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East Hampton OKs new lighting to improve crosswalk safety

Lighting to increase pedestrian safety will be installed at four crosswalks in Amagansett and Montauk by next summer.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell announced the plan Monday during a news conference at one of the Amagansett locations — Route 27, also known as Main Street, and Hedges Lane.

Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) also attended and said he and state Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) had secured $250,000 in state funding for the project, which will cost an estimated $350,000.

Thiele said the funding will come from the Community Projects program. Cantwell said the town will provide the remainder of the money.

Lights would be embedded in the ground and added to the pedestrian signs at the four existing crosswalks.

“They asked for a $250,000 grant at the town’s request,” Cantwell said of Thiele and LaValle in an interview before the news conference. “They’ve been strong allies for me and the Town of East Hampton.”

LaValle said during the news conference that the new lighting would help prevent pedestrian accidents and fatalities. “It’s a no-brainer,” he said.

Thiele added that pedestrian safety, particularly on Route 27, has become a priority for him and LaValle in the past couple of years.

“This is something that will focus people [pedestrians and motorists],” Thiele said. “We stole the idea from the Village of East Hampton — it was one of the first communities to do the lighting.”

Neighboring Bridgehampton also has lighted pedestrian crosswalks.

In addition to the Main Street crosswalk in Amagansett, the project will include another on Montauk Highway near the IGA supermarket and St. Michael’s Lutheran Church senior housing.

The remaining two crosswalks are in Montauk, on Montauk Highway at the Montauk circle and at South Elder Street.

East Hampton Police Chief Michael Sarlo said that one of two options for the operation of the lights is a system that requires pedestrians to push a button that will turn on the lights when they want to cross the street. Thiele said another option is having the lights come on automatically through the activation of a sensor when a pedestrian stands in a certain spot.

Cantwell said both options are being considered.

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