Smart Talk September 14th – 20th, 2019

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we look into new funding for TOD projects in Nassau County, cheer $2 million in funding for Suffolk Transit, and more…

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September 14th – 20th, 2019


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“This funding may also be used to address growing pains of recent TOD development – from parking concerns, to traffic issues, to improvements to pedestrian safety. We must take advantage of New York State’s investments in the LIRR third track and continue to do everything we can to facilitate and support these transformative efforts, where it makes sense, for the future of Nassau County.” – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on new funding for local TOD projects
“We are using that limited increase to try to be smart and responsive to community concerns and to sort of bolster what is already working and to try to explore alternative ways to approaching transportation for places where the current system just isn’t working at all.” – Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming on increased funding for Suffolk Bus based on increased funding

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Nassau Pledges $1 Million for TOD Projects

Vision was enthused to see Nassau County fund infrastructure work for necessary traffic calming, parking access, façade improvement, streetscapes and public space associated with TOD and downtown redevelopment.

“This funding may also be used to address growing pains of recent TOD development – from parking concerns, to traffic issues, to improvements to pedestrian safety,” said County Executive Laura Curran. “We must take advantage of New York State’s investments in the LIRR third track and continue to do everything we can to facilitate and support these transformative efforts, where it makes sense, for the future of Nassau County.”

Nassau’s Office of Communit Development will seek to allocate $1 million in funding from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program for the initiative.  The money will be used to fund at least three projects and municipalities can apply for up to $400,000 in funding.  Because the funding is coming from the CDBG program, projects will be required to meet the low/moderate income national objective area-wide or through the creation of jobs available to low- and moderate-income families.

According to Nassau County, this will effort will support project costs and help put developments in place that can stimulate downtowns by maximizing the space available.  The growth of our Main Street business districts comes with the need for pedestrian amenities and placemaking opportunities that improve the experience of living, working and shopping downtown.

“It’s great to see Nassau County fund infrastructure work for necessary traffic calming, parking access, façade improvement, streetscapes and public space associated with TOD and downtown redevelopment,” said Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander. “The good news is that there are now many villages and unincorporated hamlets in Nassau County that have robust downtown revitalization and TOD programs that can take advantage of this funding opportunity with successful projects that will be well worth the investment.”

The good news is that there are now many Villages and unincorporated hamlets in Nassau County that have robust downtown revitalization and TOD programs that can take advantage of this funding opportunity with successful projects that will be well worth the investment. 

You can read more at Long Island Business News.

Long Island Lobby Coalition Victory: Suffolk County Receives $2 Million for Improvements to Bus System

One of the more exciting wins for the LI Lobby Coalition this last year was additional funding for bus service, with roughly $2 million each for Nassau and Suffolk systems.

While Nassau put their resources into restoring lost lines and service, Suffolk has looked to other priorities as they are sorting out new lines, ride sharing service for the east end, and new technology.  There has been no word yet on the restoration of the busier lines from past cuts.  Regardless, it is encouraging to see some progress thanks to the new revenue.

The announced proposals include new busses along the s66 route (one of the SCT’s busiest), a new route along Route 109, and the creation of on-demand ride-sharing for the East End.  These proposals were explored in public hearings this past week, with a general air of excitement at the espansions.

Congratulations to Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming for her leadership.  She has traveled to Albany with the LI Lobby Coalition and on her own to help secure these resources, and helped to pass legislation this summer to ensure the new funds would not be raided for the general fund.

“We are using that limited increase to try to be smart and responsive to community concerns,” said Legislator Fleming, “and to sort of bolster what is already working and to try to explore alternative ways to approaching transportation for places where the current system just isn’t working at all.”

Check out the story on what Suffolk Bus is doing with the new revenue that came from this year’s legislative session in Newsday.

Healthy Schools & Communities Program Addresses Pedestrian Safety

Vision staff were out last week with Suffolk BOCES, Stony Brook School of Medicine, and Choice for All at the Creating Healthy Schools & Communities convening program in Yonkers sponsored by the NYS DOH.

The program focused on a range of health issues from food access, physical activity, and wellness policies. The areas that we were connected included the walkability, complete streets and pedestrian/bike safety portion of the agenda.

It was great to hear activity from local schools and organizations on all these topics, but also eye opening to understand the lenses that these folks use to impact walkability issues.  NYS Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins dropped in as well to lend her support for the program.

We look forward to seeing more of these areas being addressed in LI communities.

Special thanks to the Long Island team partners on this program at Suffolk BOCES for helping us get our bearings on these important issues.

