Oct. 5: Five Suggestions for Sound Avenue Traffic Control

Here are your ideas on how to ease the intense seasonal traffic around Harbes' Farm Stand and Patty's Berries and Bunches on Sound Avenue in Mattituck.

Almost a dozen people commented on an article published on Tuesday about the to help with the flow of traffic during pumpkin-picking time around Harbes' Farm on Sound Avenue in Mattituck.

The proposal hit the table again on Monday, when application to expand its small winery operation was analyzed by Planning Board members. But with the popularity of Harbes' Farm Stand and agritainment activities to the north and Harbes' u-pick pumpkin patch and Patty's Berries and Bunches stand to the south, traffic can back up for miles in either direction during the weekends in the fall.

Here are examples of what you had to say:

said: "It is about time. Harbes should have paid for traffic control of some sort years ago! It is an major accident/death waiting to happen.  My family tries to avoid that stretch of street in the fall at all costs since we have been lucky to barely avoid hitting either a pedistrian or a car but it is difficult to do, since we just live a short distance west of their agritainment complex and are forced to make major detours just to go about our daily business."

said: "I truly do not think that police direction at the crossing would do any good. You would need several in order to cover the whole crossing area. The only time the road is passable is when it is raining. Parking there is dangerous for the customers. Pulling in, backing out, trying to hold onto their kids and load pumpkins, too. How about a crosswalk bridge?"

said: "A traffic control officer may help - but I don't want to pay for any of it. Harbes [should] entirely so other vineyards don't expect the same on the taxpayers' dime."

said: "When a utility or construction company blocks a road they are required to have trained traffic controllers (flaggers) on the street to control the traffic. Can this not be considered the same? The Town needs to draw up an ordinance, if it does not already have one addressing all types of traffic problems and when traffic control is necessary for all roads from Laurel to Orient Point. This avoids anyone saying they are being targeted ... A more expensive and less pleasing esthetically, would be to have the businesses pay for widening the road in their area, allowing a turning lane to be installed, where turning traffic could be stacked allowing through-traffic to move. Also, what about making specific cross walks where the crossing could be controlled more easily, with those who ignored it being ticketed for jaywalking, if that is illegal?"

said: "On Route 48 on any given weekend, Vineyard 48 has between 20-25 coach buses, limos, party rides, vans as well as private vehicles. I see that they are now setting up orange cones to reserve spots on a County Road is that private parking for their winery or should there be a TCO at that location? If Harbes farm was on 48 this would not be an issue because there are two lanes east and two west. We live in a farm community — this could all be turned under and made into houses — I don't think anyone wants to see that. Another option would be to expand the 495 to Orient — that would free up the conjestion...NEVER. So lets have a plan ... on how to properly and FAIRLY make a traffic plan and enforce it. I don't think putting a Southold Town TCO on the payroll of a private business is the solution. Where does that end?"

