10/31/13 3:40pm
10/31/2013 3:40 PM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | A traffic study stated that Peconic Avenue in downtown Riverhead should be one way.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | A traffic study stated that Peconic Avenue in downtown Riverhead should be one way.

Peconic Avenue should be a one-way road heading north into downtown Riverhead.

That’s a recommendation of a traffic study for downtown Riverhead that was done as part of the $567,000 Brownfield Opportunities Area grant from the state Department of State.

The study was discussed at Thursday’s Riverhead Town Board work session.

The intersections of Route 25 (Main Street) with Roanoke Avenue and Peconic Avenue is the worst intersection in the study area, according to consultant Charles Voorhis of Nelson, Pope and Voorhis, the planning firm handling the study.

“The majority of the other spots are working pretty well,” he said at the work session.

The study area stretches from Tanger Outlets in the east to Hubbard Avenue in the west, and runs along Route 25. The traffic analysis shows that the traffic flow rating in the middle of downtown is an “F” for cars turning west onto Main Street from Peconic Avenue, as well as for cars turning south from Main Street onto Peconic Avenue, Mr. Voorhis told the Town Board.

Traffic heading west on Route 25 — either heading straight or turning north onto Roanoke Avenue — also received an “F” rating, as did traffic flowing east along Route 25 (eastbound traffic heading east and turning left, or north, onto Roanoke Avenue got a “B” grade.)

The proposed solution, which Town Board members seemed to agree with, would be to make Peconic Avenue a one-way, two-lane road with traffic only heading north onto Main Street.

The consultants also recommend two eastbound lanes on West Main Street heading into the Peconic Avenue and Roanoke Avenue intersection,  and two westbound lanes from Roanoke Avenue to Griffing Avenue.

Vehicles heading south on Roanoke Avenue would be allowed to make right turns-only onto Route 25, as is currently the case, and motorists intent on leaving town would be instead directed to Court Street, where cars could then take the small bridge over the Peconic River to Nugent Drive in Southampton Town.

The study recommends reducing the size of the concrete island at this intersection to better align court street with the bridge. It also recommends making Court Street two lanes heading south between Osborn Avenue and West Main Street. The bridge would continue to accommodate two-way traffic, with the third lane designated for northbound traffic.

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“This is a pretty common sense approach and seems to work,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

The current southbound lane on Peconic Avenue would become an emergency vehicle lane, so those vehicles could continue to use the road to head south, consultant Kathryn Eiseman said at the work session.

The BOA study is guided by a steering committee made up of Business Improvement District president Ray Pickersgill, Tanger Outlets general manager Janine Nebons, Long Island Aquarium general manager Bryan DeLuca, Dark Horse restaurant owner Dee Muma and Dennis McDermott, the owner of The Riverhead Project restaurant.

The County Department of Public Works is also planning changes to the Riverside traffic circle in neighboring Southampton Town, and has discussed making that a two-lane roundabout.

In order to make Peconic Lane a one-way road, the plan would require approval from state and county agencies, as Peconic Lane is a county road and Route 25 is owned by New York State.

“We will need to follow up and coordinate with the board, because you’re going to want to approach [the state] as soon as possible if that’s the scenario that you want to pursue,” Mr. Voorhis said.

Meanwnile, Southampton Town has also received a BOA grant as well, just last week, good for $236,000 in state funding to study Riverside.

A survey about downtown Riverhead was recently conducted by the Riverhead BOA study, and more than 700 responses were received, Ms. Voorhis said. He added that the recommendation for a one-way Peconic Lane is one area they would like to get public feedback on.

Additional information on the Riverhead BOA study can be found on Sustainable Long Island’s website, at http://sustainableli.org/.

That group is also working on the study.

Think a two-lane, one-way Peconic Lane would help traffic flow downtown? Let us know in the comments.

10/20/13 8:00am
10/20/2013 8:00 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Seven-year-old James McGrath of Islip hauls a pumpkin last Saturday at Gabrielsen’s Country Farm in Jamesport. Pumpkin-picking is one reason people flock to the North Fork in the fall, leading to plenty of traffic.

