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Jul 10, 2017 5:47 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

County Executive, Local Lawmakers Showcase Bike Sharing Initiative Monday In Southampton

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone speaks at a press conference on Monday. CHRIS PERAINO
Jul 11, 2017 5:23 PM

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone led a pack of helmet-strapped local officials and business owners—including Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Kathleen King, founder and CEO of Tate’s Bake Shop—on a bike ride from the Southampton train station to Tate’s Bake Shop and, finally, to Coopers Beach on Monday.

The goal was to showcase the benefits and ease of his proposed bike sharing network in Southampton Town. It followed a June 22 announcement that Mr. Bellone was beginning the process of establishing a countywide bike sharing system, similar to that of New York City’s “Citi Bike” initiative.

“We intend to get this done in Suffolk County,” Mr. Bellone said at a press conference prior to the bike ride.

In June, the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning issued a Request for Information in order “to gather best practices, cost estimates and keys on how to implement and operate such a program,” according to a recent press release. Responses are expected by the end of this week, according to Jonathan Keyes, Mr. Bellone’s chief community development planning specialist, who also joined in Monday’s bike ride in Southampton.

The department is in the process of seeking grants, suggesting that the program would be at least, in part, publicly funded. The exact costs of the program, including how much it would be to rent the bikes, are still being hammered out.

Still, department heads intend to do a preliminary roll-out in a year, Mr. Keyes added.

Mr. Bellone identified the Southampton Long Island Rail Road station as a potential location for bikes. Tourists, he said, would be able to hop off the train and bike to their destination, allowing for complete car-free travel. He envisions that bikes would primarily be implemented at transit hubs and would offer “a last mile connection,” easing accessibility to local businesses.

“It’s critical for people making the decision to not sit in the car,” Mr. Bellone said. “They could take a quick ride to Coopers Beach. Or, like we’re doing here, you could go down to Tate’s.”

The announcement coincides with the recent allowance of ride-sharing services , such as Uber and Lyft, in Southampton Town. Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman heralded these developments, as well as the planned Hampton Bays trolley, for their ability to curb traffic and allow people the option of leaving their cars at home.

He suggested that a bike sharing program could be a success in Southampton. “I always see the bikes in the city and think we need that here,” he said. “We have a limited car infrastructure.”

Mr. Bellone cited environmental preservation and the promotion of a healthy, active lifestyle as two of the program’s largest benefits. “It would make Suffolk County a leader in embracing cutting-edge transportation alternatives,” he said.

Ms. King thinks that such an initiative could help preserve local culture and alleviate suffocating Southampton traffic. “It would bring [Southampton Village] to a more country level instead of the chaotic traffic,” she said.

“You just notice so much more when you’re biking,” Mr. Keyes added. “Details you can’t notice at 30 or 40 mph.”

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Lets start by converting the abandoned rail line fron Bridgehampton to Sag Harbor to a bike trail. Then pave a path under the large eletrical lines that run the length of the town. Make it so that people can ride quickly and safely and then bicycles can be a true alternative rather than an occasional thought.
By Spinny OHO (94), Speonk on Jul 10, 17 8:21 PM
So where do people put their luggage on the bike when they come out for a few days. BTW Uber and Lyft out here- disaster!
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Jul 10, 17 9:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
These people need a real job! Other than chaos what benefit would this be to our community. Put more non locals on the beaches? The economic benefit is zero.
By all seasons (9), southampton on Jul 10, 17 9:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
Mike sharing before bike paths - brilliant.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 10, 17 10:27 PM
meant "Bike" sharing not "Mike" sharing...but mike sharing works - politicians can pass up a mike.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 10, 17 10:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
REALLY??? And how long will these bikes last???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jul 11, 17 12:00 PM
These politicians need to consult with professionals when it comes to transportation issues. How is the "Hampton Folly" working? At $10 round-trip per person to the beach, families aren't using it. Is the Town going to release ridership numbers or is it too embarrassing. Btw, East Hampton and Southampton villages have free beach shuttles, just saying.
By A Great American (103), East Quogue on Jul 11, 17 9:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
The dysfunctional operations of local government is so obvious to most of us...except them....it would be funny if it wasn't so sad. There is a separate report about how they are using surplus for capital projects but no discussions of comfort stations for Good Ground Park...a $4 million folly funded by tax monies.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 11, 17 9:52 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jul 12, 17 12:51 PM
These politicians are clueless clowns. Please Southampton Press, do not cover their press conferences/photo-ops. You only encourage them.
By HB90 (164), southampton on Jul 19, 17 10:59 PM
YES! That's exactly what the roads in Southampton that have no shoulders need, MORE bicycle riders! These politicians are sooooo smart. I hope they budget more funds for the local ambulance because they're going to need it!
By Crazy Town (4), Southampton on Jul 22, 17 8:54 AM
Ride a bike in the Hamptons at your own peril.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jul 22, 17 10:46 AM