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Oct 23, 2018 3:20 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

New Riverside Traffic Circle Is Rid Of Traffic Jams, Official Ribbon Cutting On Friday

The completed Riveside Traffic Circle on Monday afternoon.
Oct 23, 2018 4:16 PM

Fifteen to 20 minutes of traffic delays are now unheard of at the Riverside traffic circle, as construction to widen the circle is finally complete.

Local officials and community members will celebrate its completion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, October 26, at 11 a.m. at the circle.

Those in attendance will include Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, the Southampton Town Board, the Riverhead Town Board, and members of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association.

“The completion of this project is part of our larger vision to invest in our infrastructure and transportation to connect our vibrant downtowns,” Mr. Bellone said in a statement.

The $5.5 million project, which began construction in September 2017, expanded the circle into an oval by putting in an additional lane to ease traffic congestion. The two lanes have different rounded arrows to signify which exits each will take the driver to.

The circle features mountable curbs designed to allow large vehicles to ride up on them without causing damage. A storm sewer system was also installed to treat rainwater runoff and mitigate flooding issues, made possible by County Legislator Bridget Fleming, who pushed for $250,000 in additional funding.

Ron Fisher, president of FRNCA, credited the members of his association for pushing for funding this year, after attempts from the County Legislature to postpone the project.

“Now we’re celebrating it being completed, where if our community hadn’t rallied together, we probably wouldn’t be celebrating the groundbreaking,” he said. “It’s a testament of how well our community works together.”

The unusual design of the circle connects five roads instead of the typical four, so officials noted that it may be tricky for drivers to use at first.

Sajjad Rashid, the manager of the Shell gas station at the circle, said that his customers do not express any confusion or complaints about using the circle now that construction is complete. “During construction, people complained a lot,” he said, adding that he thinks the new circle will help his business.

Riverside is in the early stages of its Revitalization Action Plan to improve the hamlet, and the new circle will only help expedite its future steps—Mr. Fisher called it the “cornerstone” of the action plan.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who helped fund the project when he was a county legislator, mentioned that planning to improve the circle actually started when he was first elected to the legislature about 15 years ago. “This has been in the works for quite some time,” he said, adding that he is happy to see it finished.

FRNCA agreed to maintain the area in the center of the circle as a way to beautify it. “It was just going to be a big flat berm,” Mr. Fisher said. The Suffolk County Department of Public Works is currently planting about 200 bushes, trees and shrubs in the center and should be complete within the next couple of weeks. The association is raising money through its volunteers to pay for the plantings.

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Went through the new circle this morning. Coming from the air base to the county center, the left lane is going to back up heavily during commute hours IMO. Old problems gone; new ones replace them!

Mo’ people, mo’ cars, mo’ poblems!

Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle !!!

By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Oct 23, 18 5:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
It seems that a lot of town resources were used to enhance the private property of several gas stations and the new construction, including giving private owners more land. Who is paying for this???
By DisgustedHamptons (58), Hampton Bays on Oct 31, 18 2:16 AM
Modern, slow and go, roundabout intersections have less daily delay than a stop light or stop sign, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work (it’s the #2 reason they’re built). Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car. At a modern roundabout average daily delay is less than five seconds. Signals take an hour of demand and restrict it to a half hour, at best only half the traffic gets to go at any one time. 'At best' because ...more
By ScottBatson (6), on Oct 24, 18 3:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Rid of Traffic jams and soon to be riddled with accidents I imagine
By bmr80 (35), east quogue on Oct 24, 18 5:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
Was there today, traffic backed up on 24 and other roads off the circle and people were not sure when and if to enter the circle.
By Resident tax (186), Hampton bays ny on Oct 24, 18 6:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
Are you kidding??? This is death trap #2...death trap #1 is the Northern circle by Dunkin Donuts....don't kid yourself...you take your life in your hands entering the Northern one...and imagine the addition of a Medical building to replace the old Howard Johnson's...if you don't already have a doctor, you may need one. I am a long time resident and the other day, on Rt. 24, going west, I followed the car in front of me onto the painted lines going toward the circle. We both ended up on the western ...more
By 16945 (15), Riverhead on Oct 25, 18 12:51 PM
Is Supv. Schneiderman actually "happy" that this 15-year old boondoggle is finally getting finished? Bring plenty of lipstick tomorrow . . . :) [see below]

A lot has happened in the last 15 years!

This entire project should have been re-designed, by "taking" more property for a much larger circle IMO. Could that office building be any closer to the pavement? What happens in a blizzard when snowplows BURY the sidewalk?

Just one of many problems.

Hope they are ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 25, 18 2:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
Are there no setbacks needed for the building? It's going to become a 'drive-in' like that now gone Pizza Hut!
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Oct 30, 18 6:20 PM
Look at that headline! Look at the lead paragraph!

Now, start looking for a reporter who will not dazedly repeat everything told by those who would prefer to pat themselves on the back than speak in terms of reality. "Rid of traffic jams," "delays are now unheard of" - hah! Not an "allegedly," "reportedly," or "claimed" in sight!

"There's one born every minute!"
By VOS (1241), WHB on Oct 29, 18 7:36 AM
I sat in traffic there yesterday morning for 15 minutes. But yes, it has been much better.
By HB90 (164), southampton on Oct 30, 18 10:58 PM
Maybe in some third-world countries this is acceptable...
I'm starting a pool to see when the first vehicle traveling westbound on NY-24 planning to go north in to Riverhead makes the wrong turn straight in to a Valero fuel pump!
By DisgustedHamptons (58), Hampton Bays on Oct 31, 18 2:11 AM