October 19, 2021

New Byrne Dairy in Homer still fuels traffic worries

S.N. Briere/ staff reporter

Jeanette Forsythe makes a sandwich for a customer Wednesday afternoon at the Byrne Dairy on Route 281 in homer. Wednesday was opening day of the business.

Traffic flowed smoothly around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday along Route 281. No long lines at the Route 90 and Route 281 intersection, the site of a new Byrne Dairy gas station and convenience store.

But whether the opening of the new gas station will cause more traffic in the area during other times of the day is still a lingering question and a concern for the Homer Village Board of Trustees, Deputy Mayor Patrick Clune said Wednesday.

“We are definitely going to watch this for a month or so,” he said.

Traffic at that intersection was a problem before the Byrne Dairy was proposed, he said, noting drivers at times would wait through several cycles of the light before successfully making it through the intersection.

Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe said he brought the concerns about the intersection to the state Department of Transportation and what McCabe said is an unnecessary proposed roundabout at Route 41.

The intersection of routes 90 and 281 sees an average of 11,548 vehicles a day, state DOT data show, down slightly from 11,636 in 2010. However, the intersection of routes 41 and 281 sees 2,152 vehicles a day, down from 2,204 in 2011.

“Unfortunately, and frankly, astoundingly, NYS DOT does not feel that the intersection is a problem,” he said in an email. “I think when the public comment period opens up for the proposed roundabout at 41, DOT is going to get an earful from our residents, but at this point I’ve done what I can to try and get them to address this situation.”

The Byrne Dairy is expected to bring in many customers, as it did Wednesday. Many people took advantage of another place to get gas, although a Speedway operates across the street. Others, like Homer residents Brandon Maxson and Kyle Ritz stopped to grab lunch from the deli inside.

“It’s definitely got more of a selection than some places around here,” Maxson said.

Neither of the men was concerned about the traffic, though.

“I think it’s (Byrne Dairy) good for the town,” Ritz said.

Mark Byrne, the executive vice president and treasurer for Byrne, was at the station grabbing lunch and checking in. He said the deli was definitely the highlight.

“It’s been really busy,” he said.

Byrne also mentioned plans to continue expanding Byrne Dairy’s footing in the county, where it has a plant that makes yogurt and sour cream, and another, smaller store on Groton Avenue in Cortland.

“We want a store in Cortland,” he said. “We’re actively pursuing that.”