The much-awaited final chapter of Southold Town’s Comprehensive Plan Update, on Transportation and Infrastructure, will be the subject of three public meetings next week.
The chapter, which includes an assessment of the town’s existing infrastructure and future transportation needs, is divided into two sections. The first discusses current traffic trends and currently proposed projects, and the second discusses potential growth if different land parcels throughout town are built out under existing zoning.
The draft chapter is available for the public to view online here.
The first public meeting, hosted by the Mattituck/Laurel Civic Association, will be held next Monday, Aug. 20 at the Mattituck American Legion Post 861, 600 Wickham Avenue in Mattituck.
The second will be held on Tuesday. Aug. 21 in the Peconic Landing Auditorium, 1500 Brecknock Road in Greenport. The third meeting will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 22 at the Peconic Lane Community Center, 1170 Peconic Lane in Peconic.
All meetings will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
There are 378 miles of streets in Southold Town, and traffic during the busy season is 50 percent heavier than average during the week and 90 percent heavier than average on weekends.
According to the chapter, “the town experiences near-gridlock conditions during the late summer and fall particularly at the west end of Town. It can take two or three times as long to travel within the Town during these peak tourist conditions.”
The draft recommends “origin-destination” studies to gather information about the reasons for seasonal congestion, along with continuous traffic count stations on the Main Road, the North Road and Peconic Bay Boulevard. Currently, traffic counting is only done on the Main Road just east of the Riverhead town line.
“This single station, however, is not enough to provide the complete picture, and more continuous count stations are recommended throughout the town on major roads,” according to the report.
The report urges the town to continue to work to increase train and bus service, and states that the increase in taxi and ridesharing services will help public transit users reach their final destinations. It also calls on the town to expand bicycle and multi-use trails and paths.
It also recommends a shuttle for tourist destinations, though a recent pilot trolley project has been temporarily suspended due to low ridership.
The report also suggests the town monitor truck traffic, optimize traffic signals and discourage new private roads from being built.
The report also recommends that traffic calming studies be conducted for each hamlet within the town.