July 23rd - 30th, 2016
VHB is passionate about making meaningful contributions to the world through the work that we do. They are proud, yet humbled, to have been doing this for 35 years.
They are a team—1,250 strong—eager to deliver value by embracing our clients’ goals, anticipating challenges, building lasting partnerships, and always providing a smooth ride.
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"This particular project is very close to home to me. The Gitto family has been a wonderful support to the Village of Port Jefferson. This project will give young people and empty-nesters a gorgeous place to live. This complex will be instrumental in revitalizing an area in Port Jefferson Village in which the Board" Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant speaking on the opening of the Hills in Port Jefferson
"The Hills in Port Jefferson is the first project to begin in the Upper Port area under the revitilization plan. It will create a creater sense of community in Upper Port as well extend the downtown part of Port Jefferson." Rob Gitto of the Gitto Group speaking on the opening of the Hills in Port Jefferson
Grand Opening of the Hills in Port Jefferson
Vision staff and board attended the grand opening of the Hills in Port Jefferson, a 74-unit transit-oriented development built by the Gitto Group on the site of an old car wash. The building consists of one and two bedroom units that range from 700 square feet to 1200 square feet. Amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, an outdoor courtyard with barbecue space, and large balconies with great views. Behind-the-building parking helps improve the walkable nature of the neighborhood, which sits right behind Main Street shops, and placing the buildings closer to the sidewalk helps to define the street and give a more comfortable feel of an outdoor room. Vision honored this influential development, the first to be built in Port Jefferson under the Village’s new revitalization plan, with a Smart Growth Award this past June.
This project is proving that there is a demand for this type of housing; the entire first phase of the development was leased in only 3.5 weeks. A number of residents who attended the event and spoke to members of Vision’s staff enthusiastically detailed their positive experiences in the building since the beginning of their leases. Construction of the second half of the development has just broken ground, and is expected to be completed in June 2017.
Mayor Margot Garant congratulated Rob and Anthony Gitto on their success, thanking them for having the vision to invest in this form of housing and in the neighborhood of Upper Port. She expressed her optimism for the future of the area, and communicated to the group that unity is the key to revitalizing Upper Port and making it as successful as lower Port. Anthony Gitto also addressed the group, and emphasized the role that the Village of Port Jefferson had in the success of their project. Without the Village’s help, he said, the development would never have come to fruition.
The construction of these apartment units is hoped to inspire small businesses such as cafes and restaurants and other retailers to follow suit and to create a sense of community in Upper Port, as well as extend the downtown part of Port Jefferson which already has quite a vibrant nightlife and day community. Rob Gitto of the Gitto Group stated that this is the first project the company has taken on with little or no opposition from the community. The beginning of the renaissance of the Upper Port Jefferson area was also made possible in part by the Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency’s assistance with incentives to facilitate redevelopment.
Congratulations to Gitto Group and the Village of Port Jefferson for their commitment towards moving transit-oriented development projects ahead in Upper Port Jefferson. You can view Vision Long Island's award video for the Hills here.
New Mastic Beach Transportation Project Added to State Five Year Capital Plan
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. from Sag Harbor announced on Monday that a new transportation project set to benefit Mastic Beach has been added to the State Five Year Capital Plan. Mastic Beach will receive a total of 280,000 dollars for the rehabilitation of poor sidewalks. In a recent news release, Assemblyman Thiele said, “I am pleased that these important safety projects have been added to the State Capital Budget for funding. They are a critical part of rehabilitating the State’s infrastructure. Suburban and upstate legislators fought hard to insure these funds were provided.” East Hampton and Southampton will also see benefits from new projects added to the Capital Plan.
Repairing, adding, and enhancing sidewalks within the community has been discussed since 2006 when Vision Long Island held public workshops to receive community input on how to revitalize the downtown. The Mastic Beach Vision Report calls for wide sidewalks that can serve as pedestrian amenities by creating nice, open, public spaces. In fact, when given the chance to voice their opinion about the future of their town, Village residents listed ‘wide sidewalks for seating’ as one of their priorities.
