Traffic on Main Road in summer 2018. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller fielded questions about traffic control and code enforcement from members of the Greater Jamesport Civic Association Saturday morning at the Jamesport Meeting House.

Residents expressed concerns about the traffic impacts of special events such as foot and bicycle races in Riverhead being held at the peak of the season when local roads are already overburdened by traffic volume. Other informal events — groups of 20 or 30 cyclists, for example — create traffic hazards in the local community, residents said, even though they are not participating in a formal, town-sanctioned special event.

“It becomes a quality of life issue for residents,” civic president William Van Helmond said.

Motorists who violate traffic laws — speeding or crossing into the oncoming lane of travel, for example — was another concern residents asked the chief to address.

Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller addressed traffic issues at the Greater Jamesport Civic Association meeting July 21. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Hegermiller assured residents that the police department reviews and comments on all special event applications before the town board approves them and deploys the necessary resources to control traffic flow and minimize impacts on the town’s roadways.

The number of the events being held on town roads has been reduced, Hegermiller said.

“The supervisor is on top of this” and plans to ask the town board to revamp the special events code prior to the spring and summer season next year, Hegermiller said.

“I think the process for events will have new criteria next year,” Hegermiller said.

The chief urged residents to report to police any unsafe road conditions, including bicyclists who are obstructing lanes of travel. Peconic Bay Boulevard and Sound Avenue are designated bike paths, Hegermiller said, but cyclists are supposed to ride single-file.

Hegermiller said he will have speed signs placed on Main Road in the Jamesport business district to “collect some stats” on the travel speed of vehicles on the stretch of Main Road between Manor Lane and Sharper’s Hill, where residents said speeding is commonplace.

He also said the town would try again to get the state DOT to approve a proposed parking ban on the south side of Main Road between South Jamesport Avenue and Manor Lane. Vehicles parked there impede the flow of eastbound traffic when some eastbound vehicles are waiting to turn north on Manor Lane, residents said. The state rejected the town’s first application to impose a parking ban in that location.

Rivehead police and traffic control officers are again being deployed on peak days this summer to make sure traffic flows through intersections that typically cause backlogs, such as the four-way stops on Peconic Bay Boulevard at Washington and South Jamesport avenues, Hegermiller said.

Residents complained about people using a vacant lot in the village to park boats and vehicles with “for sale” signs on them, in violation of town code. The chief said he would talk to the code enforcement division about the situation.

Another problem in the business district is vehicles being parked on the sidewalk on the north side of Main Road. The sidewalks there were paved with asphalt and there are no curbs. Since the sidewalks were paved, vehicles are parking on the sidewalks, forcing pedestrians out onto the roadway and creating a safety hazard, residents said.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.