Tag Archive | "bikes"

The Case of the Missing Bikes

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Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story misidentified Mark Schmidt as the former co-owner of Bike Hampton. He was never involved in the running of the store, though he invested in the business about 10 years ago.

When Bob Michaelson and his wife took their bicycles to BikeHampton for repairs last fall, they thought nothing of it. As city residents who have had a second home in Sag Harbor for about 30 years, they have a long history with the shop. They purchased their bikes from the previous owners back when BikeHampton was located on Bay Street.

Last November, when Michaelson went back to retrieve the bikes, he was told two things: one, his bike — a $2,000 hybrid — needed a part that had to be ordered; and two, the shop would be closing.

“They told me it would reopen, and that in the meantime the bikes would be taken to the owner’s home and the phone would remain active,” he recalled. After some time passed, however, “I hadn’t hear from them,” Michaelson continued.  “And the phone had been disconnected.”

According to Sag Harbor Village Detective Jeff Proctor, there have been several different people who have come to the police with similar stories.

“I’ve had a few phone calls from people who have left their bikes there to get repaired or sold,” in which case BikeHampton and the bike owner would share the profits, he said.

And now — with BikeHampton’s closure in December  —  he said these people have found themselves utterly bike-less.

Employees of the Flying Point Surf Shop, which has since expanded its women’s department into the former BikeHampton space, said they, too, have received visits from frustrated customers who have recently come looking for sprockets and chains only to find Uggs and bikinis. One employee said he’s seen at least five such visitors.

Attempts to contact both BikeHampton’s former owner, Dave Krum, were met with disconnected phone lines.  Krum — who Proctor said is currently in Florida — did not return messages left on his cell phone.

“I had gone in the store periodically to buy a bike or get some repairs done,” Michaelson continued. “The people were friendly and got things done.  It was a good part of the business community.”

When asked if there were any red flags that could have possibly led to this sudden turn of events, Michaelson said, no, “not from my point of view.”

In an interview last week, however, he said the situation seemed rather grim: “I honestly don’t expect to ever see that bicycle again.”

But, that was then.

This past Tuesday, Detective Proctor said he may have found the missing metal stash.  Based on information he received from sources who wished to remain anonymous, he said several bikes are currently being stored at a home near Sag Harbor.

“We don’t know if that’s going to be all the bikes,” Proctor added.  However, he urges anyone who had left a bike at BikeHampton prior to its closure to contact the police department.

As of press time, it still wasn’t clear whether or not Michaelson’s bike had been located, but at least Michaelson said he now has hopes of seeing his hybrid once more.

“I had already gone out and bought a new bicycle under the assumption that that one was gone,” he admitted.  “But, that’s ok. I wanted a new bike anyway.”

He said he hopes everyone else with a missing bicycle finds him or herself just as fortunate.

Bikers’ Uphill Climb

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A heated debate broke out at the end of Tuesday’s Sag Harbor Board of Trustees meeting over the safety of bike riding on Main Street. Trustee Ed Deyermond said a proposal to allow bike travel from the flag pole to Spring Street in the village is “an accident waiting to happen.” Deyermond remained firmly opposed to the idea, and more than half the board agrees with him.

Considering board opposition, it will be an uphill battle for Sag Harbor cyclists to bike down Main Street. During the meeting, Sinead Fitzgibbon, founder of the local bike advocacy group Spokes People, continued to defend her group’s position.
Fitzgibbon stated that cyclists and motorists have equal access to all public roads under a provision of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. In Fitzgibbon’s opinion, the ordinance disallowing bike travel through Main Street is virtually unenforceable.
In an interview after the meeting, Fitzgibbon’s zeal for Main Street bike travel had tempered somewhat. She said her group will continue to explore the option of bike travel along Main Street, but will now focus on creating alternative routes for bike travel along other village streets.
“I totally understand where the board is coming from … I am happy to stir the pot [on this issue] but it is not how I want to deal with the village all the time. I look forward to working with the board,” said Fitzgibbon who believes a compromise with the trustees will be the best option for everyone.
“[The bike routes] have to work for everyone or they are not going to work at all,” she said.
According to Deyermond, a designated bike route along the roads surrounding Main Street is a practical solution in facilitating cyclist access to the village. During the meeting, Deyermond said an addition of a bike lane on Main Street was “out of the question” because of New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. When Deyermond was village mayor in 2003, he explored allowing bike travel along Main Street as part of his Traffic Calming Project. Representatives of the DOT told him Main Street was too narrow, and the diagonal parking was too problematic, for the installation of a bike lane.
Board member Tiffany Scarlato supports creating a designated village bike route, as long as it does not require additional pavement markings. She believes the village lacks the funds to pay for these markings. Scarlato also said cyclist access to the village has become an inflated issue.
“Southampton Village prohibits biking down Main Street,” said Scarlato who added that this didn’t seem to inconvenience Southampton Village residents. Scarlato believes Sag Harbor cyclists can hop off their bike when they reach the village and wheel their bikes through Main Street. She said she understood Fitzgibbon’s position, but the board has a responsibility to maintain road safety for all of the village residents.
The board urged Fitzgibbon to meet with police chief Tom Fabiano to brainstorm ideas for a designated village bike route. In addition, Fitzgibbon contacted Village Attorney Fred Thiele, Jr., to discuss the legality of the ordinance prohibiting Main Street bike travel. A public hearing date, however, hasn’t been set.

