Judy Cartwright Judy Cartwright

Judy Cartwright writes the Community Watchdog column

There's a new sign on Old Town Road in East Setauket: "Do Not Block Side Road."

Nearby residents had sought such a sign because drivers were ignoring the white grid on the pavement at Erin Lane, the entrance to their condominium community.

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The new sign replaces one that said "Do Not Block Intersection" -- which, even though it was paired with the grid, wasn't getting the desired results. Condo residents said they thought the sign was being misinterpreted to apply to a traffic signal that's visible just ahead, at the entrance to Ward Melville High School.

In early spring, Brookhaven Town told Watchdog that traffic congestion at Erin Lane wasn't sufficient to warrant a new sign, and that the old sign was in accord with the federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the bible of traffic signs and signals.

But Carolyn Lomba wasn't about to give up. Lomba, a member of the Lakes at Setauket condominium board, started by calling Washington (Federal Highway Administration), which referred her to Albany (the administration's New York Division) and followed up with calls to a variety of local elected and appointed officials. "Once I get something in my head, I'm not gonna stop until I'm done," she told us.

And she got results: The "Do Not BlockĀ  Side Road" sign was installed May 20. And drivers who ignore it will do so at their own peril: Suffolk County police say they will step up patrols in the area in an effort to keep cars out of the box.