A long-delayed plan to improve traffic flow and create park land in Patchogue has been given new life by Suffolk County lawmakers.
The $1.6 million plan, which calls for shifting part of a road and adding a traffic circle, was approved on Tuesday by the county legislature. When it is completed in a couple of years, the project is expected to add parking near the downtown shopping district, make it easier for fire trucks to avoid traffic congestion in the busy village, and create spectacular views of Patchogue Lake by adding open space around the pond.
Building the traffic circle and revamping Holbrook Road — a short spur connecting Waverly Avenue with Lake and West streets — also should enhance an area that soon will be home to Blue Point Brewing Co., which plans to move in 2018 to the Briarcliffe College building on West Main Street.
“The circle certainly would improve traffic flow in the area. It will help create new park area. It would create new parking,” Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue) said, adding it also could attract a new hotel to the village. “All these things go hand in hand.”
The traffic circle would be built where Holbrook Road intersects with Lake Street, near the New Village retail and residential complex. Calarco said the county plans to help Patchogue buy land to build the circle and a new parking lot.
The westbound lane of Holbrook Road would be shifted slightly south, displacing a center median, in order to create park land along the shores of Patchogue Lake. Adding the traffic circle and shifting Holbrook Road have been on the drawing board for nearly a decade; an earlier plan was abandoned when funds dried up, officials said.
The traffic circle would replace the current road design, in which Holbrook Road bends and splits in two directions at the intersection with Lake Street. Patchogue Fire Chief Joe Arabia said the intersection has seen “numerous accidents there at all times.”
Mayor Paul Pontieri said moving the road and creating open space will improve vistas of the lake, currently shrouded by trees.
“It’s one of the prime entrances coming into the village,” Pontieri said. “That lake, when you come into the village, all you see is trees. It’s a mess.”
David Kennedy, president of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, said additional parking will be welcomed by local merchants.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that more parking in Patchogue is needed,” he said. “I think it will help make it a little more user-friendly for people.”
Arabia said the new roundabout should help fire trucks avoid traffic congestion on Main Street. But he also expressed doubt about the circle, saying it could slow traffic too much. Still, he said, the circle will be better than what is there now.
“I don’t think it can be perfect because of the amount of area you have to work with there,” he said. “I’m always skeptical, but from the fire department aspect, it will be an improvement.”