing Pine Street, Mr. Campagnola said.

According to the transportation presentation, 146 students live within a 2-mile radius of the elementary school and anywhere between 20 and 30 kids walk to school each day. The grant project aims to encourage more children to walk to school.

Southampton resident Christine Sullivan Witker suggested that, if Pine Street becomes a one-way street, Cameron Street, which is another one-way street running east between Main and Pine streets, should become a two-way street.

“Or make Pine Street just a one-way street during school hours,” Ms. Witker said.

Raphael Avigdor, a real estate agent based in Southampton Village, said that making Pine Street one-way could prove inconvenient to drivers in the long-run.

There are also plans in place for a minor face-lift for the parking lot in front of the elementary school, said grant writer Jen Mesiano, who helped secure the $421,000 grant, called the Safe Routes to School Grant, from the government last October. The grassy area in the parking lot will be widened and converted to a handicapped accessible walkway, Ms. Mesiano said. And the connection between the parking lot and Main Street will be smoothed out, she explained.

Amy Plum of Southampton suggested that sidewalks be installed along both sides of Hill Street from Moses Lane into town. Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley noted that the village had proposed such a project a while ago, but encountered fierce opposition.

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That's it - create in children the habit of looking only one way before crossing streets! Then give those children and old folks a countdown timer to make them move faster, regardless of changing conditions around them. Unless that thing has eyes, ears, common sense and a voice, it can't possibly do the job as well as the real live crossing guards who are doing just fine without the interference of timers. Spending $421,000 to create a dangerous situation is just plain nonsense and could be, ...more
By SusieD (115), Southampton on Sep 16, 09 7:58 PM
Finally...I remember when there were no side walks on Hampton road once you got to Leland Lane. If you walked to school, you cut across the athletic field between the High School and the Intermdiate School. Hmmm wait a minute...come to think of it there were no side walks on Narrow Lane either. We children of the 70's and 80's managed to get to school in one piece. Still, its a long time coming.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Sep 18, 09 12:41 PM