The words “New Suffolk” and “traffic” don’t seem to go together, but a study conducted over two weekends in July does show that the hamlet has a serious parking problem.
Members of the Southold Town Board, outside consultants and some hamlet residents came together via Zoom last Wednesday evening to discuss the ongoing New Suffolk Comprehensive Parking Study.
The central issue of the town-sponsored traffic study is that on summer weekends, visitors have been parking on residential streets in the hamlet and walking to the town beach facing Robins Island.
The speakers said the lot by the beach has 40 parking spaces, all of themreserved for residents, so outsiders visiting the hamlet park wherever they can and walk with their beach gear to the water. The result is that every residential street is filled with cars.
George Maul of the New Suffolk Civic Association said he appreciated the study, which was done over the July 4th weekend and later the same month, but noted that the parking problem is chronic and needs to be addressed.
“I take exception to the idea of providing more parking spaces,” he said. “We need less people to park here — people come from all over the place.”
“Anyone can come here” to enjoy the beach and hamlet residents are paying the price, he said, adding, “It’s getting worse every year. We have people who come through here and drop people off… The town has to manage the beach better.”
Mr. Maul went on to say “it’s madness” near the boat ramp by the beach. “We’ve got to limit the number of people who come here from anywhere. It’s terrible,” he said.
He said he has seen visitors “pee in the parking lot and defecate behind the post office … They come all the way from Rockville Centre to pee.”
New Suffolk resident Yvonne Boutges, who is also member of the civic association, said, “There are too many people on the beach. People who live here can’t use this resource in our backyard.”
Among the possible solutionsdiscussed during the Zoom meeting were: clear regulations as to where and when people can park in the hamlet; timed parking throughout New Suffolk; improved enforcement of beach stickers; parallel parking in front of hamlet businesses; an enlarged beach parking lot.
“I am here with this issue every day,” said Mr. Maul. “Every day a hundred people walk past my house who have parked somewhere else. We have to balance what we have — or there will be nothing left to attract people.”
Deputy town supervisor Jill Doherty, who conducted the meeting, said the group would continue to meet “and keep the conversation going. We will have another meeting in the future.”
Board member Bob Ghosio said, “We will have to make some decisions before the crowds come back.”