In fighting for bike access on Main Street, perhaps the cyclists of Sag Harbor are trying to make a statement — to promote the co-habitation of motorists and bikers and create a greener village. Perhaps, this statement is more important than being able to actually bike on Main Street — a street that is potentially dangerous for cyclists.
But we feel there is a way to promote bike use in the village and promote village businesses as well.
We think a designated bike route behind Main Street, along Spring and Meadow streets, would be a safer route for cyclists traveling through the village or stopping at a village business. In addition, this bike route could create an incentive for shop owners to make the rear of their businesses more attractive and inviting to bikers, shoppers, and passer-bys. A rear storefront that is up to par with the aesthetics of the front of the store would be conducive to better business. So if a biker wanted to shop on Main Street, he or she could lock up their bike to a rack and go through the rear entrance.
As it is now, the back of these businesses are, largely, poorly marked and wholly unattractive. There is an alleyway between the Variety Store and the pharmacy that is virtually unnoticeable. Spring Street is a drab stretch of pavement. As the cyclist movement is pushing for a greener Sag Harbor, perhaps these are the venues where more landscaping and small garden areas could emerge. The addition of bike racks would also promote bike usage along this roadway.
The village could accomplish this by establishing a business improvement district. This would be a self-taxing district where the business community would actually be able to raise the funds to make changes to the landscape, provide bike racks and parking and complete other improvement projects. The business improvement district would be run by members of the district.
Although we are currently living in desperate economic times, Sag Harbor should still be ready with a direction for future development and improvements. If the future of our village is to be more efficient and greener, both will need a more cyclist friendly village.