In 2014, Mastic Beach received a 43,000-dollar revitalization grant from Suffolk County to install sidewalks for residents to access Pattersquash Creek-fronted Bayview Park, which was the former home of the Bayview Hospital. The money was used to extend sidewalks from the village’s downtown area on Neighborhood Road south on Cranberry Drive, then on to the front of the park. The sidewalks connect with a Town of Brookhaven roadway project, where sidewalk aprons were installed near the gas station at the corner of Neighborhood Road and Bayview Drive, and sidewalks along Bayview Drive down to Victoria Place just outside of the park. Then-Village Trustee Spery, now Mayor, clearly emphasized the importance of new sidewalks, saying, “Creating walkable downtowns and helping to connect our business district to our beautiful and accessible waterfront is a key component in marketing Mastic Beach for eco-tourism.” The Town of Brookhaven, who operates Bayview Park, recently installed a kayak ramp to better allow waterfront access to those close the Mastic Beach's downtown.
You can read more about Mastic Beach’s new transportation project on Newsday.
The Town of Riverhead held a special board meeting this week to look into funding for a $2.5 million development on Riverhead’s budding Main Street.
PSEG Prepared for Upcoming Heatwave
PSEG recently announced that Long Island is prepared for the wave of extreme heat and potential storms that it is forecasted to experience in the upcoming weeks. Due to unusually high temperatures (they are expected to be in the 90s for an extended period of time) they have been closely following the weather and have additional employees ready to deal with power outages and incoming calls from customers. PSEG has also stated that they are capable of handling the projected service-area peak expected as a result of increased electric use during the extreme heat.
As higher temperatures often lead to higher electric bills, PSEG Long Island has compiled a list of tips so that customers can minimize the impact of hot weather and manage their electricity use. Cracks and holes in or around doors and windows should be sealed to prevent air leaks. Additionally, blinds and drapes should be drawn over windows that face the sun to keep out the sun’s heat. Air conditioner air filters should be replaced monthly to prevent air conditioning units from working overtime, and thermostats should be set at a higher temperature when homeowners are away. PSEG also suggests using a microwave or crockpot during times of extreme heat, as these devices will not heat the house as an oven will. Refrigerators and freezers should be set to the most efficient temperatures, and old appliances should be replaced with energy-efficient ENERGY STAR ® Appliances when possible. Finally, PSEG would also like to remind its customers to always stay away from downed wires and to never use a generator in or near enclosed spaces.
“Extreme heat and summer storms have the potential to cause scattered outages across Long Island and the Rockaways,” said John O’Connell, vice president of Transmission and Distribution, PSEG Long Island. “We understand losing power is frustrating and we are closely watching the weather. We will have additional personnel on hand to respond to any outages caused by extreme heat or storms. Regardless of conditions, PSEG Long Island is prepared to provide reliable service every day.”Customers who experience an outage can call 1-800-490-0075 to report it, or can use MyAlerts, PSEG’s text message service. Customers can also watch PSEG’s website to see general outage activity throughout the region.
The Link Between the Number of Bikers, Bike Infrastructure, and Air Quality
A new study has been produced as the result of a collaboration between researchers at McGill University, Concordia University, and the World Resources Institute Ross Center for Sustainable Cities that details how better bicycle infrastructure can lead to increased numbers of bicycle commuters. The study, which uses data from Montreal, compares information from home-based work bike and car trips (i.e. commute trips) from 1998, 2003, and 2008. Also analyzed was the number of bike lanes and other bike-friendly infrastructure available each year. While previous studies have looked at the connection between infrastructure investment and the number of bikers and the differences between sharrows and bike lanes in regards to attracting new bike riders, this study is unique as it also monitors the air quality of the city as bike-friendly changes are made.
Perhaps most importantly, the study concluded that a 10 percent increase on the index of bicycle infrastructure accessibility was significantly associated with a 3.7 percent increase in bicycle ridership. Furthermore, the construction of new cycling facilities was found to reduce the emission of transportation-related greenhouse gases by approximately 2 percent for every 7 percent growth in the length of bicycle-friendly lanes. This decrease is quite large; the effects were deemed to be the equivalent of converting all transit buses to hybrid and electrifying all commuter trains. It was also discovered, perhaps counterintuitively, that living downtown causes a decrease in the likelihood of cycling to work as compared to living in other neighborhoods. All other neighborhood types, however, experienced an increase in the likelihood of commuting by bicycle over time. Areas that were more urban in nature, again with the exception of downtown, saw greater growth in bicycle ridership over the 10-year period studied.
The article points out that while a number of European countries, namely Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands, have had large “cycling booms” in the past few years, cycling in the US and Canada “has remained a marginal mode of transport, with low modal share (the percentage of travelers using a particular type of transportation) in most cities.” With the results of this study in mind, it appears that one way that North American cities can increase the number of commuters who bike while simultaneously improving the air quality of the city is by increasing the amount of bike-friendly infrastructure available. Whether in the form of bike racks or bike lanes, the investment in new bike infrastructure can benefit the health of both the biker and the local residents who will consequently have cleaner air to breath.
