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March 3rd - 9th, 2018

Regional Updates

Cameron Engineering

Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP is a full service multi-disciplined consulting engineering and planning firm founded in 1985. The Firm is comprised of experienced and qualified engineers, landscape architects, planners, facility operators, and environmental scientists dedicated to providing professional, timely and responsive services to our clients.

A comprehensive knowledge of municipal codes, government regulations, and industry standards is incorporated into all of their work. This assures that they provide quality engineering and up-to-date solutions. The principals and senior level management are continuously involved in the planning, control, implementation, and quality review of each project. Their timely submissions and quality engineering are the primary reasons for their clients to request their services on a repeat basis.

“This diverse coalition brings critical social, environmental, labor and business issues to our Albany representatives. Long Island is one island and we need to speak with one voice to make our island sustainable and livable,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Co-Chair LI Lobby Coalition

"Bringing together civic's, chambers and other local organizations helps bring our fair share of resources back from Albany to Long Island for critical projects and services"  Eric Alexander, Director, Vision Long Island, Co-Chair LI Lobby Coalition

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Long Island Lobby Coalition Heads to Albany for 10th Annual Trip

This past Tuesday, March 6th, the Long Island Lobby Coalition traveled to Albany to lobby state lawmakers on a shared agenda for our region.

The diverse group was founded in 2009 with a goal of unifying the numerous community, environment, small business, labor and human services groups into a single force for change. Since then, the Coalition has been able to get ten bills passed, numerous budgetary and regulatory proposals enacted, and several key Long Island infrastructure projects funded through our collective efforts.

“This diverse coalition brings critical social, environmental, labor and business issues to our Albany representatives. Long Island is one island and we need to speak with one voice to make our island sustainable and livable,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Co-Chair LI Lobby Coalition

This year’s platform was assembled with direct input from over 40 groups and with the backing of nearly 100 supporting organizations. The agenda included support for tax-deferred IRA accounts for small businesses, implementation of an internet sales tax, NYS AIM funding, funding for the NYS downtown revitalization initiative, bus funding for NICE and Suffolk County Transit, fair share for bike and pedestrian safety, a commuter benefit ordinance, passage of a comprehensive pharmaceutical manufacturer-funded safe disposal program, statewide food recovery & recycling act, testing for PRC’s, support for off-shore wind and solar energy programs, passage of the affordable & homeless housing initiative, child care funding, passage of the secure choice savings program local immigration reform. Infrastructure asks include traffic calming for Sunrise Highway and Hicksville, Hempstead parking solutions, Huntington Station sewering and land transfer, and the continuing of the Route 347 Greenway project.

The day began with a press conference before moving to meeting with Long Island Assembly members. 

The members present were generally supportive with several of them already sponsoring or moving to support agenda items presented to them. Of particular interest was the Small Business tax-deferred IRA program. Members of the coalition noted that this piece of legislation had passed the Senate multiple times and it was time for the Assembly to step up and get make this a reality. Ride sharing legislation that would bring funds collected on Long Island back for local infrastructure as opposed to being dropped in the state’s general fund was also discussed.

Special thanks to Assembly members Fred Thiele, Christine Pellegrino, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Andrew Raia, and Michael Fitzpatrick for attending. In spite of commitments from 15 Assembly members, only 5 showed up in person for this important meeting while the others either sent staff or simply did not show.

The next meeting was with the State Senate Majority delegation with Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and Senators Thomas Croci, Phil Boyle, Carl Marcellino, Kemp Hannon, and Elaine Phillips all in attendance. The group of Senators were engaged, listening with patience and clarified important questions. Support for certain bills such as the small business IRA, which has previously passed the senate, was reiterated. A recognition that the growth of new industries such as solar, wind energy, and ride sharing would require action as they grew in popularity. The coalition also talked with the Senators about bus funding, during which Senator Croci noted that Suffolk and Nassau receive less funding for buses than the smallest upstate urban region surrounding Syracuse. He stated that he would work to bring that up to parity should the ride sharing legislation to divert funds back to Long Island fail. Coalition members noted that this was the most productive meeting of the day and recognized the time commitment from the full delegation on one of the busiest days in Albany.

The next meeting of the day was with Long Island Minority Senate delegation with Senators John Brooks and Todd Kaminsky. The issues of bus funding, ride sharing, and immigration were of particular interest. During the course of the meeting Senators Kaminsky and Brooks offered general support for the agenda. Ride sharing legislation was once again a topic of discussion as the group tried to hash out how best to get those funds back to Long Island.

The final meeting of the day was with Governor Cuomo’s staff and included representative from the departments of energy, transportation, economic development, not for profit funding, and special projects. The group of six representatives listened as the coalition laid out its agenda, taking notes in order to bring them back to Governor Cuomo. At the end they spoke on the needs for transportation in the region and how the State had been investing, though they seemed to emphasize transportation in and out of New York City as opposed to getting around Long Island. They also talked about funding and gave out information to the groups to help them apply for grants and consider health care for not for profits.

