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Parking ban on Pulaski Street in Riverhead’s Polish Town?

Pulaski Street parking

A parking ban proposed for a narrow section of Pulaski Street in Riverhead’s Polish Town has been sent back to the drawing board.

The plan to prohibit parking on the north side of the road between Hamilton and Sweezy avenues was discussed at Thursday’s Riverhead Town Board work session.

Currently, there’s a two-hour parking limit between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. for that 300-foot portion of the road.

Supervisor Sean Walter suggested tabling the resolution until business owners were brought into the discussion.

“We need parking in Polish Town,” Mr. Walter said.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio questioned why the town’s highway department would be in favor of the ban when highway workers just recently added a fresh coat of paint to the handicap parking space in front of The Birchwood of Polish Town.

In an interview after the meeting, Riverhead Town Highway Superintendent George “Gio” Woodson, who also serves on the town’s traffic and safety committee, described the paint job as simple maintenance work and believes that handicap space could remain without impeding the parking ban’s purpose to improve safety.

He said the proposal is the same one shot down by the Town Board a couple of years ago and confirmed it was given to the Town Board again for reconsideration after a few residents attended last week’s traffic and safety committee meeting and expressed limited-sight concerns in that area.

While the Town Board already rejected the same proposal, Mr. Woodson said the committee felt it was time to revisit the issue since drivers continue to have difficulty making turns safely there.

“You have to go down there and observe — you can’t make a decision behind a desk,” he said. “With the narrowness of that road, you can’t see.”

Birchwood bar manager Terri Schultz said while she understands the concern about the road’s narrowness, taking parking away from in front of the restaurant — especially the handicap spot — would hinder business, since the majority of regular customers are senior citizens.

Krystayna Zielinska, whose Western Union business would lose parking spots under the proposal, described the ban as “terrible.”

“Most customers are in and out within five minutes,” she said.

The Town Board agreed to pull the resolution from next week’s Town Board meeting agenda and send it back to the traffic and safety committee for further review.

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Photo: The handicap parking space in front of The Birchwood of Polish Town in Riverhead. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)