Seyed Amir Zahabi, one of the four authors of the article said, “At first it might seem pretty obvious that building more bike lanes would encourage more people to switch to bikes as their mode of transport, but simple intuition isn’t enough to convince decision makers at the local and provincial governments to plan to build them. Looking at long-term infrastructure effects is something important that more studies need to consider, so our team decided to do a study and do the math. In summary, we looked at Montreal, Canada over a 10-year period, focusing on built environment changes and increases in the bike lanes from 1998 to 2008. We found that building more bike lanes increases ridership and reduces car commuting and therefore results in less GHG emission. A reduction of close to 2% in GHG emissions is observed for an increase of 7% in the length of the bicycle network. Our results show the important benefits of bicycle infrastructure to reduce commuting automobile usage and GHG emissions.”
You can learn more about the link between neighborhood typologies, bike infrastructure, and greenhouse gases by reading the entire article here (a subscription or one-time purchase fee is required).
Alliance for Biking and Walking Releases 2016 Report
The Alliance for Biking and Walking, a group that works to unite state and local bicycling and walking advocacy organizations throughout North America, has released their 2016 Benchmarking Report entitled Bicycling and Walking in the United States. The report represents a compilation of data that has been collected since 2003 in order to provide a comprehensive snapshot of biking and walking in the U.S.
Farmingdale Live at Five on Main Events this Summer
Farmingdale Live at Five On Main is a free summer program offering a number of music nights to people in downtown Farmingdale Village. The event will take place four times throughout the summer, with dates set for August 11th, and August 25th from 5pm to 9pm. Three bands will perform each night along Main Street between Prospect Street and North Front Street. The event will focus on more than just music; many merchants, restaurants, and clubs will be participating to provide the public with a number of options for dining and shopping. Three of the four nights will also feature a movie night on the Village Green, weather permitting.
No traffic will be allowed on Main Street on either side of Conklin Street from 4pm to 10pm, allowing for a two block pedestrian area for the events. Free parking will be available in Village parking lots, which are located along Conklin, on Main Street, north and south of the street closure, in the former Waldbaum’s parking lot, along neighboring streets, or in the Train Stations Lots after 4 pm. Similar events are also being held in Patchogue (Alive After Five), on August 4th, and August 18th, and in Riverhead (Alive on 25) on August 11th, and August 25th. Farmingdale and Riverhead's events are modeled after Patchogue's Alive After Five event (now in its 15th year), which was recently awarded a Smart Growth Award.
More information about participating merchants and supporters and rain dates is available on Farmingdale's Live at Five’s website.
Westbury Concert Series
The Village of Westbury will be hosting its free evening concert series at the Piazza Ernesto Strada in the Village of Westbury Square on the corner of Post Avenue and Maple Avenue. Free parking for attendees will be available in the Village Madison Avenue parking lot behind Rite Aid. All of this year’s concerts will be held on Fridays from 7pm to 9pm. Featured performers include Dance Visions NY, North Shore Pops, and Sonido Clasico. The series will also include an art event to complement the music. Handmade cards and Paint Night are just a couple of the activities to be held in conjunction with the concerts.
For more information, you can visit the Greater Westbury Council for the Arts’ website.
Long Island’s 4th Annual Car Free Day
You can join the efforts to increase the use of sustainable transportation this Thursday, September 22, 2016 on Long Island’s 4th Annual Car Free Day. Last year, almost 3,000 Long Islanders pledged to go car free, saving 78,000 miles in driving and 39 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Car Free Day was celebrated in over 2000 cities in 40 countries around the world in 2015. To participate in this year’s event, all you have to do is promise to be either car-free or car-lite on Car Free Day by signing an online pledge form. You also receive the chance to win free prizes once you have made the pledge. 511NY, MTA, NICE, Suffolk Transit, HART, Long Beach Municipal Bus, and the Nassau-Suffolk Bicycle Coalition all have information about getting around town without using a car. Vision Long Island is a proud sponsor of this successful event.
For more information on this international event, you can visit Long Island’s Car Free Day website here.
Intern with Vision Long Island!
