East Hampton's town board has delayed a vote on a resolution that would have banned thru traffic on eight streets just outside East Hampton Village that drivers commonly use as a shortcut to avoid congestion at the traffic light on North Main and Cedar streets.
Residents on those streets had demanded the restriction for months, saying traffic was so bad -- even after summer crowds left -- that they could not get out of their driveways and their children could not play in the streets.
Cooper Lane, Palma Terrace, Sherrill Road, Osborne Lane, Miller Lane, Indian Hill Lane, Miller Lane West and Miller Lane East match up to the roads in East Hampton Village and are typical of the narrow, curving rural roads built in the Hamptons decades ago. There are no sidewalks or shoulders and little parking space on the sides.
Bobbi Sayler said drivers regularly speed on Indian Hill Lane and added that the 30-mph limit is too high for her road. "They all come down to avoid the light at North Main Street," she said of other drivers. "We have no sidewalks, nothing."
But, after a public hearing Thursday, the town board discussed whether erecting "no thru-traffic" signs would turn the streets into de-facto private roads, paid for and maintained by all town taxpayers, but restricted so only those residents could use them.
Former East Hampton Highway Superintendent Christopher Russo told the town board that banning thru traffic would be illegal. "The only way to do it would be for them to petition to take the roads out of the town highway system," he said.
Supervisor Bill Wilkinson asked whether traffic could be restricted only during rush hours. In the end, the board decided the issue needed more study, and did not schedule a revote.