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Jun 28, 2013 12:21 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE; Blinking Light On County Road 39 Was Malfunction

Jun 28, 2013 2:31 PM
UPDATE, 1:45 p.m.: A spokeswoman for the Suffolk County Department of Transportation has updated the situation, saying “it was a temporary malfunction.” She had no information about the lights being placed into flash mode purposefully.

Sgt. Michael Burns of the Southampton Town Police said that after discussion with a contingent of officers stationed at Sebonack Golf Club to alleviate traffic, it seems the light was not set to flash mode on purpose.

Sgt. Burns characterized the situation as miscommunication, as he was told the light was set this way on purpose upon reporting for duty in the morning.

Original Story:With recent heightened traffic due to the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club in Shinnecock Hills, the traffic lights at the intersection of County Road 39 and David Whites Lane in Southampton were purposefully, and temporarily, put into “flash mode” in an attempt to help the flow of cars traveling eastbound—a measure that had many motorists concerned for their safety. Following numerous complaints, the lights were returned to normal late Friday morning.

The lights, which were flashing yellow in both directions on County Road 39 and flashing red in both directions on David Whites Lane, were originally scheduled to remain that way until the completion of the golf tournament, according to Southampton Town Police.

Sgt. Michael Burns said no accidents were reported at the intersection, despite the complaints of some residents that the flashing light was causing dangerous traffic patterns, including having to cross three lanes of moving cars in order to cross into the village. The sound of not-so-sporadic honking was common Friday morning at the intersection.

“Some people don’t really know what to do with it when they see it, but as a whole it’s keeping traffic flowing eastbound,” Sgt. Burns said while the lights were still in flash mode.

The light was supposed to get reset to its normal working order at night when the day of golf ended, then be placed into flash mode in the morning over the weekend, according to Sgt. Burns. But those plans were scrapped after communication between the town and Suffolk County, with county officials saying they wanted to keep traffic patterns as normal as possible. An county worker was seen changing the light back to its normal pattern at 11:20 a.m. on Friday.

In terms of traffic as a whole, the past few days, Sgt. Burns said, “I know traffic is worse than normal for this time of year, almost like a heavy summer holiday weekend. It has routinely been backed up to the Hampton Bays Exit 24, but we have a lot of officers out there trying to get traffic moving, starting at about 5 or 6 a.m.”

Despite the back-ups and aggravation, Sgt. Burns said that incidents of road rage were being reported “no more than normal.”

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It would seem logical for the Town and Village PDs to post a live TCO or two given the importance of this intersection?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 28, 13 1:09 PM
3 members liked this comment
Quite possibly the WORST idea yet from this town.. Kudos to those who were catering to EVERYONE but the PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE.... The traffic was horrendous anyway. All this blinking light did, was give me an adrenaline rush on my morning commute as I attempted to pull out onto CR39.
A much better idea would've been to have someone conducting traffic....
By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on Jun 28, 13 1:13 PM
3 members liked this comment
"Sgt. Burns said that incidents of road rage were being reported “no more than normal.” Wow, I wonder what "normal" is???
By Miss K. (103), East Quogue on Jun 28, 13 1:17 PM
People not knowing how to behave at a blinking traffic signal.

Big shocker 'round these parts, eh?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 28, 13 1:25 PM
Well, considering they put up those message signs for everything else, you would've thought they would for this too.. Instead, it was as if Sandy struck all over again, with a power outage. I'm sure if people expected it, thing's would've been different.. Instead, we had people booking at 50 mph through a blinking yellow...
By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on Jun 28, 13 1:52 PM
i called into the station this morning not knowing it was purposly set this way requesting a traffic come driect cars. i was told this was for the "US open." Cars honking at me and MAC trucks flying passed on 27 i had no clue how i was going to make in from one end of david whites lane to the other. My complaint was rejected and after saying "there will be an accient" the woman responder said "we will go to the scene if there is" stupid. Traffic is Traffic. We are use to it.

Wrong idea ...more
By NadeMosley (1), Southampton, New York on Jun 28, 13 2:19 PM
Once again, the County catering to everyone but the taxpayers who actually live here. Quit jeopardizing our safety in the name of traffic flow. Haven't there been enough accidents on this stretch without making it even more dangerous?
By rv (38), watermill on Jun 28, 13 3:18 PM
I love how no one is accountable for this bad decision. I called this morning after having to cross 3 lanes of traffic on my way to work, and the town told me the light was changed to help the flow of traffic to the women's open. I don't believe in this malfunction. Just admit you made a bad decision and that you corrected it.
By davidwhitesguy (4), southampton on Jun 28, 13 3:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
Update: I smell something, and it ain't low tide...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 28, 13 4:36 PM
1 member liked this comment

Read the 1:45 PM update of the article. Too much to put into words . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 28, 13 5:36 PM
"malfunction "
give me a break
stupid idea begets stupid excuse
By loading... (601), quiogue on Jun 28, 13 10:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
They should use the blinking light in Water Mill every morning. The traffic in and out of that shopping center is minimal at that time. I believe it would eliminate the traffic backup to the diner that exists during the morning commute
By itsamazing (224), Southampton on Jun 29, 13 12:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree.. That traffic light does nothing but create traffic all day
By davidwhitesguy (4), southampton on Jun 29, 13 7:50 PM
There is no Suffolk County Department of Transportation. It's the Suffolk County Department of Public Works (SCDPW). There is a New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT).
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Jun 29, 13 3:52 PM