william mcneil October 05, 2011 at 10:55 AM
What about Rt. 105 and Sound Avenue? My parents live across the street from Briamere. I cannot tell you what kind of mess this is. U-turns, parking all over the place, using their property as their dump. What used to be a rural farm area is now Taj Majhal row. Both towns should of limited the size of these complexes. My stepfather was one of the " original" potato farmers out here, so I know what farmers mean to the area, and I love and respect them all. However, how can one justify these gigantic " farm stands"? A good portion of the farmers have sold building rights to the town so it would stay open and rural.
local resident October 05, 2011 at 11:45 AM
A traffic control plan is needed for Harbes. They should pay for the study. Their establishment is rather unique in that it occupies both sides of a very busy road. Unfortunately for the east end, Sound Avenue/North Road/ Rte 48, is one of only two major arteries that run east to west on the north fork, thus the "circus atmosphere" and congestion surrounding their business/entertainment complex directly impacts all residents, as it impedes traffic flow and creates hazardous road conditions for vehicles, drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. The study should address parking reconfiguration, lane additions (either two lanes or turning lanes) and/or changes, pedestrian crosswalks (but without proper enforcement-these are useless and will add nothing and only prolong the danger!), a pedestrian bridge/tunnel and a private/public traffic control officer with payment/payroll consideration i.e. private or public. The accepted choice should one that best meets the needs of the public while creating a safe environment for the customers of Harbes.
John Rooney October 05, 2011 at 01:48 PM
How about two TCO's, one at each end of the complex and in radio contact with each other for full coordination? Harbes should pay for at least one of them. John Rooney.
mkeller819 October 05, 2011 at 02:54 PM
That stretch of road is extremely dangerous! Something needs to be done and Harbes should definitely pay for it. I try at all costs to avoid that area, I take Peconic Bay Blvd to 105 most of the time.
local resident October 05, 2011 at 03:55 PM
I believe everyone wants the same thing i.e. safe road conditions, safety for pedestrians and vehicles. The "inconvenience" that you allude to is an afterthought. Make the roads safe for all to visit, work and live. No one wants a highway to run along this corridor...you are missing the point, though just a couple hundred yards to the east the roadway is two lane in the midst of "farm country".But lets face facts, the "not-to-bright-types who are trying to pull a wagon full of kids across a congested county route, with a speed limit of 45 mph, are asking for trouble and something needs to be done to rectify this problem.. How about either parking on the side that you are visiting or coming up with some "workable" solutions? Also if you think that you are still living in a small farming community, I have a bridge to sell you. And for your info, this problem is not just limited to the "FALL" but starts in the spring when the stand opens. People need to pick berries, wild flowers etc at that time of year thru the summer and into the fall....6 months!! So get real and try to come up with a solution that will work for the residents and our visitors....take your head out of the sand and taking "other routes" does nothing to address the safety issues and is not always doable! Don't forget, the reason for this article is because Harbes wants to add another agritainment feature with a wine tasting room, so travel/traffic issues should be dealt with now before a death occurs.
Peter J Psyllos October 05, 2011 at 04:02 PM
I agree with Robin, yes it is an inconvenience,but it is only for a few weeks. Safety would still be a concern, their customers cross all season long. It could probably be controlled by a marked parking lot, as every other business is required to have. And on a lighter side, maybe we locals should get bumper stickers that say " the fall harvest is over- now go home".
local resident October 05, 2011 at 04:14 PM
How about "fencing" in the parking lot and have a dedicated "entrance and exit". A small pedestrian walkway/thru with a clearly defined crosswalk. The crosswalk would have a traffic control guard during peak seasons. The parking lots would also have Harbes employees directing cars to spots and guiding people to crosswalk. I wish this problem was only limited to the fall but sadly it is now a three-quarters of the year problem. Let's come to a solution because they way it stands now, we are "Nassau County".
Anne B October 05, 2011 at 04:42 PM
I like the suggestion of the "local resident" above, the agritainment venues should be required to have designated off road parking and fencing in the parking lot with one designated entrance and exit and one pedestrian crossing would be a great solution. The predestrian crossing should be manned by a Harbes Farm employee and they should be wearing a reflective vest and have a wand and be trained correctly. Perhaps the town can put up some sort of sign indicated a reduced speed limit or pedestrian crossing to slow traffic down. No parking signs along both sides of the roadway would be necessary to and the police could monitor on their shift to ticket those breaking the law.
local resident October 05, 2011 at 07:06 PM
I'm sorry but it certainly seemed as if you did not read what I wrote. My original reply was in reference to your reply to me. You also misread my statement as I never suggested a two lane highway so I quess we both need to understand each other's position. Actually now that you brought it up,the two lane highway that runs thru Mattituck,Cutchogue, Peconic and some of Southold farm country does have a way of keeping people from crossing its lanes due to its size,maybe you do have a great solution! Maybe that would work. By-the-way, I'm glad you gave me your credentials as I will tell you that my family have been potato farmers since the 1870s and my great-grandfather had a business located in Riverhead in 1902, so I also know the area and it is very much changed. You cannot determine the size of a community by the number of students graduating from local high schools each year as that is misleading, the retired and summer folks increase our numbers and their children are not registered in our schools but services must still be provided. As you have lived here 49 years, you will agree that the problem has increased significantly since the advent of agritainment in the past 10 years (both at "farmstands" and wineries), which have made our roads congested and dangerous. We all know about Peconic Blvd and other shortcuts but that is not the issue. It is planning for our future and whether you like it or not, we will become more crowded so let’s make the roads safe now.
Erin Schultz (Editor) October 05, 2011 at 07:12 PM
Robin -- I would love to see those historic pictures of the North Road -- could you email them to me? erins@patch.com
Gary M Charters October 08, 2011 at 02:00 PM
As is the case with any business that is similar to a farm stand you give them an inch and they take a mile. I don't know of any farm that grows pies, cookies and lobsters or clams the intended use is way out of hand.
Jonathan Baker October 14, 2011 at 01:36 PM
If ever there were a crying need for a traffic control study, it is along the Sound Avenue route, from Route 105 east to the intersection of Route 48 and Cox Neck Road. The traffic problem needs the expertise of a traffic control engineer. A very cursory Google search reveals that installation of a traffic light may not be the answer to the problem at the Harbes Farmstand. I don't have an answer. There are too many factors to integrate. In the interests of fairness and safety, any application for expansion of use at the Harbes Farm should include a professional analysis of how to control the entrance and egress of vehicles and pedestrian traffic. Is it going to take the death of a child for the town to take action?
Jeff August 31, 2012 at 04:22 AM
I miss the days when sound avenue was used by us locals. Then the wineries destroyed it all. By throwing these ridiculous events..then came the buses and limos. I hate the out of towners...I can't even get to my quiet spot (which, thankfully, hasn't been discovered..yet) without hundreds of people in my way. I wish the people from out west and the city would stay there, or go to the hamptons. I miss driving sound ave in the eighties


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