The Lobby Coalition would like to give thanks for the legislation that was passed through its support. In particular we were sure to point out how zombie home legislation that we pushed for 2 years ago has made a big difference in local communities. We also took the time to thank for lawmakers for appropriating $2.5 billion in funds for local water infrastructure.

"Bringing together civic's, chambers and other local organizations helps bring our fair share of resources back from Albany to Long Island for critical projects and services"  Eric Alexander, Director, Vision Long Island, Co-Chair LI Lobby Coalition

Vision Long Island and the LI Lobby Coalition would also like to thank all the members of our State government who took the time to hear the message from local communities and provide feedback.

Special thanks to our participants, who included AARP, AT&T, the Baldwin Civic Association, Car-less Long Island, Child Care Council of Suffolk, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Concerned Citizens of Plainview / Old Bethpage, Deepwater Wind, the Elmont Chamber of Commerce, the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Long Island, Friends of Freeport, Friends of the Bay, the Hempstead Chamber of Commerce, the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, Island Harvest, Jobs with Justice, the Kings Park Civic Association, the Long Island Bus Riders Union, the Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Local the Long Island Business Council, the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless, the Long Island Federation of Labor, the Merrick Chamber of Commerce, the Nassau Council of Chambers, Nassau Suffolk Law Services, Nassau County Legislature, the Nesconset Chamber of Commerce, New York Bicycling Coalition, the Oceanside Civic Association, the Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, the Plainview / Old Bethpage Chamber of Commerce, Prevent Child Abuse NY, Renaissance Downtowns, Sepa Mujar, Source the Station, Suburban Millennial Institute, Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers, SunPower by EmPower Solar, Transit Solutions, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, and Vision Long Island.

You can check out coverage from LI Business News, Newsday, and Fios1 News. Also, be sure and check out social media coverage from CCE, Nassau and Suffolk Chambers and many other groups who took part in the day.

PSEG Long Island Announces New Vacant Space Revival Program for Downtowns

In a move aimed at helping to fill long-empty storefronts, PSEG Long Island has announced a new “Vacant Space Revival Program.”  The program will provide electric bill discounts to businesses that move into commercial spaces that have been vacant for over a year.

The program will give discounts to the delivery free for electricity during the businesses’ first year of operation.  The initial three months will be free with a 75% discount the next three, 50% the following three month period, and finally a 25% discount to close out the first year.  This benefits new businesses during the crucial first year when they are most vulnerable.  There is also upside for PSEG, who can finally turn electricity back on for long dormant accounts.

But the ultimate beneficiary are local downtowns with empty storefronts that “have become a form of ‘zombie-vacant businesses’” according to Bob Fonti, co-chair for both the Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers and the Long Island Business Council.  “These spaces remain dark and vacant and the effects to the surrounding businesses, as well as the loss of county and state sales tax revenue, will hurt all of us directly and indirectly.”

Representatives from PSEG Long Island reached out to local chambers of commerce before introducing the program in to solicit feedback on how to reach the largest number of businesses.  After elements of the plan were fine-tuned, PSEG moved forward on implementation.  “It goes in line with [Hicksville’s] revitalization program,” said Lionel Chitty, executive director of Hicksville Chamber of Commerce.  He went on to note that the program would provide benefits but that outreach would be necessary to ensure that business owners knew about the program.

“I’m excited to see it move forward,” said Eric Alexander, Vision Long Island’s Director.  “So many economic development programs are not wired to support truly small businesses. This one is – that’s what s unique about this.  They’ve done some good legwork to talk to folks – chambers, property owners – and have a sense of what their needs are.  It can be a helpful incentive.”

You can read more here.

Kings Park Civic Association Holds Meeting to Update Downtown Progress

Vision was out last night at the Kings Park Civic Association providing a general update on varied downtown revitalization efforts including follow up to the Vision plan, the upcoming rezoning for Main Street, and the status of funding for sewers. 

The featured speaker was Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim. He spoke on the planning work undertaken by Smithtown in Kings Park and other areas of the Town including a Comprehensive Plan. He also talked about the need for more vigorous work to secure grant funding in comparison to years past. Mr. Wehrheim endorsed the concepts of Transit Oriented Development but wanted to ensure that any plans are guided and supported by the local community.  The Supervisor also praised the Kings Park civic and chamber of commerce as well as Vision for moving the consensus in Kings Park. He also stated that he would like to see the same sort of process play out in other areas of Town concerning land use issues. 

Supervisor Wehrheim also covered the much more transparent nature of government operations, with the hiring of a public information officer that puts Town activities from all department heads online. Questions were raised concerning the importance of not just redevelopment in Kings Park, but walkability and pedestrian safety. The Supervisor was clear that those recommendations, contained in the Vision report, would stay in the final zoning plans.

Vision spoke at the event about some grant programs from NYS that could help defray the costs of those improvements. Other questions included the use of Town funds to partner in open space purchases wirh Mr, Wehrheim stating that about $2 million dollars has been put aside for this purpose. New Councilman Tom Lohmann also addressed the group and welcomed continued dialogue with residents in addressing ongoing concerns.

We'd like to recognize Civic President Linda Henninger and the civic board for running a productive and efficient meeting. 

