Suffolk County's Connect Long Island Plan is a regional transportation and development initiative that promotes sustainable long-term economic growth in Suffolk County. A key objective of Connect Long Island is improving regional mobility and access by providing more transportation choices and expanding the reach of the existing transit system. Among the Connect Long Island initiatives that promote active transportation are the Hike and Bike Network Master Plan, development of new hike-bike trails, and the Regional Bike-Share program.
The Suffolk County Hike and Bike Network Master Plan seeks to foster more walkable and bike-able communities, connecting popular destinations, historical sites, downtowns and transit hubs across the county. Led by Suffolk County Economic Development and Planning, this plan is the result of robust community and stakeholder engagement and thorough consideration of the County’s existing and planned trail assets. The plan’s vision and recommendations were developed based on public input received through an online public input tool and multiple pop-up events; input provided by the Hike-Bike Technical Advisory Committee which included town planners, hike and bike enthusiasts and advocates, County DPW and parks representatives and local planning organizations; and gap analysis was conducted by the project consultant. The network will improve quality of life for residents, reduce the reliance on automobiles, promote public health and boost economic activity.
Progress on developing such a network has already begun. The County is close to completion of the ten-mile Mount Sinai to Wading River North Shore Rail Trail, which uses public utility rights-of-way to develop a comfortable, safe bikeway and pedestrian path along the North Shore. As part of the Nicolls Road Bus Rapid Transit planning, the County is designing an extensive hiking and biking network alongside the corridor. In addition, the County will begin design work for 7-8 priority projects identified in the Hike Bike Master Plan.
In September 2019, a first of its kind regional bike-sharing program on Long Island, Bethpage Ride, was launched in Suffolk County. The goals of this Regional Bike-Share program include decreasing the use of the automobile, encouraging a more active, healthier lifestyle by providing bicycles for intermittent recreational use, and establishing a stronger bicycle culture in Suffolk County, complete with new bike lanes and safe infrastructure.
The bike-share program aims to help boost the local economy by increasing tourism, extending the reach of existing transit networks, and providing the critical last-mile connection between transportation hubs, popular destinations and Suffolk County’s vibrant downtown areas. With the continued support of Bethpage Federal Credit Union and the county’s bike share operator, Pedal Share, over two hundred bikes are available from April to November at over fifty stations in communities across Suffolk County including Babylon Village, Patchogue, Hampton Bays, Huntington, Riverhead, Lindenhurst, Town of Babylon and Town of Southampton. The County is hoping to expand to more locations in the spring. The system includes modern technology features that can be accessed through smartphone devices, making it simple and accessible. Users can download the Bloom app and either buy an annual membership or pay per ride.
Recently, Suffolk County began a walkability/active transportation analysis in collaboration with the Village of Babylon to study the walkability of their downtown area and main arteries into town. The study will analyze existing conditions in the Village and propose improvements. Two Walk Babylon public events were held in November to engage Village residents and stakeholders in the study process and collect feedback.
Learn more about these and other Suffolk County transportation initiatives at https://www.connectli.org/.
Hike Bike Master Plan Technical Advisory Committee members reviewing list of prioritized projects and providing input.
Bethpage Ride, Suffolk County's Regional Bike-share program, sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union and operated by Pedal Share.
Located sixty miles east of New York City on the North Shore of Long Island Stony Brook University (SBU) offers over 200 undergraduate programs, over 100 master’s programs and over 50 doctoral programs in a campus that spans 1,039 acres and celebrates a culture of sustainability. The Office of Sustainability utilizes the campus as a real world setting to develop sustainable programs and services to decrease the University's impact on the natural environment.
2021 Car Free Day LI Bragging Rights Winner
Sustainable and active transportation are important initiatives on campus, and SBU has the metrics to prove it! This year SBU came in first place of all municipalities, companies, colleges, and universities on Long Island celebrating Car Free Day. 578 students took the pledge to reduce car trips saving 5,288 miles of driving and 2.6 metric tons of carbon emissions. This effort was led by the Commuter Assistant club (faculty advisor Nicole Chiuchiolo), a dedicated group of student leaders at SBU that serve as mentors, providing support, advice and mentorship to incoming commuter students.
