Supervisor promises change in call for removal of blinking signs

Montauk’s Crosswalks In Residents’ Crosshairs

Montauk residents are angry with multiple blinking crosswalk signs installed earlier this year.

At the meeting on September 10, Montauk resident Bonnie Brady said the tall yellow crosswalk signs with brightly-blinking yellow lights makes Main Street feel like a disco hall.

“They are ineffective, ugly as hell, and they don’t really do the job,” said Brady, who is running for a seat on the town board, and asked East Hampton to deploy traffic control officers in the summer months.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said he’s demanded change, saying the crosswalks have been malfunctioning all summer.

“There are a number of improvements that need to be made,” he said, adding the signs are too high, and flash even when nobody is on the crosswalk. They also have continued to flash long after pedestrians have crossed the road.

Laraine Creegan, who heads Montauk’s Chamber of Commerce, discussed the history of the lights, and asked about the process of selecting the technology. Van Scoyoc told the room he has been in contact with the engineer in charge of the technology, whom he told the crosswalk system in its current state is “completely unacceptable,” and “will not be tolerated.”

John Keeshan, a resident and businessman in the hamlet, who has been in the real estate business with an office in downtown Montauk for decades, said he was not comforted by Van Scoyoc’s comments, calling for the whole system to be removed. He compared the signs with the short-lived effort by the state to put up “Welcome to New York” signs in the Montauk dock area. Deliberately channeling President Ronald Reagan’s famous words to Mikhail Gorbachev, he said, “Please, take down those lights!”

Keeshan was followed by about a half-dozen other speakers who generally reflected the same point of view.

Ken Hetecheck, a longtime Montauk resident, saw things differently.

“If those lights save one life, no matter what they do, it is worth it,” he said.