Vision will be working with the civic, chamber, and Smithtown and their planning team to follow up on the zoning and will provide updates as they come.

Oyster Bay Officials and Activists Call for End to LI Sound Crossing Proposal

Last Thursday morning saw a group of activists and elected officials gather at the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to call for an end to the proposed $55 billion Long Island Sound crossing plan.

According to those gathers, the proposed crossing from Oyster Bay to Westchester would create an unacceptable amount of traffic and pollution while lowering quality of life for local residents.  They also say that the project would destroy the local community as well as the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  The proposed plan would create a tunnel connecting Westchester to Long Island, which is an idea that has been debated for many decades in the region.

In recent years Governor Cuomo has been trying to make a cross sound connection a reality and has conducted several studies about feasibility and cost for such a project.  This has come over the protest of numerous local officials and residents, who do not wish such a life altering project to run through their communities.

New York State has been conducting community outreach to potential locations on Long Island in order to try and reduce opposition to the plan.  The Department of Transportation has indicated that they consider the project of high importance in order to provide more economic opportunities to the region and ease congestion.  They have stated that they are just beginning the deeper conversation but are committed to move ahead with planning for the time being.

Numerous communities, business, transportation advocates, and local elected officials have questioned the extreme cost of the proposal given the varied needs to upgrade our existing transportation infrastructure including bus, rail, and roadway improvements.

You can read more here.

Study Shows an Increase in Pedestrians Deaths Nationwide

A recently released study by the Governors Highway Safety Association has shown a nationwide increase in pedestrian fatalities over the past decade.  While fatalities for those inside vehicles have decreased, fatalities for those outside of vehicles has gone up 27% since 2007.  The total number has fluctuated from year to year, however, the percentage relative to total traffic deaths has steadily increased from 11% to 16%.  Another recent study released by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research showed a decrease in deaths from crashes overall, it doesn’t focus on what percentage of those fatalities were pedestrians.

While New York State’s number of pedestrian fatalities decreased 14.2% from the first half of 2016 to the first half of 2017, it is still ranked fourth highest overall in the nation.  New York also had the highest percentage of those fatalities occurring at intersections, 33% instead of the national average of 20%, as well as a higher number of fatalities for those over 70 years old. 

The study included suggestions for making roads safer for pedestrians including evidence based strategies including: refuge islands, hybrid beacons for midblock crossings, improved lighting since the majority of crashes occur at night, road diets, roundabouts and other traffic calming methods.  It also recommends education and public information campaigns to remind drivers to yield to pedestrians, provide information about road improvements and a reminder that “everyone is a pedestrian.”  Though stand-alone education campaigns are not very effective at reducing crashes on their own, they are part of a comprehensive approach that also includes engineering and enforcement.

You can read the complete study here.

Long Island Business Council to Hold Meeting Tuesday, March 13th

The Long Island Business Council will hold a meeting on Tuesday, March 13th to discuss important prorgams and initiatives in both Counties. The meeting will feature Presiding Officers Richard Nicolello of the Nassau County Legislature and DuWayne Gregory of Suffolk County Legislature. John Keating of PSEG Long Island will also speak on the new energy company's new Vacant Properties and Main Street Revitalization programs. Nasau County Executive Laura Curran will give welcoming remarks at the event as well.

To RSVP or for more information you can download a flyer here, call 877-811-7471, or email

Please Join us for the 2018 Complete Streets Summit on Thursday, April 5th

The Long Island Complete Streets Coalition will be holding the 2018 Complete Streets Summit on Thursday, April 5th. The event will feature a robust agenda of speakers and discussion on how to create streets that are not just safe, but also attractive, interesting, and built for people, can help improve our well-being and quality of life.

While last year’s summit focused on the top five roads that are “hot spots” for crashes, this year we are widening our net to look at locations all across Long Island that are dangerous for those on foot or on a bicycle. Whether it is an entire stretch of road, or just a specific intersection, we will draw attention to places around the island that need to be improved in order to make our streets safe for all users. Currently we aren’t even reaching the most basic level of safety in many places which is the most fundamental aspect of walkability. Beyond basic levels of safety, many of our streets in and around our downtowns have the potential to be so much more than they are. Streets make up the majority of publicly owned space in many communities. Creating streets that are also places, streets with “Walk Appeal,” can add value to communities for both businesses and residents.

Please contact us at 631-261-0242 for more information. You can register for the event here.

Huntington Village Tests New "Pothole Killer"

After more than 50 years of the same old method, the Town of Huntington is looking to a brand new way of filling potholes. 

The Pothole Killer is a new invention that can fill more than 100 holes a day if operated by a skilled worker.  The machine uses a joystick to position an arm over the pothole in order to remove loose debris.  The machine then sprays an asphalt emulsion as an adhesive and drops filler in up to service level.  Finally, dry material is sprayed over the top and the roadway can be opened immediately.

The Town is currently in the testing phase, but if everything works out as planned expect to see this new machine on a roadway near you.

You can read more here.

Smart Talk

Christopher Kyle, Communications Director

Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Elissa Kyle, Planning Director; Jon Siebert, Program Coordinator

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to for consideration.

If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.

Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.

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