Vision Long Island is looking for interns! Our staff likes to say we "wear many hats," and interns will have to do the same. Interns will assist with planning, design, outreach, event planning, writing, research, attending meetings, reporting, photography, video and more. Bring your unique skill set to the table! We are looking for energetic and conscientious individuals with an interest in urban/suburban planning from a bottom-up perspective. This is a valuable opportunity to work with great people and learn about the issues impacting Long Island. Strong writing skills a plus.
Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grant
The National Marine Fisheries Service is soliciting proposals for Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants to implement projects to improve or restore coastal habitat. 10 proposals are expected to be awarded grants valued between $100,000 and $2,000,000. The goal of such efforts is to strengthen the resilience of U.S. marine and coastal ecosystems and decrease the vulnerability of communities to extreme weather while also supporting sustainable fisheries by contributing to the recovery of protected resources. Applicants may be institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations, and local or state governments. All applications are due by August 16, 2016.
You can learn more about the application process for this grant here.
Over $200 Million in Funding Available for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects
New York State has more than $200 million in expired earmarks and grants available that can now be spent due to provisions in the current federal transportation funding bill, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST). This money includes over $18 million for projects involving bicycles and pedestrians, as well as other roadway improvements. Parks & Trails New York has assembled a website that explains both eligibility requirements and a map illustrating where each earmark may be used.
Long Island has several million dollars that were earmarked for projects over 10 years ago, with the projects either not coming to fruition, being partially complete, or being funded by other sources. Instead of losing out on those earmarks, funding will be able to be repurposed for other projects within a 50 mile radius of the original project location., that are eligible for Surface Transportation Block Grant funding, and that will be complete on or before September of 2019. The maximum Federal share of funding for the new project must be the same as the share of the original project.
New York State has to notify the Federal Highway Authority of its decision to repurpose the money by August 29, 2016, so the deadline is quickly approaching. You can contact your bicycle and pedestrian coordinator if you have an eligible local project for which you would like to receive funding. For more information or if you have any questions, please call Parks & Trails New York at 518-434-1583, or email Ron Epstein of NYSDOT at email@example.com
National Endowment for the Arts Grant
The National Endowment for the Arts has an Our Town grant program that aims to support creative placemaking in downtown communities. In order to be eligible for the grant, there must be a partnership between arts organizations and the government, other nonprofit organizations, and private entities. Projects of two types will be considered: Arts Engagement, Cultural Planning and Design Projects which represent the character and quality of a community, and Projects that Build Knowledge About Creative Placemaking, available for organizations that provide technical assistance to those doing place-based work. Matching grants range from 25,000 to 200,000 dollars. The deadline is September 12, 2016.
To learn more about the grant, and apply, visit the National Endowment for the Arts’ website.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Grant
The Housing Trust fund is currently accepting applications for approximately 26.9 million dollars of State and Federal funds for projects relating to housing activities including housing rehabilitation, homeownership, manufactured housing rehabilitation or replacement, well and septic replacement, and lateral connection assistance that primarily benefit low- and moderate-income persons. Eligible applicants include non-entitlement villages, towns, cities or counties throughout New York State. The 2016 Application for CDBG Housing Activities will be available on the NYS Homes and Community Renewal website and is due no later than 4:00pm on Wednesday, September 28, 2016.
You can contact the Office of Community Renewal within NYS Home and Community Renewal at (518)-474-2057 with any questions, or visit their website.
What's happening on your Main Street this weekend?
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Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
For information, visit their website or call 516-439-5218
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Bow Tie Port Washington
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Cold Spring Harbor
For information, visit their website or call 631-351-3250
Port Jefferson Historical Society
For information, visit their website or call 631-473-2665
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Connecting Police with Local Communities
A local Westbury resident has decided to take action after hearing about the high tensions between police officers and residents in many communities across our nation. “There needs to be a way in which police can really hear what the community is saying and to improve its procedures, and which police are able to let the community know what their end of the responsibility needs to be,” Arthur Dobrin said. “Empathy is needed on both sides and communication is the way for that to happen.”
With that in mind, he set out to create a website that allows residents to voice their concerns with the police department and that permits police officers to distribute pertinent information to community members. Dobrin has said that the Nassau County Police Department has been very responsive to the idea since the site launched in June. Dobrin also emphasizes that he hopes the idea can catch on in places outside of Nassau too. “I’m hoping elsewhere, people adopt it and use it for their own purposes. It’s not copyrighted, it’s meant for people to use.” This initiative is a great idea that has the potential to continue to facilitate healthy and productive relationships between law enforcement and local community members.
You can view and interact with the website here.
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