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With roundabout ruled out, it’s back to the drawing board at Love Lane

Southold Town officials are exploring new ways to improve safety at the Love Lane intersection with Main Road in Mattituck but are finding each of the recommendations from an engineering consultant comes with its own set of problems.

The town was forced to revisit recommendations made in a study of the intersection by the firm AKRF after the state rejected the initial preferred option to construct a roundabout where the two roads and Old Sound Avenue all intersect.

Of the three remaining options, a plan that would see a stop sign installed for westbound travelers looking to make a right-hand turn onto Love Lane, was preferred by the town’s Transportation Commission. But that plan also includes crosswalks Town Board members fear would create a new set of hazards.

“They’re on a blind corner,” said Councilwoman Jill Doherty of the crosswalks at Love Lane, where Main Road bends. “And they’re leading to the south side of [Main Road], where there’s not enough room for a sidewalk.”

Councilwoman Sarah Nappa, the Town Board liaison to the transportation commission, said ultimately the New York State Department of Transportation would do its own study before any official plan is put forward and they would offer their own recommendations regarding crosswalks.

A second option included a traffic signal at the intersection, which Town Board members said is not viable. The transportation commission feared the least preferred option of the three had solutions that would prevent eastbound traffic from entering Love Lane, something they said would not be in the best interest of merchants in the downtown.

Councilman Greg Doroski said he believes the preferred option, which includes pavement markings used to lower the perceived width of the road, would lessen the number of conflict points. 

“I do think it makes it safer,” he said. “Having that stop sign there, it at least gives you some certainty when you’re turning off Main Road going north through Love Lane. Its upside makes sense.”

The transportation commission would also like to see the DOT post weight limit signage limiting truck traffic entering Love Lane.

The Town Board said the next step will be to get DOT officials to visit the site and begin making its own recommendations to help shape a final plan for improving traffic in the area.

The 100-foot roundabout had been put forward by the town in February 2021, but that proposal was scrapped in November after the state said it was less than the usual 120-foot design, which would “better accommodate the largest tractor trailer truck, carrying a 53-foot trailer.” The town and its consultants agreed, however, that expanding the roundabout would be “an overdesign” because Route 48, which runs parallel to Route 25, is a designated truck route. An expansion would have also encroached on private property, the town said.

The AKRF study noted that based on data collected between 2015 and 2017 the intersection is the fifth-highest crash location in the Town of Southold.