Suffolk County Legis. Dominick Thorne, left, and Brookhaven Councilman Neil Foley stand...

Suffolk County Legis. Dominick Thorne, left, and Brookhaven Councilman Neil Foley stand at a newly installed stop sign at the corner of Corey Avenue and Middle Road in Blue Point. Credit: Morgan Campbell

Following dozens of car crashes near a popular restaurant in recent years, Blue Point residents and the business' owner said they welcomed the installation of stop signs at a nearby intersection. 

The signs were installed last month on the eastbound and westbound lanes of Middle Road at the intersection with Corey Avenue, Suffolk County Legis. Dominick Thorne said.

Thorne (R-Patchogue), who said he nearly was struck by a car at the intersection, said he responded to many crashes there as a critical care technician for the North Patchogue Fire Department.

Residents have expressed concerns for years about traffic and parking in the neighborhood, which includes Brookhaven Town-owned Corey Beach, public and private marinas, and Flo's Luncheonette, a seasonal eatery on the southwest corner of Middle Road and Corey Avenue.

“It’s a high-traffic area," said Thorne, citing a county study that showed 26 accidents at the intersection last year, almost all involving at least one injury. “God willing, we save a life before something happens.”

The cost of installing the signs, including two signs alerting drivers to the upcoming stop signs, was $500, he said. Middle Road is County Route 65.

Traffic at the intersection increases significantly during the summer, Thorne said.

The intersection was “definitely a very dangerous situation,” Brookhaven Councilman Neil Foley said, adding that the town had previously installed stop signs on Corey Avenue, a town street.

With dozens of houses north of Middle Road, and Flo's Luncheonette, the beach and a town parking lot on the south side, the intersection is frequently crossed by bicyclists, skateboarders and pedestrians withchildren and pets, Foley said.

One reason for increased traffic is that Blue Point's population has grown in recent years, said Jason Borowski, president of the Blue Point Civic Coalition. U.S. census data shows the hamlet's population grew by 8% over 10 years, from 4,773 in 2010 to 5,156 in 2020.

“It wasn’t really a matter of if, but when, that something catastrophic would happen,” Borowski said, adding that speeding on Middle Road appears to be "substantially decreased now,” since the signs were installed.

Flo's Luncheonette co-owner Connor Vigliotta said he was “very pleased” stop signs were installed on Middle Road. The restaurant is open from April to October, he said.

“We’ve been trying to get a stop sign there at least the past decade,” he said. “There was about an accident a month. Pretty terrible, pretty scary. Everyone I ever talked to wanted a stop sign there.”

Last year, Flo's placed orange traffic cones along curbs on the south side of Middle Road because many customers had parked there illegally, Vigliotta said. He said customers were not inconvenienced by the cones, adding complaints were "almost nonexistent."

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