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Town may require right-only turns exiting Riverhead Ciderhouse

Riverhead Town is considering a ban on left turns exiting Riverhead Ciderhouse despite a traffic study’s determination that such a requirement would create a more dangerous traffic situation.

The Town Board held a public hearing Tuesday and discussed traffic concerns at the cider house, which is located at Grapes and Greens food processing facility on Sound Avenue in Calverton.

Supervisor Sean Walter said drivers who are unable to make a left onto Sound Avenue will “shoot across” the street toward Baywood Drive to make a U-turn and then head west.

“That maneuver is unsafe,” Mr. Walter said.

He also described the safety issue as a “glaring hole” left out of the traffic study, which was required during the planning process.

The new tasting room — featuring cider, beer, wine and food — opened in March after it received approval to operate during Long Island Winterfest.

Bryan Lewis, Riverhead Ciderhouse’s attorney, told the Town Board that a traffic study conducted Aug. 27, 2015 found there are more accidents at the intersection of Sound Avenue and Osborn Avenue — which is located to the east of the property — and determined a right-only turn requirement to divert drivers toward that intersection in order to make a U-turn and go west is ill-advised.

Mr. Walter said he believes the Planning Board should have required the applicant to install a traffic light. Another suggestion has been to require drivers wanting to head west to exit the property on Osborn Avenue, he added.

James Lydon, a recently retired Riverhead Town police officer who said he has worked at the cider house every weekend since it opened, said he hasn’t seen any issues with drivers making left turns onto Sound Avenue.

He also believes a traffic light is needed more at the Sound Avenue and Osborn Avenue intersection.

Mr. Walter and Councilman Jim Wooten said they would review the traffic study and visit the cider house to examine the traffic pattern.

Riverhead Ciderhouse owner John King encouraged the visit.

“We all want the same thing,” Mr. King told the Town Board.

The public hearing will remain open until May 12 for written comment.

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File photo: Riverhead Ciderhouse in March. (Credit: Krysten Massa)