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Jul 25, 2018 11:17 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Hopes To Connect Two Hampton Bays Parks With Bike Paths

Jul 25, 2018 11:32 AM

Southampton Town officials may add a system of bike trails and lanes linking two parks in Hampton Bays as part of a revived push to promote biking safety.

The proposed routes would consist of bike lanes on Old Riverhead Road and Squiretown Road, and a connected multi-use paved path through the woods near Good Ground Park that would lead to Red Creek Park.

“We wanted to connect Red Creek Park with Good Ground Park,” Michelangelo Lieberman, a project planner, told Town Board members at a work session last Thursday, July 19. “The state has taken a lot of interest in this … trying to connect towns and hamlets, and we wanted to adhere to their guidelines to fit into their equation later down the road.”

Tom Neely, the town’s director of public transportation, told board members that there seems to be a great interest in the community to revitalize and renew efforts to promote biking safety. He told board members it’s not the first time that the community has turned to the town for safer roads and paths for bikers.

“We had a biking committee at one time, and they made a series of recommendations, but that biking committee has not existed since 2011,” Mr. Neely said, noting that primarily the recommendations were for more bike routes and bike lanes.

More recently, Mr. Neely said, he has had discussions with a number of residents and a few civic groups about supporting biking in the town.

He said various options were looked at that revolve around on- and off-road routes. Specifically, the plans call for a roughly half-mile multi-use path and a 1.3-mile bike lane along Squiretown Road and Old Riverhead Road.

Mr. Neely also said he and his team identified a grant to help offset the costs to pay for such projects. In fact, the town could apply for a State Transportation Alternative Program, or TAP, grant to help pay for it. TAP grants are intended to promote alternative means of transportation, like bicycling.

David Wilcox, the director of planning for the town, told board members that the project would cost $1.275 million. Eighty percent of the expense, or $1,020,617, would be reimbursed in the form of a grant from the state, and the balance would have to come from the town.

If the town wins the grant, it would be awarded in spring 2019.

“There are some things that make a lot of sense,” Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said. “It’s nice that it’s 80 percent funding—but is this a project that we want?”

The consensus of the other board members was that the grant should be pursued, and on Tuesday, the board approved a resolution to submit the grant application for the bike paths.

Councilman John Bouvier said he supported the concept, especially if the town is looking at building an aquatic center in the area of Red Creek Park as well—an idea pitched by a local organization.

“I know our sustainability group talks quite a bit about increasing opportunities for getting around, like this,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “It’s good exercise, it’s non-polluting, so the more we can do to put in the infrastructure to allow people to get around by bicycle, it’s good.

“As long as it’s in an area that makes sense, and we’re getting it at a fraction of the cost, because of the state grant that we may or may not get, I think it’s an idea worth pursuing,” he added.

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I think an actual walkway through the woods makes a lot of sense. I know quite a few people including myself who enjoy walking and hiking in the woods but cant do to the threat of ticks. A safe place to walk through with woods would be welcomed
By cmur5t15 (1), hampton bays on Jul 25, 18 2:00 PM
What the town should do is convert the abandoned train rail line from Bridgehampton to Sag Harbor. They can pave it so bicyclists, joggers, and handicap people have a safe trail away from traffic. They can also leave a few feet of grass on either side of the trail for horses and pets to also walk.
By Spinny OHO (94), Speonk on Jul 26, 18 9:23 PM
Southampton Town proposes linked bike paths in Hampton Bays to connect Good Ground and Red Creek Parks. This is unprecedented and speaks well of Town officials new commitment to improving local bicycling infrastructure.
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 18 8:23 PM