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Love Lane roundabout hits standstill as state DOT pushes back on design

A design for a potential Love Lane roundabout may have come to an impasse, after communication with the state.

A 100-foot roundabout to ease traffic at the intersection of Love Lane and Main Road in Mattituck was recommended by engineers in a study of traffic and pedestrian safety improvement alternatives, accepted by the Town Board in January. 

Compiled by consultants from AKRF, the study notes that — based on data collected between 2015 and 2017 — the intersection is the fifth-highest crash location in the Town of Southold. It further notes that a roundabout would slow down traffic in the area by forcing drivers to yield, and potential right-angle, left-turn and head-on collisions would be “virtually eliminated.” 

“What we basically got back from the state is that because it’s smaller than their normal [120-foot] roundabout, they’re not considering that as an option for that area,” said Sarah Nappa, a Town Board member and liaison for the town Transportation Commission. “Basically, we’re kind of at a bit of a standstill … because we would need somebody — which is sort of our next step — but we would need somebody from the DOT to come out and sort of take special interest in this particular case and then bring that to the traffic engineers at the DOT.”

The report from this winter notes that the state Department of Transportation had recommended increasing the outer diameter of the roundabout to 120 feet to “better accommodate the largest tractor trailer truck, carrying a 53-foot trailer.” 

The town and AKRF agreed in the analysis, however, that the expansion would be “an overdesign” because County Route 48, which runs parallel to Route 25, is a designated truck route. The report also points out that expanding the diameter beyond 100 feet would encroach on private property on the northwest and northeast corners.

“The Town of Southold wishes to discourage large truck traffic cutting through Love Lane between Route 25 and County Route 48 in order to maintain pedestrian safety, which the roundabout would help accomplish,” the analysis says.

The Transportation Commission plans to ask the board to send a memo to the regional director of the state DOT, Ms. Nappa said. 

“All they’re looking at is the report and from their perspective, it looks like it would be too small,” she added. “So that’s definitely why we would like to get somebody to come and do a site visit and see what we’re talking about.”