Residents of a neighborhood off Main Road just west of County Road 105 say traffic on Main Road has gotten so bad that they often find themselves “trapped” in their community, especially on weekends.
The neighborhood, called Duck Pond Estates when the subdivision was created more than 35 years ago, is situated on the south side of Main Road. The approximately 40 homes in the neighborhood have one mean of ingress and egress: Forest Drive, located on Main Road some 900 feet west of County Road 105.
The traffic jam west of the light at Main Road and CR 105 is one all motorists heading east on Main Road are familiar with — and use many alternative routes to avoid during peak travel times.
But the residents of Duck Pond Estates have no alternatives.
“We’re a whole neighborhood and we’re trapped in there,” said resident Barbara Reynolds.
Bumper to bumper traffic backs up at the 105 light — a line of vehicles that stretches west to the light at the Main Road-Route 58-Doctors Path intersection more than 1,800 feet to the west.
Residents say drivers routinely refuse to let them enter the roadway and making a left turn from Forest Drive is next to impossible. Drivers ignore the “STATE LAW: DO NOT BLOCK SIDE ROAD” sign posted just west of Forest Drive and the striped “box” in the eastbound lane in front of the side road.
Lindsay Campbell, a Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps member, said there have been many times when she couldn’t respond to ambulance calls because she couldn’t get out of her neighborhood.
About a dozen residents showed up to the Riverhead Traffic Safety Committee meeting at 8:30 this morning to ask the town for a traffic signal at Forest Drive and Main Road.
Police Chief David Hegermiller and his assistant Mary Komosinksi were the only town officials present for the meeting when the residents were there to air their complaints; volunteer committee member Antoinette Carbone was also in attendance.
The chief delivered the unhappy news that the town has no control over whether a traffic light will be installed there.
“It’s a state road,” Hegermiller said. “It’s up to the DOT. All we can do is ask.”
Residents said the town asked for a signal there about 10 years ago, but the State Department of Transportation turned it down.
Stephanie Scionti said the DOT conducted a study of the roadway on weekdays only and so didn’t capture data at peak traffic times.
A DOT spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
The traffic has only gotten much worse since then, Scionti said. She noted that in addition to the increase in traffic bound for the North Fork, there is now a bowling alley and restaurant directly across the road from Duck Pond Estates. Additional commercial development has taken place to the east and the site of the former Homeside Florist and Greenhouses is for sale and being advertised as a possible site for a hockey arena/amusement location.
Forest Drive resident Felipé Ganguzza said he’s heard that 17 more homes are going to be built on vacant lots in the subdivision, which, he said, will only make matters worse.
The stretch of roadway is the scene of numerous accidents, according to residents. There have been several rear-end crashes and at least one resident has gotten hit trying to make a left onto Main Road.
Hegermiller suggested that people exiting Forest Drive make only right turns and go south on 105 to Hubbard Avenue, which they can take to head back into town.
Residents at the meeting did not like that idea and said a traffic light would be a much more sensible solution.
The entrance to the bowling alley is directly across from Forest Drive, Ron Scionti said. “It looks like it was lined up for the installation of a traffic light,” he said.
Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who arrived at the meeting after the residents had departed, said the town should ask the state again to assess the traffic problem there. The town board can write to the DOT as well as to Sen. Ken LaValle and Assembly Member Anthony Palumbo.
An aide to LaValle said this afternoon that the senator would gladly renew the request to DOT. It would be most effective if the senator had a lot of emails from residents asking for the light, she said. People should email the senator at [email protected]
Correction: After publication, we confirmed that the subdivision in question was created more than 35 years ago, not more than 25 years ago as originally reported.
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