By Alex Petroski
Drivers in Port Jefferson might think the little drummer boy has taken up residence in the village for the holiday season, but in reality the rumbling they’re hearing under their tires is a new initiative to get them to reduce their speed.
Rumble strips and speed tables were installed by the village in December in strategic areas to alert drivers to slow down on roads frequently used to enter Port Jefferson, following a study by an engineering firm which suggested motorists were traveling too fast.
Upon the recommendation of the firm, the strips were placed in the westbound lane of East Broadway between the Village Center and Belle Terre Village on Cliff Road. They were also added to both sides of Myrtle Avenue near Infant Jesus Roman Catholic Church. The speed tables are located on Brook Road near Caroline Avenue on the western side of the Port Jefferson high school campus. More speed tables and rumble strips may still be added to other areas in the village.
“I think the resident community was a little off put when they first hit them, but now they’re slowing down,” Mayor Margot Garant said in an interview. “Most of the local people in the neighborhood get it — you can’t just fly through the neighborhoods. I’ll put the rumble strips in just about anywhere people want.”
The village board of trustees passed a motion Nov. 28 approving spending for the project up to about $5,800, though the actual cost is not yet clear.
Garant and village Code Chief Wally Tomaszewski each referenced deadly crashes in recent years at the sites of the new speed reduction measures as evidence that something needed to be done to curtail speeds in the village.
In December last year, 48-year-old Belle Terre resident Glen Nelson was killed while driving on East Broadway after his car crashed into a telephone pole near High Street.
“Everything is done to exercise as much notice and caution to the general public utilizing the roadways.”
— Wally Tomaszewski
“On East Broadway the rumble strips were necessary because the cars that are coming down the hill, there are many that were speeding both going down and up the hill,” Tomaszewski said in a phone interview. The strips, which are painted white and cause a rumbling sound inside the car when tires roll over them, are spaced a few hundred yards apart over a half-mile stretch on East Broadway.
The code chief also said the measures are having the desired effect.
“Absolutely they’ve worked so far,” Tomaszewski said. “Everything is done to exercise as much notice and caution to the general public utilizing the roadways.”
Garant said she received some push back initially because the speed tables were not adequately identified according to some users of the village roadways, though the mayor said the plan is for the tables to be painted in the near future for better visibility. She added that other measures were considered, like narrowing roadways in some spots, but ultimately the strips and tables made the most sense.
The speed tables are elevated speed bumps that are wider than typical ones and can do damage to the bottom of a car if drivers go over them too fast.
“I’m sorry that people in the first week got caught off guard, but I think the long-term intent is to slow everybody down,” she said.