Nassau County Village Officials Association Honors Farmingdale Mayor

Vision Board and staff were out this last week as the Nassau County Village Officials Association hosted a packed house for its annual gala event.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran spoke in support of many Mayors that embrace Main Street Revitalization including the evening’s honoree, Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand.  Mayor Ekstrand spoke of his tenure as NCVOA President which included the restoration of AIM money originally taken away by NYS, and the defeat of recreational marijuana and dispensaries that would have harmed local Village business districts.  He also stated that he loved this organization that “effectively advocates for best interest of our residents”

Developer Anthony Bartone also spoke, talking about TOD and downtown redevelopment that helped Farmingdale with a 28% increase in home values along with no impact on schools.

Village of Sea Cliff Mayor Ed Lieberman is the new President and we look forward to hearing more from him.
Vision was happy to see multiple Mayors with downtown revitalization programs in attendance including: Village of Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender, Village of Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro, Village of Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss, Village of Lynbrook Mayor Allan Beach, Village of Rockville Centre Mayor Fran Murray, and Village of Freeport Mayor Bob Kennedy who is now also NYS Conference of Mayors President.

The NCVOA won a LI Smart Growth Award as well this year. Kudos to their team, led by Ralph Kreitzman and Warren Tackenberg, for putting together a great event to show support for village government.

MTA Proposes to spend $5.7 Billion on LIRR Modernization and Trains, Public Hearings as yet Unscheduled

The MTA has announced plans to spend $51 billion on improvements over the next five years, a number that includes $5.7 billion for the LIRR to modernize switch and signal systems and purchase 160 new train cars.

The proposed 2020-24 Capital Program for the MTA is one of the most ambitious ever and looks to create a transformative plan for the Agency.  This will include updating and modernizing a number of components including subway and train platforms as well as buses and commuter rail.  The plan will be funded through a combination of the MTA’s revenue sources, which includes monies from congestion pricing tolls in Manhattan, as well as federal, state, and city government funding. 

The LIRR will receive more funding than it ever has before, which will include significant funding for new signal and communications improvements, replacement of almost a third of all track switches and a number of track circuits.  There will also be equipment upgrades on three branches and the investment should bring a vast majority of the LIRR’s access into good repair.  All of this comes in addition to the 160 new M9A train cars being purchased.

Unfortunately, there was not funding for electrification of a majority of the diesel branches, something that local officials have long called for.  A small north-south line between the Main Line and Babylon will be electrified and will serve to allow for more trains to run between Babylon and Hicksville, especially when there are service disruptions.

Funding was also included in the plan for the MTA to finish both the East Side Access link to Grand Central Terminal and the Third Track project between Floral Park and Hicksville.

“It is a real investment in the Long Island Rail Road’s future. For that, we tip our hats,” said LIRR Commuter Council chairman Mark Epstein. “But before we empty our wallets out, we need to get more details.”

No public hearings for this plan have been scheduled yet on Long Island. Stay tuned for details on how to provide input into the MTA’s capital planning process.

You can read more at Newsday.

Bike Sharing Program Announced in Suffolk County

Suffolk County has announced that it will be launching it’s first-ever bike sharing program in four local communities thanks to funding from Bethpage Federal Credit Union.

The program is aimed at offering residents alternative form of transportation and to help reduce congestion while providing public transit riders a way to get the final leg of their journeys after they arrive at a station.  Patchogue and Babylon have both been named as communities that will participate in the program.

Resident wishing to use the service will be able to download an app that will offer pay-per-ride or memberships.  Riders can pay $1 per 15 minutes or purchase a monthly or yearly membership plans.  Monthly plans will cost $10 while yearly ones will only be $60.

“For years, the equation for Long Island life has been one adult equals one car,” said County Executive Steve Bellone. “The freedom to go anywhere with an automobile has turned into the tyranny of not being to go anywhere without one. But now, residents and visitors will be able to comfortably leave their cars behind with the knowledge that a healthy, fun, convenient option is waiting for them.”

You can read more at Long Island Press.

Island Harvest sets World Record for Hunger-Relief Line

Local nonprofit the Island Harvest Food Bank has set a Guinness World Record for the longest line of hunger-relief packages.

Volunteers from both Island Harvest and PSEG Long Island joined with members of the community to work together and line up 1,805 hunger-relief packages that will go to supplement more than 10,000 meals.  The packages were later distributed to food-insecure children through the organization’s Kids Weekend Backpack Feeding Program.  The program is aimed at providing support for children who rely on school lunches and breakfasts during the week and don’t have enough to eat on the weekend.

“We are honored to have established this new world record, and we’re grateful to the staff, volunteers, and PSEG Long Island volunteers who helped make this record-breaking attempt a reality,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, president of Island Harvest. “In addition to being an excellent team-building exercise, the world record attempt helped publicize the critically important issue of childhood hunger across Long Island.”

You can read more at the Long Island Times.