I love my commute to work. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one around here who considers it a privilege to be able to drive Sound Avenue and other scenic routes in the area during their daily commute. Driving into – or even away from – a rising sun while farmers tend their fields or passing a tractor rolling along seems to offer a sense of “away-from-it-all” peace that, for me at least, makes the daily drive pretty enjoyable.

Then comes the weekend.

JOSEPH PINCIARO

JOSEPH PINCIARO

Particularly this time of year, as most of us know, those drives — though you’re often not doing too much actual “driving,” but rather “slowly traveling” — can easily become a little less enjoyable.

Yes, it’s pumpkin-picking season. Corn maze season. Apple-picking season.

If you haven’t already, you’ll probably read plenty on Facebook or maybe hear it in the grocery store about those dreaded tourists, the people from “up west” who annually swarm the slice of heaven we’re blessed to be able to call home year-round. They’ll pay someone to harvest their crops for them (extra points for the farmer who thought that one up!), the young-uns will post some selfies on Instagram (look guys, no pavement!) and someone might even bring grandma out into the farm in an electric wheelchair (I actually saw that one last weekend).

What they’re all doing, ultimately, is clogging up all these one-horse (or five-lane) roads and getting in our way as we just try to get our hair cut or make a trip to the hardware store.

They really should just go back to where they came from and leave us all alone, right?

I honestly doubt many people out there think all tourists should leave us alone. But what do we do exactly — close the gates at the Brookhaven Town border?

I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, a place people don’t really travel to. They live there, as do their family and friends, and they have fun together and watch the Red Sox together and make plenty of beautiful memories there. And they travel short distances when they want to be somewhere different for a weekend or so. Now, I happen to live in that place I used to travel to.

So I guess I don’t really get some of the complaints about tourists. If someone’s drive is delayed 20 minutes because people are dragging their bags of pumpkins across the street and wheeling their kids down the road in their wagons, to me that means a lot of people really wanted to come to the area I live in. Which I think is pretty neat.

I do hear horror stories about the way some tourists behave. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that all tourists are angels or that dealing with agritourism traffic couldn’t be improved. But let’s not let a few bad apples spoil the bunch. And we’ve all heard that saying about people in glass houses (not greenhouses), right?

I was told by Joe Gergela, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, that from Labor Day through the end of October, agritourism will generate anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of the annual revenue that comes into the farms that I’m able to enjoy long after those families are gone, the pumpkins rotted on their doorsteps. Agriculture as a whole in Suffolk County leads the state in terms of sales dollars generated, according to a 2010 study, bringing in over $240 million. And Cornell University found in the early 2000s that over 70 percent of farm owners said their agritourist customers were repeat customers, while nearly half of the customers themselves reported spending money at those destinations on more than one occasion.

I’m not exactly sure what all those numbers mean when it comes down to a direct impact on my pocket.

But if working around really bad traffic for a few weekends — or just staying home and doing work around the house or watching college football — is part of the cost of maintaining those morning drives on Sound Avenue while most of the tourists are taking the LIRR, I’ll take it.

Joseph Pinciaro is the managing editor of The News-Review. He can be reached at jpinciaro@timesreview.com or 631-298-3200, ext. 238. Follow him on Twitter @cjpinch.

09/17/13 9:19am
09/17/2013 9:19 AM
JOSEPH PINCIARO PHOTO | A detour is set up at Herricks Lane on Sound Avenue.

JOSEPH PINCIARO PHOTO | A detour is set up at Herricks Lane on Sound Avenue.

Commuters backed up over the past couple of days on their way to work can breathe a sigh of relief on Wednesday morning, as Tuesday is expected to mark the end of a brief road resurfacing project on Sound Avenue.

Traffic was routed southbound on Herricks Lane this morning, down to Main Road where Riverhead police waved traffic through.

Drivers are suggested to use Main Road until the road opens back up. According to a Southold Highway Department deputy, the project – which included milling and repaving the road – has been running along as scheduled and the road should be back open on Wednesday.

06/06/13 3:16pm
06/06/2013 3:16 PM

State Department of Transportation officials have announced details about closures around exit 68 on the Long Island Expressway near the William Floyd Parkway bridge.

State workers are currently repairing the bridge located over the expressway, officials said.

