The New York State Department of Transportation has approved Greenport Village’s request for a lowering of the speed limit on a section of Main Road.
The DOT’s regional traffic engineer, M.T. Vijayendran, notified village attorney Joseph Prokop of the decision in a Jan. 30 letter.
“Based on our study, we will lower the speed limit on NYS Route 25 (Front Street) from 30 mph to 25 mph from Moore’s Lane to Main Street,” he wrote.
The DOT also agreed that lowering the speed limit from the intersection of Front Street and Main Street, north to Bridge Street is appropriate, according to the letter, which Trustee Doug Roberts posted on his Facebook page Tuesday.
“I haven’t talked to any family that has young kids who doesn’t think this is a good idea,” Mr. Roberts said in an interview Wednesday. “We’re a walking village. The same reason why every school has a 20 mph zone in front of it during school days is why we need to lower the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph.
“I also think it’s important to stress that changing the speed limit is not going to do anything on its own, without the mayor and chief of police coming up with an enforcement plan.”
He added the village also needs to install the correct signage to let people know to drive slowly and look out for people in the crosswalk.
“We’re encouraged by the decision and appreciate the support of our village officials in getting this done,” said Main Street resident Bridget Elkin, who was one of the first to recommend the lower speed zone in November 2017. “With proper signage and enforcement, this is a positive step for the safety and quality of life in our community.”
The DOT will install the new signs on Front Street, but the village is responsible for maintenance on Main Street and will install those signs.
The Village Board debated the issue for a little over half a year before voting in late June of 2018 to officially ask the state to lower the speed limits on sections of Front Street and Main Street. Since those roads are state roads, the village could only request the state to do the speed limit change.
The board was not unanimous in supporting the new limits. The vote to request the change was split, with Mayor George Hubbard Jr. and trustees Roberts and Jack Martilotta voting in support of the recommendation, while Trustee Julia Robins voted no and Trustee Mary Bess Phillips abstaining, saying she didn’t have enough information.
Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley had opposed the change, saying he didn’t think the 5 mph changes would have an effect on traffic.