Plan for Slowing Sag Harbor Traffic

Serve Sag Harbor, a new nonprofit organized to tackle problems in the village, has a plan to tame traffic by narrowing the roadways with the help of sidewalk landscaping and large planters.

In a proposal made to the village board on Tuesday evening after several months of working with consultants, the group zeroed in on 7 of 19 intersections it had identified as problematic. The idea is to restripe the asphalt, add crosswalks, widen the sidewalks with greenery and curb extensions, and, along the perimeter of the sidewalks, add planters — or whalers’ barrels, as Michael King, a principal at Nielson/Nygaard Consulting Services, described them.

The movable planters, which are used in cities such as New York and Phoenix, as well as Amityville and New Cassel on Long Island, would help create a barricade for pedestrians.

Susan Meade, the president of Serve Sag Harbor, said the group will work with the village board to decide on four intersections to tackle as part of a pilot project in time for June or July.

Three of the intersections are on Main Street, where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour, though drivers rarely adhere to it. “We want to slow Main Street down particularly because that’s where a lot of the speeding is happening,” Ms. Meade said.

“It’s a straightaway. It induces you to just go,” said Mr. King, an architect with 20 years experience designing streets and street networks, including the first Safe Routes to School program in the country. 

At the intersection with Union Street by the John Jermain Memorial Library and with Garden Street near the Custom House, sidewalks would be extended at the corners of both side streets. Crosswalks would be installed across from the entrance to the library on Main Street across Jefferson Street.

At Glover Street, near the Cove Deli, the no parking area would be extended. “We would tighten up corners so drivers can’t whip around so quickly,” Mr. King said.

At the Main and John Street intersection, a small roundabout is proposed. “I want to get drivers as they’re coming into town . . . to slow down to 20 miles per hour. Hopefully, they can keep that speed going through town,” Mr. King said. Sidewalks and corners at the intersection would be widened with greenery.

Other intersections targeted in the proposal are Jermain Avenue at Oakland Avenue, Suffolk Street, Madison Street, and by the Pierson Middle High School and Sag Harbor Elementary School.

An oval treatment would be installed in the middle of Jermain, just before Oakland Avenue, to slow traffic.

Jermain Avenue at the intersection of Suffolk Street would be completely redesigned. The proposal is “almost to plant a garden” so that drivers have to go around it. Mr. King suggested testing out how drivers navigate around such a space by tracing it out with the barrels. Four crosswalks would also be installed around the intersection.

At the intersection near Pierson High School where Atlantic Avenue and Clinton Street meet Jermain Avenue, the roadway would be narrowed and several new crosswalks would be added.

James Frazier, the first assistant chief of the Sag Harbor Fire Department, said he was concerned about whether the barrels would block fire hydrants and if firetrucks and ambulances would be able to maneuver around them. Mayor Brian Gilbride asked him to work with Serve Sag Harbor to ensure they would not be a problem.

Ken O’Donnell, a village board member, asked Ms. Meade and Mr. King if they had prioritized any of the intersections. The area by the library and the schools should have the priority, though they are two big projects, they said. “If you are going to choose four, maybe two big ones and two small ones,” he advised the board. However, roadwork at by the library should be postponed until the library expansion is complete, he said.

Ms. Meade said Serve Sag Harbor will deliver its report, including measured drawings, to the board once it is finalized in the coming weeks. In the meantime, “If it’s okay with you, I want to start raising money for pots. We’ll have a pot party,” she said, eliciting some laughter from the board and the audience.

“I think we’ll all work together to get some pilot projects started. I agree with you, it would be nice to get started before the summer,” the mayor said.

Renderings show what streets near the Sag Harbor schools would look like if a traffic-calming proposal is approved. Serve Sag Harbor