These daytime service road closures are currently underway and are expected to continue for about one week, weather permitting:

• The north/westbound LIE service road is closed between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• The south/eastbound LIE service road is closed between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

These nighttime closures along the expressway near exit 68 are expected to begin Monday and will last about one week, weather permitting:

• Westbound between 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
• Eastbound between 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

State officials said motorists should plan ahead and use alternate routes in order to avoid delays.

For real-time travel information, call 511 or visit 511NY.org or INFORMNY.com.

04/25/13 12:15pm
04/25/2013 12:15 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | A pedestrian walks on the north side oaf East Main Street over a section of the sidewalk where the trees roots tore up the cement. The town temporarily repaired it with asphalt.

The State Department of Transportation will complete a project to replace all the sidewalks in downtown Riverhead by the end of the fall of 2014, officials told the Riverhead Town Board Thursday. Town officials had indicated earlier in the year that the project could begin this year.

Rob Smith of the DOT said at Thursday’s Town Board work session that the job would begin in the spring of 2014 and be done by the fall of 2014. The sidewalks on both sides of the street from Union Avenue to Griffing Avenue would be replaced, and west of Griffing, the DOT would fill in the gaps where there are no sidewalks on the north side of Route 25 as far west as River Road.

The town received $1.2 million in federal grants for the downtown sidewalk repairs in 2005, but waited for the state to do the work, which never happened.

The board on Thursday also discussed the $600,000 Brownfield Opportunity Area grant it received from the State Department of State in 2011. That money is being used on a just underway study, which will be done by the firm of Nelson, Pope and Voorhis, which covers a 452-acre area stretching from East Main Street near Hubbard Avenue to Tanger Outlet Center.

It seeks to help the town overcome obstacles to redeveloping areas near “brownfields,” such as old gas stations or areas that have had contamination, and will focus on issues like parking, traffic flow, and pedestrian and bike uses, among other things. The study will examine existing conditions as well as the possible impact of proposed developments and make suggestions on ways to make improvements for traffic flow and parking downtown.

Click below to read reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog of the work session discussion.

 

April_25,_2013_-_Agenda(1) by rnews_review

07/13/12 11:00am
07/13/2012 11:00 AM

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Love Lane in Mattituck is plagued by persistent traffic problems, including speeding and stop sign violations.

Heavy traffic on Love Lane has been the bane of many Mattituck residents’ existence all year.

From big trucks barreling through the narrow sycamore-lined street in the early morning to the constant parade of oversized luxury cars vying for scarce parallel parking spaces on the one-block stretch of business district to frequent u-turns at the short road’s intersection with Pike Street, locals are saying they don’t feel safe when visiting to check their mail, do their banking or grab a bite to eat.

Marie Domenici of Mattituck has spent several months voicing her concerns about the safety of the road to the Southold Town Board. Last Tuesday, board members agreed to look into providing better signage to remind visitors that there are two large parking lots behind Love Lane — to the west and east of the busy shopping district. Those lots are rarely full.

But some board members were skeptical the signs would help.

“How much signage can you put in a hamlet and have people be able to comprehend?” said Councilman Bill Ruland.

Mattituck resident Frank Wills, who visits Love Lane daily to check his mail, told board members he frequently sees trucks speeding down the street and ignoring the stop sign at the corner of Pike Street.

Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said he’s assigned officers to monitor Love Lane for an hour twice each day.

Ms. Domenici recommended that police monitor traffic at 7 a.m. to catch trucks speeding on Love Lane, which is the shortest cut-through on the North Fork between Route 25 and Route 48. Automotive GPS systems routinely direct drivers down Love Lane, adding to the problems there.

Board members considered putting up a sign that says only local delivery by trucks is allowed.

Though there has been talk in the past of making Love Lane a one-way road, U.S. postal regulations prohibit post offices from being located on a one-way streets. The large sycamore trees lining both sides of the street also preclude widening of the road.

Town Board members briefly considered asking the police department to make sure people park closer to the curb, but Supervisor Scott Russell said he doesn’t want to do anything that would hurt business on Love Lane.

“I don’t know what to do. All I know is I get these regular complaints,” said Mr. Russell.

byoung@timesreview.com