North Fork prepares for autumn tourism, heavy traffic season

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SOUTHOLD -

With autumn around the corner, residents on the North Fork are preparing for visitors in search of pumpkin picking, apple picking and the beautiful scenery that comes with the East End of Long Island.

However, traffic issues have caused the town of Southold to reach a “crossroads,” according to Town Supervisor Scott Russell.

“The public recognizes the importance of tourism, but they're starting to wonder if it's worth the erosion of their quality of life,” he says.

Southold Town officials say a trip that normally would take just a few minutes can take more than an hour for residents during high traffic times.

Tom Wickham, the owner and operator of Wickham’s Fruit Farm in Cutchogue, says the traffic issues are “very serious on Saturdays and Sundays.”

“It's not just locals, but even the people visiting,” says Wickham. “They're stuck in traffic for an hour moving a few hundred feet. It's very frustrating, and it makes people angry.”

The town of Southold says it’s dispatching police officers to help direct traffic on busy autumn weekends. Town officials are advising visitors to come to the East End during off hours if they can.

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