Tag Archive | "main street"

Alternate Route

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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.

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. 

Emerald Revellers on Main Street

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