A hot topic also on the agenda was the passing of a local workforce housing law. According to village mayor, Greg Ferraris, New York State mandated last year that all Long Island municipalities adopt the Long Island Workforce Housing Act. Ferraris believes the mandate forces municipalities to address the issue of affordable housing, but Sag Harbor has already incorporated affordable housing legislation into the new village zoning code. When the new zoning code goes into effect, said Ferraris, it will supersede the Long Island Workforce Housing Act.
The Long Island Workforce Housing Act stipulates that any developer seeking to build five or more units would receive a density bonus of at least 10 percent, with all units created through the bonus being affordable workforce units. The developer has three choices for how to meet the affordable housing provision: by providing on-site housing, by building the housing elsewhere, or by paying into an affordable housing fund.
At the meeting, Sag Harbor resident Bill Chaleff commended the state for addressing the need for affordable housing.
“It is no longer possible for us to keep our head in the sand about this issue. Every other municipality needs to do something about this,” said Chaleff.
Of the housing fund payment provision, however, he said “The temptation to use payment as a way out is too strong … Payment should be used as a last resort.”
This provision could potentially allow developers to pocket millions from selling their property, while only a few hundred thousand would end up in the housing trust. Ferraris, however, believes a housing fund is a pragmatic solution considering the cost of development in the village.
A public hearing on the new village code has been scheduled for January 29.
During the meeting, the Sag Harbor Cinema sign was also designated as an historic landmark
Long Isla

An Appeal for Bikes on Main Street

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Sag Harbor residents might see cyclists riding down Main Street in the coming year, at least Sag Harbor resident and bike enthusiast Sinead Fitzgibbon hopes so. Fitzgibbon worked in association with Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano to request from the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees a repeal of a village law that forbids bicyclists from riding on Main Street, during the board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, December 9. The law also inhibits joggers from jogging on Main Street sidewalks.

Fitzgibbon met with Sag Harbor Village Mayor Greg Ferraris, and Sara Gordon, a member of the Sag Harbor green committee “725-Green,” two weeks ago to discuss ways of making Sag Harbor more bike friendly, to promote a greener village community. Ferraris then connected Fitzgibbon with Fabiano, who believes the bike regulation is hard to enforce law.
She has also seemed to rally significant local support. Fitzgibbon’s cyclists advocacy group, named “Spokes People,” had 30 attendees at its last meeting, and she has a list of 200 members from Riverhead to Montauk.
Fitzgibbon compiled a dossier of research for the board on potential Main Street bicyclists markings. Fitzgibbon suggests that bikers ride in the center of the lane. She would also like bicycling markings, of either a series of pointing arrows or a caricature of a cyclist contained in a larger arrow, to be clearly painted on the street in Thermoplastic paint. Residents will recognize similar markings on the bike lane of Route 114.
“The concept of a Main Street bike route with designated markings encourages motorists to share the road with cyclists,” Fitzgibbon later said. Through her research, she also found that a greater percentage of cyclists on the road lowers the percentage of accidents between bikes and cars.
At the meeting, Fitzgibbon added that she believed the town law disallowing bike travel down Main Street was in fact a violation of state law that allows bikes on all public roads.
“That is simply not true,” countered Sag Harbor Village Attorney Fred Thiele, Jr. later. “There is a provision in the general municipal law which is a state law that gives the authority to towns and cities to regulate the use of bicycles within their municipalities. The village has the authority to regulate bike usage, as long as those regulations are reasonable.”
Some feel that these regulations were put in place as a safety precaution.
“That is why the law was enacted, over concerns with bikes and the village parking situation. Maybe people [in cars] wouldn’t see the bicyclists,” said village trustee Ed Deyermond. “I think people jogging in the summertime on the sidewalk when it is very crowded is opening up a can of worms.”
The relationship between the village’s parking and cyclists was an issue that concerned board member Tiffany Scarlato, who attested to seeing many accidents between bicycles and cars in the downtown area of the village.
Police Chief Tom Fabiano said that he understood that the law had been enacted as a safety measure. He added that the law had been created a long time ago, in the late 1980s, and that today, even with more traffic control officers on the streets of the village it remains an extremely difficult law to enforce.
“I think [a bike plan] could be done on a trial basis,” continued Fabiano “I am willing to try anything. We should look into trying different things.”
Scarlato suggested that this was a good opportunity to explore alternative options, such as allowing bikes to ride on streets in the village which run parallel to Main Street. Fitzgibbon hopes to arrange a meeting with some of the board members, or on an individual basis, to clarify her suggestions for the markings down Main Street.
“The plan may not be as inherently dangerous as they perceive it to be,” said Fitzgibbon.
There will be a public hearing on this issue at next month’s board of trustees meeting, on January 13. The public is encouraged to come to the meeting and express their views on this issue. The village attorney, Fred Thiele, Jr. will also come to the meeting with prepared legislation for the repeal of the law.


