Jul 29, 2014

Riverside Bus Shelter Vandalized Again

The damaged shelter is near the Southampton Head Start facility.

Riverside Bus Shelter Vandalized Again

A bus shelter in Riverside has once again been badly vandalized.

The shelter, located near the Southampton Head Start facility, had its glass smashed; shards of broken glass litter the area.

Brad Bender, president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Civic Association, noticed the vandalism when he was out surveying damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Bender, however, said the damage was definitely not Sandy-related. "This was not storm damage but vandalism on a major roadway."

The Southampton Town Police Department, Bender said, has "a record low" number of officers on duty and a population that's growing in the Riverside and Flanders area. 

"Quality of life violations, drug dealing, and prostitution are on the rise," Bender said.

In September, Flanders and Riverside residents raised concerns to New York State Troopers about escalating crime and prostitution in the area.

"Residents of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton do not feel safe even in their own homes," Bender said.

The broken glass at the bus shelter was an unfortunately familiar scene: In August, dangerous piles of broken glass at two vandalized bus shelters in Riverside and Flanders had some residents crying out for help from public officials.

While the glass surrounding the Flanders shelter was cleaned up first, Bender, at the time, said the Riverside shelter remained in ruins, unsafe for bus patrons in front of the child care center. "Play with the broken glass while Mommy waits for the bus. This is just blatant neglect," Bender said. "The town does nothing to protect the public from a hazardous condition."

Bender, in August, criticized the town's response time in repairing the damage to the shelters.

"This was, and is, a hazardous and dangerous condition and should have been made completely safe at the time it was reported," Bender said. "It has also left the town open to liability that could potentially affect every taxpayer in the town. This is just another example of how the Flanders and Riverside community are just second class. Had this been in Bridgehampton or Hampton Bays, I assure you that it would have been attended to immediately."

Tom Neely, Southampton Town Director of Transportation, said at the time that after the safety glass in one shelter was broken, the glass on the ground was cleaned up and the shelter was taped off with caution tape; the replacement safety glass was ordered a few days later, after an estimate was obtained and approved. Neely said it takes approximately two weeks for the glass to be made and delivered.

Neely said approximately two weeks after the first shelter was damaged in August, a second shelter was vandalized, with five additional panes of glass smashed. In addition, he noted, the remainder of  the glass in the first shelter was broken -- panels that had been damaged previously but had been still in place were further broken and panels that had not been damaged in the first case of vandalism were broken in the second attack, he said.

Neely added that the safety glass on the ground was cleaned up after both cases of vandalism and, in both cases, caution tape was wrapped around the shelter to prevent people from accidently getting near the cracked glass still in the panels.

Total damage costs were expected to total approximately $3,250 for both shelters, Neely said.

Both shelters were repaired -- until the recent vandalism left glass once again shattered on the ground in Riverside.

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