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Aug 26, 2009 4:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

State DOT will install traffic light on Flanders Road this fall

Aug 26, 2009 4:36 PM

The New York State Department of Transportation will install a traffic light on Flanders Road in Hampton Bays this fall, more than two years after the Southampton Town Police originally requested a new signal for the heavily traveled road.

But opinions are mixed about how a new traffic light installed at the intersection of Bellows Pond Road—it would be the only signal along the 7.5-mile stretch of highway between County Road 105 in Flanders and Old Riverhead Road in Hampton Bays—will affect traffic on what many consider to be a main thoroughfare in western Southampton Town.

“It’s just going to block up traffic and cause pollution that is not necessary,” said Glenn Abramowitz of Flanders, who lives more than four miles from the intersection but travels on Bellows Pond Road nearly every day.

Despite what some residents are saying, Town Police maintain that the new traffic signal, which will cost the state approximately $100,000 to install, will slow down drivers and reduce the number of accidents on the road.

Southampton Town Police Chief James P. Overton said that as one of the few roads that eventually connects with the Long Island Expressway, Flanders Road is one of the most traveled roads in the town. He also noted that many people use Bellows Pond Road as a shortcut from Montauk Highway, and the new light should curb both accidents and speeding along the stretch of Flanders Road. The speed limit on Flanders Road varies from 45 to 55 mph, and it is 55 mph near the intersection with Bellows Pond Road.

“It’s a smart thing to do,” Chief Overton said this week. “Otherwise, [the traffic signal] wouldn’t have been requested.”

Eileen Peters, the regional public information officer for the DOT, said the decision to install the traffic light was not made lightly. She explained that after Chief Overton requested a traffic signal, her department conducted a seven-month study before making a decision. During the study, the DOT learned that there had been several bad accidents near the intersection, including one fatality.

In April, a Westhampton man was killed on Flanders Road, near the intersection with Red Creek Road and about a half mile away from Bellows Pond Road. Police said 25-year-old Hugo Lopez-Abbac lost control of his 1997 Ford, causing it to roll over at least five times before coming to a rest in the southbound lane of the road. Mr. Lopez-Abbac, who was pronounced dead at the scene, lost control after he swerved to avoid another car in the northbound lane.

Additionally, Ms. Peters said that 25 percent of all drivers on Bellows Pond Road looking to make a left-hand turn onto Flanders Road now have to wait more than a minute before the coast is clear. She said the light will have sensors to detect cars, and that drivers on Flanders Road will have the green light for a majority of the time.

“It was determined that this area warrants a traffic signal,” Ms. Peters said, adding that it will be in place before the end of the year.

Michael Brewer, a Flanders resident and the former president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association, agrees with Mr. Abramowitz’s opinion that a traffic light is going to clog traffic on Flanders Road. He speculated that the new light would most likely lead to the installation of additional traffic signals along the state roadway. “Once you put a [traffic] light somewhere then everyone is going to want it,” Mr. Brewer said.

Flanders resident Carl Iacone, a member of the Bayview Pines Civic and Taxpayers Association, argued that a new traffic light is long overdue. But Mr. Iacone said he would have preferred that the DOT install a light at the intersection of Long Neck Boulevard, which is located west of Bellows Pond Road.

“If you don’t start somewhere, we’re going to have bodies all over the place,” he said.

Still, some residents think that other steps could have been taken to reduce the number of accidents occurring near the Bellows Pond Road intersection.

Mr. Abramowitz said the recent installation of new traffic markings might be enough to prevent accidents on the road. Prior to this month, the east- and westbound lanes on Flanders Road near Bellows Pond Road were in a passing zone for traffic traveling in both directions. In anticipation of the new traffic light, the DOT replaced the dotted line with a solid double-yellow line.

Also, state officials have created a left-turn lane on Flanders Road, allowing drivers heading west to leave the main lane of travel while waiting for a break in traffic so they can turn south onto Bellows Pond Road.

“I feel that they should now study the road,” Mr. Abramowitz said, referring to the DOT. He added that, considering the state’s fiscal crisis, it might make more sense to go with the cheaper option.

Mr. Abramowitz added that the installation of traffic lights along Flanders Road will ruin the area’s rural atmosphere.

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this is a classic example of what gov't does. it impedes progress and brings forward motion to a halt. 25% of those making a left hand turn must wait over a minute!? that amounts to 6 cars per week. if you look closer one of the politicos involved has a friend or family member on bellows...no question. and classic ''crisis'' quote from iocone...if we don't do it now, we'll have bodies all over the place...hahahahahaha.
By hamptons surfer (79), southampton on Aug 27, 09 6:38 AM
Instead of policing our roads and enforcing our laws the town repeatedly slaps up traffic lights and stop signs which do nothing to solve the problem! It is ridiculous.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Aug 27, 09 8:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
Bellow’s Road and Flander’s Road…Seriously??? How about doing something about the intersection of Montauk Highway and Canoe Place Road? Making a left onto Montauk Hwy from Canoe Place Road is nearly impossible without sitting like a duck in the middle of the road, waiting to get across to the West bound lane. Just a thought.
By AP (1), Hampton Bays on Aug 27, 09 10:48 AM
Why don't you make the speed limit 25mph and gives us all bumper cars?
By darwin (47), southampton on Aug 27, 09 12:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
Ingenious, a traffic light in the middle of nowhere. It takes the average driver around here about 1000ft to reach 10mph over the speed limit. If this road had half of the police presence as CR39 you would see the speeding and accidents drop dramatically.

CR104 should be expanded to 2 lanes and 5 or 6 additional traffic lights installed on Rt24. This would push all the traffic onto 105/104 thus eliminating all the accidents. Town officials have been presented with this idea many times ...more
By politcal pawn (121), Flanders on Aug 27, 09 1:18 PM
Make it no left turn onto or from Bellows Pond Road. Problem solved.
By BM (10), Southampton on Aug 27, 09 5:28 PM
they have to go further down toward riverhead where that first gas station is just past the junk yard there is where all the vehicles are very very busy there all day typical southampton town bs.just try to have a street light repaired by calling them 3 years and no response.anyone have any ideas?
By asurest (117), easthampton on Aug 27, 09 7:38 PM
also driver education is key
By asurest (117), easthampton on Aug 27, 09 7:46 PM
I say we add security camera's just in case they run the red light and have mannequin officers in a dummy car nearby with Pepper Andersen and a radar gun. Hum? What other road can we F$#%UP?
By Johnny Nova (83), Northampton on Aug 27, 09 9:14 PM
Flanders Road is a State maintained road, if you want a traffic light or one repaired you must call the Long Island Regional State DOT office , phone number is available on the the State DOT website. Why call and blame the Town and add another layer of bureacracy?
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Aug 28, 09 8:45 AM
Personally I would like to see a traffic light at the intersection of the Waters Edge/Bayview Pines area.Try making a left from either Royal Ave or Bayview. Its dangerous at times and most cars use the turning lane as a merge lane! Hmmmm sounds like a "no brainer"
By pageking57 (12), Flanders on Sep 17, 09 7:54 PM