Businesses Continue to be Hurt by Natural Gas Moratorium

As the rejection of the NESE pipeline has led to a moratorium on new natural gas hook ups drags on, businesses are becoming increasingly at peril.

The US News and World Report, a national publication, has reported that the moratorium that now has 3600 small businesses, residential homes, downtown apartments, affordable housing developments, health care facilities, schools, office and industrial projects all caught in it.

Proponents of the pipeline note that this gas will be necessary to hook up new projects and continue a transition away from more harmful fossil fuels.  Without these hook ups, projects being considered that are necessary for local economies could possibly languish as the argument over the pipeline drags on. 

There are potential compromises that can both bring the additional supply needed and ensure this is the last pipeline as we transition to multiple sources of green energy to meet the NYS 2050 goals for greenhouse gas reduction.  Vision has been working with multiple downtown small business leaders, local municipalities, civics, developers, unions and long islanders that want green energy to move towards a real solution.

You can read more at US News.

RXR and Nassau County Provides Update on Nassau HUB

Vision staff and community partners were out last week at Hofstra to hear from Nassau County and RXR on various updates on the Nassau HUB planning process.

Sessions held included transportation and infrastructure, small business and workforce development.  Members of the Nassau HUB Next Steps Coalition from Uniondale, East Meadow and Westbury participated and provided input.

The Nassau HUB plan has been years in the making as the County seeks to revitalize the area surrounding the Nassau Coliseum.  After several attempts by previous administration to get a project done on the sire, Executive Curran’s has made steps at creating a project that can help boost the local economy.  It will be interesting to see the formal proposal once it is completed.

Stay tuned for further updates as the formal proposal is presented to the Town of Hempstead later in the year.

New Hyde Park Holds Community Day Festival

Vision staff spent this past Saturday in the Village of New Hyde Park at their Community Day festival.

The event was packed with bands, magicians, and great food and activities, coming off as more of a supersized block party.  Vision has the opportunity to speak with over 200 residents and business owners at our booth and get their feedback on hopes for the future as well as concerns for their community.

The chance to speak with residents in a face-to-face dialogue and connection is so much more thoughtful than social media and less personal forms of communication.  We were happy to learn a lot about many of the people and organizations that shape their community.

It was also nice to have the Mayor and Village trustees stop in along with Nassau County Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Judi Boswirth, and NYS Assemblyman Ed Ra.

We look forward to meeting more folks from New Hyde Park as they sort through changes from the third track project and other issues.

Baldwin Residents Plan New Festival

The inaugural Grand Baldwin Festival has been scheduled for October 19th and will celebrate the community and promote a vibrant business district and drug-free environment.

The event will be hosted by the Community Coalition of Baldwin and will feature local business vendors, live performances and entertainment, an art showcase, games, and more.  The coalition is also affiliated with the Baldwin Council Against Drug Abuse and is working to raise awareness of the dangers of substance abuse.

The festival is part of an October of celebrations for Baldwin which also includes the Centennial Gala for the public library on October 5th, and a Family Fun Day before the Grand festival itself.  The Baldwin-Freeport Farmers Market will relocate on the 19th as well so that it can be a part of the Grand festival.

“I have been very much interested in trying to promote economic development and planning efforts in Baldwin,” said David Viana, co-chair of the Grand Baldwin Festival Planning Committee. “All levels of government have been showing some type of commitment for Baldwin, and it seems like the perfect time to celebrate that, to acknowledge that everybody is interested and invested in revitalizing the community.”

The festival will take place along Prospect Street and in the municipal parking lot behind the library.  There is a rain date of October 20th.

You can read more at the Long Island Herald.

Baldwin to Host 3rd Annual Oktoberfest on September 21st

This Saturday, September 21st, Baldwin will host its third annual Oktoberfest.  The event will feature a number of local craft breweries, a beer tasting, craft vendors, food, games, and fun.

Tickets will cost $25 for adults, which includes beer samples and a souvenir tasting mug, $20 for first responders with ID, $2 for non-drinkers, and $5 for kids, which includes a child beferage and unlimited games.  There will also be a stein holding contest.

Tickets for the vent can be purchased at Baldwincivic,org and click on “Buy Tickets”

Montana Grandmother Uses Hair Dryer to Slow Speeders

A grandmother in Montana has come up with a novel way to deal with speeders in her neighborhood.  Arming herself with a hair dryer that looks somewhat like a speed gun, she has begun to sit in front of her house and aiming it at cars to make them more conscious of their speed.

The Montana Highway Patrol was so appreciative that they named her a “Junior Trooper.”

You can see the video of the story here.

Smart Talk

Contributors:
Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Elissa Kyle, Placemaking Director; Jon Siebert, Administrative Director

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to info@visionlongisland.org for consideration.

If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.

Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
Email: info@visionlongisland.org

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