A long-anticipated traffic study of the Love Lane area was officially accepted for completion at a Town Board meeting Tuesday.
Consultants were hired to prepare the study after the Town Board deemed a previous study inadequate in 2018. The new study, done by engineers from AKRF, featured an expanded scope and includes the eight arterial roads that feed into Route 25 within the impact area.
According to deputy supervisor Jill Doherty, the next steps include posting the study for public review and scheduling a virtual public meeting to present the report, similar to how the recent New Suffolk parking study was presented in December.
A date for that public meeting has not been set yet.
“We should get it out to the public as soon as possible and start discussing it,” Councilman Jim Dinizio said during Tuesday’s work session.
Officials have cited the ongoing traffic study as justification to implement a moratorium halting the issuance of permits along Main Road between Bay Avenue and Pike Street.
Meanwhile, in New Suffolk, Ms. Doherty said officials will continue to meet with the civic group, highway and other town departments to determine what traffic and parking calming measures can be implemented ahead of the summer season.
SCHOOL BUS CAMERAS
Thousands of school buses in Suffolk County are expected to begin using cameras to identify and ticket drivers who pass them illegally this year.
In November, county officials selected BusPatrol, a Virginia-based tech company, to operate the program, which will install cameras on the “STOP arms” of 6,000 buses across the 48 school districts that have opted in.
Drivers who are caught passing a stopped school bus could face an initial fine of $250 that would increase for subsequent violations. Fines would be split, with BusPatrol receiving 45% of ticket revenues and the county receiving 55%.
The Southold Town Board is expected to approve an agreement with the county in order to adjudicate local cases.
According to town attorney Bill Duffy, cases in the five western Suffolk towns will be handled by the county’s traffic violations bureau. “Because we have Justice Courts in the five eastern towns, they will be adjudicated in the justice court,” Mr. Duffy explained during a work session Tuesday.
Before passing the agreement, officials were planning to discuss the issue with the town justices and court coordinator Leanne Reilly.
Town Board member Louisa Evans asked if drivers passing stopped buses was a pressing issue on the North Fork.
“I don’t know that it’s a big problem out here, especially in Southold,” Mr. Duffy said.
During a pilot program conducted in 2019, data collected in the Bay Shore area recorded 389 drivers illegally passing buses in three months.
Even on bitterly cold days, there’s a good chance you’ll see a group of kids playing at Tasker Park in Peconic.
“It’s a crowd now, that new playground is used like crazy,” said Denis Noncarrow, the town’s government liaison officer, who helped secure grant funding for the project last year.
Taking note of increased use of the playground and other features at the park amid the pandemic, town officials are continuing to invest in the park.
The town recently received $50,000 from an anonymous local donor that will be used to construct a new pavilion there, providing a much-needed option for groups seeking to meet outdoors.
Now, the town recreation department is hoping to continue sprucing up that section of the park by creating a paved parking area along Carroll Avenue.
“It’s great to have this beautiful playground and soon-to-be beautiful pavilion, but we have to provide access to all of our community members,” said Janet Douglass, the town’s recreation supervisor.
They’re seeking $130,000 in grant funding to create a parking area compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
The playground itself, completed last spring, was also grant funded and is already ADA compliant. Currently, those using the playground or nearby fields typically park in a dirt area along Carroll Avenue, a wooded area with tree roots and some that are rotting or have snapped in recent storms, Ms. Douglass said Tuesday.
“It’s kind of treacherous,” she said, adding that the situation becomes even more dangerous when a small minibus sometimes transports children to the area and is forced to park along the roadway.
The project would clear a line of trees and install a paved parking slab. It’s not yet clear how many cars it would accommodate and Ms. Douglass said they would try to maintain green space along the fence line.
“I understand that no one wants to see we’re taking down trees but we’re providing access to the rest of the park. Without providing those parking spots, we’re limiting who can get to our playground,” Ms. Douglass said.