SBU Wolf Ride Bike Share Program
SBU does more than encourage less driving, they provide enticing alternatives. In Spring 2011, the University Environmental Stewardship Office launched a bicycle sharing program for students to promote healthier habits, reduce the need for automobiles on campus and reduce SBU’s carbon footprint.
SBU's Wolf Ride Bike Share system is comprised of thirteen (13) solar powered bike stations and eighty-eight (88) bicycles, providing users with the ability to travel from one University location to another using a zero emissions form of transportation. In addition to environmental advantages, Wolf Ride encourages health and physical exercise and also serves to limit roadway vehicular congestion.
Data provided by Greg Monaco, Sustainability Coordinator Office of Sustainability, shows bike share rentals had been steadily increased each year to a peak of over 60,000 rentals per year until the pandemic, and are starting to rebound with the campus reopening.
Helping the Underserved
Stony Brook University also helps promote active transportation by donating bicycles abandoned by students at the end of each school year to Brookhaven Bike Co-op, a nonprofit organization that refurbishes donated bicycles and gives them to people in need. Coordinated by Jaret Saget, Assistance Coordinator Safety and Support Services, SBU has donated over 90 bicycles since May 2021.
Car Free Day LI Co-Chairs from Transit Solutions and 511NY Rideshare presenting 1st place Car Free Day LI "Bragging Rights" award to Stony Book University.
Stony Brook University Wolf Ride Bike Share Rental Data (2014 - 2021)
Tucked away on a peninsula on Nassau County’s North Shore is the hamlet of Port Washington. Here, the 50+ year strong environmental non-profit Residents Forward launched Let’s Walk PW, a web integrated street signage campaign that encourages residents and visitors to walk, and helps connect Port Washington’s vibrant waterfront, treelined streets, breathtaking views of Manhasset Bay, beautiful parks, active community centers, theater, fantastic restaurants and unique shops.
“The pandemic gave us the opportunity to change pedestrian life,” stated Residents Forward board member and project leader Mindy Germain. “We were hearing from our members that they want more walkable routes to enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment around our waterfront and business districts. At the same time, The Rimmer Family Foundation wanted to invest in a project that brings community partners together to boost our local merchants hit so hard by the shut down and lingering pandemic. Let’s Walk PW was developed as a collaborative effort among Residents Forward, the Rimmer Foundation, the Port Washington Business Improvement District, the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce, the Town of North Hempstead, the Cow Neck Historical Society, Transition Town Port Washington and the Port Washington Public Library.”
The process started with community partners using the nationally recognized Walk Your City approach to map out shops, restaurants, parks, historical and cultural sites, and entertainment accessible within one mile by foot. Next, local designer Michelle Shain developed signs that let Port Washington pedestrians see themselves in the campaign. In her own words, “Our walkers are all ages, income brackets and colors. They fancy different interests, tastes and hobbies.” Michelle used their individual footsteps to educate residents about the proximity of Port Washington’s diverse offerings.
Each sign includes a destination, an eye-catching execution of a pedestrian’s foot with an accessory to match the destination, an estimate of the minutes to walk there, and a QR Code linking walkers to an interactive map created by the Port Washington BID to access more information.
To paint a picture of how this works, if someone comes to Port Washington’s waterfront Sunset Park, they will be cued that Bay Walk is only minutes away, and then be enticed to go a little further to experience all the different flavors of Manorhaven Blvd. On their return they will discover a little-known gem - the Growing Love Community Garden.
“My family is happy to support this initiative,” stated Jennifer Rimmer of the Rimmer Family Foundation. Let’s Walk PW brings vibrancy to Port. The program guides Port residents and visitors to explore, shop and support our community.”
The initiative was officially launched on September 12, 2021 at the Let’s Walk PW event, attended by over 200 local residents who participated in a fun musical walk up Main Street to Blumenfeld Family Park. Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Marianne Dalimonte commented, “What I love about this project is it builds community resiliency and togetherness, supports local business and is a great team effort.”
