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Village votes to reduce speed limit to 25 mph from 30 mph

The speed limit in Brightwaters was reduced from

The speed limit in Brightwaters was reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph in a vote Tuesday. Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Brightwaters board members voted to reduce the speed limit of the 1-square-mile village to 25 mph from 30 mph.

Trustee Carmine Chiapetta was the lone dissenter in a 4-1 vote Tuesday night.

Chiapetta said following the meeting that he was theoretically in favor of reduced speed limits, but he was concerned village officials do not know whether the slower limit will change drivers' behaviors.

"We have no mechanism in place to determine how effective the reduction in speed limit is going to be," he said. "Our code enforcement officers cannot issue moving violations. In all fairness to my colleagues, it can't hurt."

There was no lengthy discussion Tuesday, but a public meeting on the matter was held Aug. 6 that garnered opinions on both sides of the issue, Brightwaters Mayor John J. Valdini said.

Valdini said before Tuesday’s vote that reducing the village speed limit would cost about $5,000, which includes the cost of replacing about 50 road signs. He said about one-third of the signs were going to be replaced anyway because of deterioration. Brightwaters has a population of about 3,000.

"It's time for people to take personal responsibilities for their actions," Valdini said. "It's our neighbors. It's our friends. It's the people in our village who do the speeding."

Valdini acknowledged that unless Suffolk police step up enforcement, it's on the shoulders of residents to police themselves.

"We don't need the police to baby-sit us. We can do it ourselves," he said.

Officially changing the village code through New York State could take about a month, which is when the lower speed limit will take effect, Valdini said.

Ken Sclafani, 64, a Brightwaters resident of more than 30 years who attended Tuesday night's meeting, said he's cautiously optimistic the new lower limit will create a positive change.

"It makes it safer for people like me — who follows the rules," he said. "It is not going to make it safer for people who barrel down the street."

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