Above Image: An unknown female cyclist whizzes through Sag Harbor Village. 

Proliferation of Signs in Village of Sagaponack Disturbing

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Don Louchheim and Joy Sieger

Sagaponack Village Mayor Don Louchheim announced on Monday during a work session that the new Sagaponack village hall is getting closer to completion. Louchheim said the grounds of the new hall have been cleared and some minor demolition completed. Architect Peter Wilson has also looked at the entire building and created plans for both current and future needs, according to Louchheim.
“We are trying to get numbers on what plan A or plan B will cost,” Louchheim told the village trustees, adding that he hopes the board can decide by the next meeting what should be done at the new location.
Signs were another item of discussion at Monday’s work session as village board members discussed the posting of new signs that say “share the road” to remind drivers of bicyclists on the roadways. Sagaponack resident Ann Sandford sent a letter to Jefferson Murphree, Southampton Town’s planning and development administrator, asking for the removal of these signs. Sandford said in the letter that, in an area less than half a mile along Narrow Lane, there are 29 signs.
The signage that Sandford is mostly concerned with is the new lime green, bicycle signs reading, ‘share the road’, that were implemented by the Town of Southampton.
“These signs do seem unusually big,” conceded board member Lisa Duryea Thayer. “It is visual clutter and it doesn’t assist any motorist in making good decisions.”
Thayer also added that when the signs are seen alongside recent additional real estate signs, a motorist might just choose not to read any of them.
Louchheim asked how this issue might be addressed and village clerk, Rhodi Winchell responded by saying that the signs were decided upon before the incorporation of the village. The village board is now requesting more information from Murphree.
“We need to find out if we are liable if some cyclist gets squished,” Louchheim said.
Equally disturbing to Sandford and addressed in the letter is the intersection of Old Farm Road, Hildreth Lane and Poxabogue Road in Sagaponack where she said there are 12 signs all within a radius of 30 yards of the intersection, which will be additionally taken into consideration.
Parks and Rec
When Alfred Kelman gave his parks and recreation report, he mentioned that there may be a need for garbage cans along Bridge Street. The town trustees allow fishing from the bridge on this road, as well as hunting and dragging of nets in the pond and Kelman wondered if a permit can be required for these activities and asked if garbage cans could be added along the road. He joked that there would need to be additional signs reminding residents that no household waste could be disposed there.
Kelman also notified the board that he received a notice from Gary Ireland, directing him to a recent article in a local publication on dredging in Center Moriches. Ireland is a lawyer who is representing his mother in a case of erosion at her Sagaponack residence that has caused her to move her home back from the water, twice. Ireland’s case claims that jetties installed in East Hampton in the 1960s have caused erosion to the areas to the west. The dredging project in Center Moriches is using the dredged sand for beachfront restoration. Kelman said the article and Ireland’s email re-emphasizes that the county or town is the only source for getting money to replenish the beaches. But Louchheim said that there may be other ways to get more money for replenishment.

The village board also announced on Monday that there will be a change to their current code on tents. The change will include a reduction in fees from $500 to match that of Southampton Town’s tent fee, which is $50 for residential and $100 for commercial properties. Louchheim thanked Winchell for taking the initiative to mail out the notices to all residents in the village who had a past event that might be affected by the new legislation.