See renditions of all the signs that were created here.
Surrounded by water of three sides, Glen Cove has over ten miles of waterfront including: three public beaches, two nature preserves, a public golf course and a public park. In 2018, the City of Glen Cove earned the World Health Organization and AARP’s Age-Friendly status, identifying it as an ideal place to both grow up and grow older. Active transportation options are one of the keys aspects of an Age-Friendly community. Since then, the City has partnering with Nassau County to become a Age Friendly Center of Excellence.
In May, the City of Glen Cove implemented a Complete Streets policy to improve safety, access, and mobility for all City travelers, and to recognize that bicycles, pedestrians and mass transit modes are integral elements of the transportation system. The City also undertook a pedestrian improvement project in downtown Glen Cove, replacing 28 curb ramps and upgrading 16 crosswalks. The project enhanced the visibility and durability of crosswalks and brought curb ramps into compliance with ADA standards. On July 4, the City hosted a patriotic Children’s Bicycle Parade to encourage cycling and bicycle safety. In August, to help generate community engagement, the Age-Friendly Glen Cove team at the Glen Cove Senior Center and Northwell Health hosted a Walk with a Doc program for a fun and easy way to exercise and learn about health topics and the wellness benefits of active transportation.
Also this summer, the City, led by Ann Fangmann and Jocelyn Wenk of the Glen Cove CDA, embarked on a sustainable mobility campaign to educate and inspire residents to experiment with greener ways to get around the city.
The series kicked off in August with a Transit Solutions virtual presentation of the extensive transit options in the City including train, bus, and local shuttles. The series continued in September with the local Chamber of Commerce and BID working with the City and USGBC-LI to promote active transportation options including miles of trails, shop, dine and stroll routes, and future hiking and biking plans. One of the highlights of the event was a brief video highlighting walking and biking to downtown Glen Cove, produced and created by Ava Solange.
The signature event “Walk Glen Cove” will be live at the new Garvies Point Esplanade and take place September 22 on Car Free Day Long Island. This event will celebrate the new mile long esplanade that allows residents and visitors to walk or bike to a dog park, playgrounds, boat launch, restaurants, cafes and miles of trails without use of a car! The City Mayor Tim Tenke will greet walkers, along with County Executive Laura Curran who will talk about Nassau County’s vision for more walkable neighborhoods like Garvies Point, with outdoor dining and a town square feel that support local business.
In October the series will conclude with a program run by Drive Electric Long Island focused on educating residents on all aspects of buying or leasing an electric vehicle.
For more information or to register for any of these events go to www.glencoveny.gov/transportation-series.
Located on the North Shore of Long Island, the Town of Huntington is home to about 200,000 residents and is the first municipality on Long Island to adopt a Climate Action Plan. Actions are being taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce dependency on non-renewable resources. One of those actions is to promote more sustainable transportation choices to reduce GHGs from vehicles, which represent 31% of the Town’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Led by Chief Sustainability Officer, Terese Kinsley, the Town launched the Transportation Innovation Series in May, in collaboration with Transit Solutions, Drive Electric Long Island, the USGBC-LI Let’s Move LI initiative, and seven local libraries. The first installment in the series explained the impact of transportation on GHG emissions and described the extensive green mobility options in the Town, including local train, bus, EV charging, bike rentals, and walking routes. The second event focused on the benefits of purchasing an electric vehicle and provided basic information for residents thinking of buying or leasing an electric vehicle. The last event focused on the benefits of walking and biking and included active transportation options including over 200 miles of trails; shop, dine, and stroll routes; bike rides to the beach; and future hiking/biking plans.
The Town’s website features an interactive Trails Guide which details the length, type, surface quality, and difficulty of its 45 trails, as well as information on location, amenities, parking information, and educational opportunities. Included are hiking, walking and biking trails, handicapped accessible trails, horseback riding trails, and blue (water) trails for kayaking.
