A month after Southold Farm + Cellar closed its doors at the request of Southold Town for operating without proper permits, several neighbors urged the Zoning Board of Appeals at its meeting Thursday morning to allow the business to reopen.
Due to an around-the-clock renovation project on the Route 25 bridge over the Long Island Expressway, only one lane in each direction is now open, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Construction on the bridge will last until next spring. READ
I love my commute to work. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one around here who considers it a privilege to be able to drive Sound Avenue and other scenic routes in the area during their daily commute. Driving into – or even away from – a rising sun while farmers tend their fields or passing a tractor rolling along seems to offer a sense of “away-from-it-all” peace that, for me at least, makes the daily drive pretty enjoyable.
Then comes the weekend.
Particularly this time of year, as most of us know, those drives — though you’re often not doing too much actual “driving,” but rather “slowly traveling” — can easily become a little less enjoyable.
Yes, it’s pumpkin-picking season. Corn maze season. Apple-picking season.
If you haven’t already, you’ll probably read plenty on Facebook or maybe hear it in the grocery store about those dreaded tourists, the people from “up west” who annually swarm the slice of heaven we’re blessed to be able to call home year-round. They’ll pay someone to harvest their crops for them (extra points for the farmer who thought that one up!), the young-uns will post some selfies on Instagram (look guys, no pavement!) and someone might even bring grandma out into the farm in an electric wheelchair (I actually saw that one last weekend).
What they’re all doing, ultimately, is clogging up all these one-horse (or five-lane) roads and getting in our way as we just try to get our hair cut or make a trip to the hardware store.
They really should just go back to where they came from and leave us all alone, right?
I honestly doubt many people out there think all tourists should leave us alone. But what do we do exactly — close the gates at the Brookhaven Town border?
I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, a place people don’t really travel to. They live there, as do their family and friends, and they have fun together and watch the Red Sox together and make plenty of beautiful memories there. And they travel short distances when they want to be somewhere different for a weekend or so. Now, I happen to live in that place I used to travel to.
So I guess I don’t really get some of the complaints about tourists. If someone’s drive is delayed 20 minutes because people are dragging their bags of pumpkins across the street and wheeling their kids down the road in their wagons, to me that means a lot of people really wanted to come to the area I live in. Which I think is pretty neat.
I do hear horror stories about the way some tourists behave. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that all tourists are angels or that dealing with agritourism traffic couldn’t be improved. But let’s not let a few bad apples spoil the bunch. And we’ve all heard that saying about people in glass houses (not greenhouses), right?
I was told by Joe Gergela, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, that from Labor Day through the end of October, agritourism will generate anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of the annual revenue that comes into the farms that I’m able to enjoy long after those families are gone, the pumpkins rotted on their doorsteps. Agriculture as a whole in Suffolk County leads the state in terms of sales dollars generated, according to a 2010 study, bringing in over $240 million. And Cornell University found in the early 2000s that over 70 percent of farm owners said their agritourist customers were repeat customers, while nearly half of the customers themselves reported spending money at those destinations on more than one occasion.
I’m not exactly sure what all those numbers mean when it comes down to a direct impact on my pocket.
But if working around really bad traffic for a few weekends — or just staying home and doing work around the house or watching college football — is part of the cost of maintaining those morning drives on Sound Avenue while most of the tourists are taking the LIRR, I’ll take it.
Commuters backed up over the past couple of days on their way to work can breathe a sigh of relief on Wednesday morning, as Tuesday is expected to mark the end of a brief road resurfacing project on Sound Avenue.
Traffic was routed southbound on Herricks Lane this morning, down to Main Road where Riverhead police waved traffic through.
Drivers are suggested to use Main Road until the road opens back up. According to a Southold Highway Department deputy, the project – which included milling and repaving the road – has been running along as scheduled and the road should be back open on Wednesday.
Police were diverting traffic after a tree fell into the roadway in Cutchogue Friday, slowing morning traffic for about 15 minutes for drivers.
The tree fell into the roadway along Main Road near the Mattituck border.
Police were on the scene directing traffic around the tree via the eastbound shouler about 8:45 a.m. Work crews were not yet on the scene.
A fatal collision between a Hampton Jitney bus and an SUV on Route 39 in Southampton Thursday morning, coupled with a construction-related road closure on Route 48, lead to traffic headaches in Greenport for much of the day.
After the Southampton crash at about 7 a.m., Route 39, one of only two main east-west roads on the South Fork, was closed in both directions and the eastbound lane didn’t reopen until 1 p.m. As of 2:45 p.m., the westbound lane was still closed.
As a result, starting at mid-morning, a considerable amount of traffic ended up on the North Fork heading toward the Shelter Island Ferry in Greenport, said Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley.
The marked ferry route directs vehicles to turn right from Route 25 in Greenport down 6th Street to Wiggins Street, which ends at Third Street near a ferry staging area. But it appears GPS systems directed them elsewhere.
“People aren’t aware of the traffic patterns down there and went right down 3rd Street and cut in front of those waiting and went right on the ferry, and that doesn’t go over well,” the chief said.
Some drivers realizing their mistake made U-turns in the middle of 3rd Street and others drove the wrong way west on Wiggins, which is one-way heading east, the chief added.
Police responded by setting up a traffic detail near the ferry terminal.
Traffic was already heavy eastbound on Main Road in Greenport due to construction on the North Road’s east bound lane. From 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday traffic is diverted down Chapel Lane to Main Road. During that time the North Road is closed between Chapel and Moores Lane.
With Thursday’s unseasonably cool weather, fewer people apparently went to the beach and more were out on the highway, the chief said.
He said the traffic was expected to thin out when Route 48’s eastbound lane reopened at 3:30.