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03/06/16 6:00am
03/06/2016 6:00 AM


Last winter, a frequent Riverhead visitor emailed me several times to report that sidewalks on Route 58 had not been shoveled — as is mandated under town code — leaving people walking up and down the busy roadway.

After I followed up with the town, 40 businesses were cited. Most of them paid their $250 fines and life went on.

Fast-forward a year. READ

03/12/15 6:00am
03/12/2015 6:00 AM
Forty businesses were cited last month for failing to clear their sidewalks. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Forty businesses were cited last month for failing to clear their sidewalks. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

To the editor:

Thank you for the stories you wrote about the snow safety hazards along Route 58. I worry about my life and safety every time I need to go to the bus stop.

I was very surprised that, after property owners were fined for not shoveling the snow on the sidewalks and after the recent snowfall, the sidewalks are in worse shape and more dangerous than they were before.  (more…)

02/27/15 1:50pm
02/27/2015 1:50 PM

Dallas Wiese walks up Route 58 about once a week to meet his mother after her shift at Stop & Shop ends. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Many Riverhead taxpayers have made clear from time to time — whether it’s at public meetings, through correspondence or conversations with newspaper staff or even in our online comments section — that they think lots of big businesses in town have it too easy.

Whether the reason is the tax breaks given by the Industrial Development Agency, the terms of a final site plan approval by the Planning Board or — most recently and quite obviously — lax code enforcement over shoveling sidewalks on Route 58, the public’s perception sometimes is that the town overlooks average taxpayers in favor of of business owners.

Related: Riverhead issues $10K in tickets for uncleared Route 58 sidewalks

Those perceptions could be argued: The town’s code enforcement resources are limited and businesses do generate jobs and tax dollars. If they don’t get some kind of breaks here, they will just get them elsewhere.

But for a family earning the town’s median household income of $62,144 — or the 43 percent of families bringing in less than $50,000 — those arguments can understandably fall on deaf ears. And frequently the people walking up and down Route 58 in need of sidewalks are earning on the lower end of the income scale and rely on public transit to get from place to place.

It should go without saying that enforcing the town’s code is the right thing to do. Unfortunately it took nearly until March for tickets to be issued — far too long for those forced to walk along a busy thoroughfare in below-freezing weather, not to mention the drivers who nearly hit defenseless pedestrians.

The fine for failing to clear sidewalks — $250 — is rather paltry in relation to the size of the town’s budget, but the rules are the rules. Hopefully, the town will keep up with enforcement and will press the issue harder next winter should similar circumstances arise.

If businesses continue to choose not to comply, perhaps the fine should be increased.

02/24/15 1:40pm
02/24/2015 1:40 PM
A woman makes her way up Route 58 on Tuesday morning before stepping into a parking lot. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

A woman makes her way up Route 58 on Tuesday morning before stepping into a parking lot. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Winter is getting old for pretty much everyone at this point: record-lows have been recorded in the tri-state area on multiple occasions in February.

Week after week, more snow seems to be in the forecast.

But for those walking along Route 58 to get to a bus stop, or to work, the cold isn’t all that’s getting old. The winter can be a dangerous time for a pedestrian walking Route 58; many property owners along the busy corridor have not shoveled their sidewalks, as per town regulations, leaving pedestrians to either maneuver over ice and snow or just walk on the road itself. (more…)

04/04/14 4:02pm
04/04/2014 4:02 PM
State workers trimmed trees on Friday to prep for Monday's work on E. Main Street. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

State workers trimmed trees on Friday to prep for Monday’s work on E. Main Street. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Construction is expected to start Monday on Main Street as the State Department of Transportation begins installing four miles of new sidewalks along Route 25, through downtown Riverhead.

While state workers were cutting trees this week downtown, work is expected to start in earnest on Monday. Hours will generally be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., however officials said construction could also take place during off-peak hours to minimize effect on businesses.


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