Town Deficit? Yes — Of Parking

   To reiterate an observation made on this page last week, East Hampton Town is sorely in need of more beach parking. This is no secret; residents know all too well how crowded it gets. You can forget about finding a parking space at any of the ocean lots if you arrive later than noon on a sunny Saturday or Sunday. On the busiest days, police have set up traffic barricades at Ditch Plain in Montauk and turned vehicles away at Atlantic Avenue, Amagansett. Chaos is the result and understandable frustration the lingering sentiment among residents and visitors.
    On Independence Day this year at Napeague Lane, some drivers dropped their passengers near the beach and then circled back to park along Montauk Highway. Parking along this stretch of road, where the speed limit rises to 55 miles per hour and people step on the gas to get east to Montauk, is an unacceptable risk for those who park there, as well as for passing motorists. Obviously, much more parking is needed.
    One short-term possibility would be to allow parking along certain side streets where there is adequate width for a row of cars. Town officials, who have looked the other way for decades, might be loath to annoy homeowners on lanes near the beaches, but those who live north of the highway have a right to get to the ocean, too. A recent proposal informally discussed at Town Hall to allow for cars along one side of Indian Wells Highway in Amagansett was basically laughed off. Perhaps it should not have been so hastily dismissed.
    Tacitly encouraging beachgoers to park along Montauk Highway as on Napeague — or to just give up and go home — is no answer. East Hampton Town Board members and Highway Superintendent Scott King should sit down together in a spirit of cooperation as soon as possible to at least come up with a temporary solution.