In late Spring 2021, the Town of Huntington launched its bike share program, operated by PedalShare, to promote sustainable, green transportation and exercise as part of the Bethpage Ride Suffolk County Bike Share Program. Bicycles and racks were installed at four locations around downtown Huntington including Mill Dam Park in Halesite, Heckscher Park, and the Gerard Street and New Street Parking Lots. Coming soon will be a fifth location at the Paul H. Johnson, Sr. Gateway Plaza in Huntington Station. See more details at the Town of Huntington website here.
The Town also maintains bike lockers at four Long Island Rail Road stations, available to residents for a fee, to encourage the use of bicycles, and reduce pollution and traffic congestion.
Bikeshare station at Heckscher State Park
Located on the South Fork of Long Island The Town of East Hampton is home to about 21,000 residents living in an approximately 20 square mile area with world class beaches, over 200 miles of trails and four beautiful downtowns - Amagansett Village, East Hampton Village, Montauk and Sag Harbor Village. The Town, led by Environmental Analyst, Lauren Steinberg, launched the Town of East Hampton Transportation Innovation Series in April to further their 100% renewable energy goals. With vehicle related emissions making up close to 40% of Long Island’s greenhouse gas emissions, this three-part series armed residents with tools and resources to explore alternatives.
The first webinar in collaboration with Transit Solutions provided an overview of all sustainable mobility options throughout the town including public transit, the Hampton Jitney, local electric shuttle service Circuit, bike rental shops, and walking resources. It ended with a fun game of BINGO designed to celebrate greener mobility.
The second webinar in collaboration with Drive Electric Long Island was for residents thinking of buying or leasing an electric vehicle. Long Island is the State’s leader in EV adoption. Many people are seeing the benefits of EVs over gasoline engines, from lower maintenance and operating costs, to reducing our impact on the environment. Residents learned all about the benefits of EVs and heard from East Hampton EV owners what it is really like to own and drive an electric vehicle.
The third webinar was in collaboration with USGBC-LI’s new Let’s Move LI Active Transportation Initiative. The Town of East Hampton, joined by Transit Solutions, USGBC-LI Sustainable Transportation Committee and the Suffolk County Planning Department shared the benefits of active transportation as well as over 200 miles of walking and biking trails, shop, dine, and stroll routes within each of the four downtowns, and future hiking and biking plans.
Click here. to access the series.
Interested in bringing a similar series to your community? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Located on the South Shore of Long Island, Babylon Village is home to 12,000 residents living within an approximately 2 square mile area. Trustee Robyn Silvestri has been working with the Village Bicycle Advisory Committee to make biking part of the Village culture, inviting residents to experience scenic routes along the Carlls River connecting the Belmont Lake State Park to the Bay, along with downtown routes that connect transit with restaurants, retail, quaint historic homes, Village Docks, and panoramic bay views.
The Bicycle Advisory Committee is made up of village residents and members of Code Enforcement. They promote and advocate for safe bicycling through the village. They brought in a Suffolk County Bike Share program, run by PedalShare and sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, in three recreational locations and three commuter locations. It runs thru an app which cost just $4/hour or $59/year for unlimited one-hour rides. This program was no cost to the Village apart from designating space for the bike racks.
Other activities of the Bicycle Advisory Committee include complimentary Bike Safety Check Ups conducted by Babylon Bike Shop, Bike Safety Days with NY Coalition for Transportation Safety and Bike Parades where over 100 residents ride safely through the streets with support from the Suffolk County Police Department as part of Car Free Day and Long Island Mobility Week.
New Spring/Summer events include Bike rodeos that feature a fun obstacle course, a Bike Belmont Community Ride around Southards Pond – Belmont Lake State Park path, and a Summer Recreation Bike Club to teach children how to maintain their bikes combined with short rides.
So how are they doing? A clear indication that biking is becoming part of the Babylon Village Culture are the 70 bikes parked in front of grade school!
See more details in these videos:
Watch a video of the Babylon Village 2nd Annual Bike Parade here