07/21/15 6:00am
07/21/2015 6:00 AM


Due to an around-the-clock renovation project on the Route 25 bridge over the Long Island Expressway, only one lane in each direction is now open, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Construction on the bridge will last until next spring. READ

06/25/15 6:00am
A birds' eye view of downtown Riverhead earlier this week. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

A birds’ eye view of downtown Riverhead earlier this week. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

Twenty one years ago, the News-Review reported that there would “definitely be a 751-space, two-story parking structure” created in downtown Riverhead to address a burgeoning traffic problem.

While that traffic problem remains — and in fact, more residents than ever are living downtown, with more residential units in the works — the parking garage remains a dream.

But that didn’t stop a consulting firm from examining the idea at Town Hall recently after giving downtown traffic a grade of “F.”

That proposal, as well as others, were all part of a wider look into developing downtown Riverhead as it continues to grow — from a traffic perspective, a housing perspective and an overall marketing perspective. (more…)

05/15/15 8:00am
We all know the Long Island Expressway doesn't lead to Greenport and Orient — this is actually a Route 58 sign — but what you might not know is that throughout the 1950s and 1960s many local officials hoped it would. (Credit: Grant Parpan photo illustration)

We all know the Long Island Expressway doesn’t lead to Greenport and Orient — this is actually a Route 58 sign — but what you might not know is that throughout the 1950s and 1960s many local officials hoped it would. (Credit: Grant Parpan photo illustration)

Driving to the end of the Long Island Expressway and exiting onto the western edge of Route 58, Riverhead’s commercial capital, it’s difficult to imagine that a plan once called for the island’s longest road to extend into Southold Town.

But drawn on a map titled “Expressway Plan 1959 County Planning Board” are two thick red lines that run from the Riverhead Town line to Old North Road in Orient. One line indicates eastbound Long Island Expressway traffic. The other shows traffic lanes heading west.  (more…)

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.



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 [email protected] 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.