Petitioning Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman Suffolk County Government–Highway Department

Remove the Roadside Barriers on Long Beach Rd


Petition for the Removal of Roadside Barriers Constructed in June 2014 along Long Beach Rd between North Haven and Bay Point  

We, the undersigned, support the removal of recently constructed roadside barriers along Long Beach Rd between North Haven and Bay Point.  We believe the barriers compromise the beauty of the location and do not substantially improve safety on the roadway for pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, beach-goers and other road users. 

We believe slowing down traffic would be more effective. Therefore, we support initiatives that encourage motor vehicles to adhere to the speed limit on Long Beach Rd, which is 40 MPH. We also ask that Suffolk County inform local authorities of material road construction of this kind in advance of construction in order that there may be greater public input on such proposals.

Points for consideration: 

Long Beach Rd is a shared roadway.  
- Perhaps the most scenic road in the vicinity of Sag Harbor  
- Incorporates the most significant beach for several nearby densely populated communities, including Bay Point, North Haven Village, Sag Harbor Village and Noyac, including a high proportion of families and older residents  
- Is a flat, wide roadway with gently sloping adjacent beaches 

These characteristics make Long Beach Rd ideal for recreational use, and non-motorized as well as motorized transportation, having cycle and pedestrian lanes.  

Suffolk County Highway Dept has identified that a significant proportion of motor vehicles travel Long Beach Rd at greater than 50 MPH.  We believe this is a totally unreasonable risk to non-motorized road users (and a noise intrusion to recreationists and local residents).  

Mechanisms available for slowing motorized traffic include:
- reducing the speed limit  
- enforcing the speed limit   
- median islands  
- roadside vibration strips, and more  

Enclosing motorized and non-motorized users within the same metal barrier greatly increases the risk to non-motorized users:  
- Pedestrians and non-motorized users may be thrown or crushed against the barrier, or deflected off the barrier into traffic. 
- The metal barrier itself is a particularly dangerous and hard impact surface for motorcyclists, cyclists and other non-motorized users.   

The risk of injury or death to non-motorised users increases exponentially with vehicle speed.  

Non-motorized users are at the 'mercy' of motorized users:  
- Non-motorized users may be devastatingly impacted by the mistakes of motorized users (drivers distracted, on the phone, texting, falling asleep, drunk, speeding).  
- The barrier arguably reduces some risks for motorized users, but greatly increases the risk for non-motorized users.  

The barrier will cause motor traffic to increase in speed:  
- The appearance of the road is increasingly that of a 'highway' rather than a mixed-use road.  
- Drivers feel emboldened by the protections afforded by the barrier.  
- At the western end of the barrier turning traffic frequently causes cars to transgress into the cycle and pedestrian lanes, and therefore against the barrier, which presents huge risk to non-motorized users.  

The barrier greatly compromises the character of the location, which is relatively pristine, accessible to recreation, scenic, and calm.  

The only written support for the barrier in this location was a letter from the Noyac Citizens Advisory Committee, a small group of residents (fewer than 25 members) based a significant distance from this location.  

The Suffolk County Highway Dept assessment was based on an 85th percentile vehicle speed significantly in excess of 50MPH. Little effort has been made to reduce vehicle speeds in this location. And finally, the outcome of the accident that occurred in 2013 when a motorist fell asleep at the wheel would not necessarily have been improved by the barriers (e.g. increased likelihood of head on collision).

Letter to
Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman Suffolk County Government–Highway Department
Remove the Roadside Barriers on Long Beach Rd