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Riverhead Town board renames road for Heidi Behr, sets parking limits

Riverhead Town Hall is at 200 Howell Ave.

Riverhead Town Hall is at 200 Howell Ave. (Credit: Carl Corry)

The Riverhead Town Board last week named a roadway along the Peconic River for Heidi Behr, a popular Riverhead ambulance corps volunteer who was killed in 2005 while riding in an ambulance with a patient.

The roadway, which had no name, is not actually a street and is not part of the town road system, but provides a way for people to drive behind the stores on East Main Street between Peconic Avenue and McDermott Avenue.

And, it could become one of the most important new streets in town in the next few years.

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Now just part of a parking lot maintained by the downtown Business Improvement District, it already is being used by drivers who want to escape traffic jams on East Main Street, even though it has no official status as a road.

“It’s a thoroughfare,” explained Riverhead Town planner Rick Hanley.

Riverhead is studying traffic patterns downtown, looking at ways to deal with traffic as new stores continue to open and more restaurants and other businesses keep people downtown later in the evening. Options include new roads and parking configurations.

That study is expected to be completed in June 2014, town officials said.

In another issue that dealt with downtown parking, the Riverhead Town board voted, 4-0, to set a three-hour parking limit between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Friday for 60 parking spaces behind stores on East Main Street, near the Summerwind Square apartment and commercial complex being built on Peconic Avenue.

The facility has 52 workforce housing units and a 100-seat restaurant. Town officials said they did not want tenants using parking spaces close to other stores all day.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who is an investor in the project, abstained.

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