Smart Talk header

August 11th - 17th, 2018

Regional Updates

PSEG Long Island

PSEG Long Island is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PEG), a publicly traded diversified energy company with annual revenues of $10.4 billion and operates the Long Island Power Authority’s transmission and distribution system under a 12-year contract.

They have pledged to build a Long Island utility with PSEG’s same record of service, reliability and customer satisfaction. It will take some time to make all the improvements they’re planning, but in the end, they will create a utility of which Long Islanders can be proud. Keeping the lights on isn’t just a job: It’s their mission. 

"There is no question that LIRR has some tough challenges to overcome, and faced many unexpected incidents this past winter, but it can provide its riders with better service by improving preparations for major disruptions, alternative transportation and communication with passengers. LIRR is an important part of the New York City metro-area economy and needs to run smoothly and efficiently." - NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

icon Like us on Facebook

icon Follow us on Twitter

icon Watch us on YouTube

Join us on LinkedIn icon

Get our iPhone app icon

Visit our website icon

Westbury Purchases Building for Westbury Arts, Tours Village with Executive Curran

The Village of Westbury has purchase a building in order to use it as the home of the nonprofit group Westbury Arts.

The building, located at 255 Schneck Ave, was purchased for $640,000 with funds from the $10 million DRI grant received in 2016. It will be renovated to turn the building into a permanent HQ for Westbury Arts with a performance and meeting space, a gallery, and a workspace for art classes. Renovations are estimated to be completed by May 2019.

“This is a tremendous step forward in our long-stated goal of making Westbury one of Long Island’s most arts-centric communities,” Cavallaro said in a statement. “Westbury Arts has grown tremendously in just its first five years of existence, and we see the future of that organization, and the arts in general, as important for Westbury’s future growth and sustainability. We would like to thank the state and Governor Cuomo for enabling us to make art and culture a centerpiece of our community.”

Westbury was the first village on Long Island to receive one of the DRI grants from the state. Hicksville and most recently Central Islip have both been awarded the $10 million grant for community revitalization since 2016. As part of that process, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran recently toured downtown Westbury along with Mayor Cavallaro and Trustees Jefferson, Corte, and Wise.

The purpose of the tour was for Executive Curran to get a better understanding of what is planned with the upcoming DRI projects as well as other possible funding sources. The group had also previously met with County Legislators Laura Schaefer and Siela Bynoe to discuss similar issues.

The meetings also took place to help plan the DRI projects that will require County participation and assistance. Such efforts would come from the Nassau County Department of Public Works and / or the Planning Commission. Executive Curran along with the Legislators Schaefer and Bynoe have all pledged to assist with the DRI projects as much as they are able.

Planned improvements include a reconfiguration of the intersection at Post & Union to improve both pedestrian and vehicular experience and safety; streetscape improvements along Post Ave; rezoning to create a transit-oriented development atmosphere in the downtown.

It is great to see the progress and attention paid to redevelopment and placemaking opportunities. Vision worked on the earlier market study that was a basis for the DRI, and is following through on their new TOD zoning code.

You can read more here.

Commuters Outline Needed Pedestrian Improvements at Hicksville LIRR Station

Commuters recently weighed in on issues plaguing the area surrounding Hicksville’s LIRR station and what can be done to improve conditions.

A major example that a lot of commuters brought up was a four-lane crosswalk near the station that almost no one uses due to the inconvenience.  Instead, they cross at a more convenient but unmarked location several dozen feet away to reach a local parking lot.  These are the sorts of safety concern that the Town of Oyster Bay and LIRR are looking at as plans for improving the downtown progress in Hicksville.

Thanks to an increased interest in developing the area surrounding the train station, there has been a new urgency inaddressing such issues.  Officials are hoping to turn the area into a walkable downtown with proposals ranging from adding 200 residential units next door to the station, new stores, open spaces, and a new entry into a network or parking lots, stores, and offices.  These proposals and more were first mentioned in a report in March that was created by a local planning committee consisting of residents, civic leaders, and elected officials.

However, what gets commuters talking the most is the idea of pedestrian improvements.  Commuters spoke of the “dingy” look to the street and how the proposed improvements could improve the aesthetic as well as the safety appeal.  Others noted that they would appreciate not having to dodge vehicles while parking upwards of 20 minutes away from the station.  A big hit among these commuters was the idea of a proposed parking garage with 1,100 new spaces.

It is encouraging to see so many commuters looking forward to the proposed changes.  Vision has been working with both civic and elected leaders to help with the community-driven revitalization process for over a decade now.  We look forward to seeing local residents’ dreams become reality as the revitalization process continues.

You can read more here.

Lawrence Unveils Plans for Modern Downtown Library Building

The Village of Lawrence has officially unveiled plans for a modern state-of-the-art library located in its downtown center.

While the plans will still need approval through a public referendum, the library and village have already put an agreement in place for the library to purchase roughly 30,000 square feet of land located next to Zion Park and across the street from the train station.  The purchasing price will be $3.33 million.

Details of the project show a 37,500 square foot building with a number of community rooms and a lounge, a rooftop garden with seating, a café, increased parking capacity, an entire floor dedicated to child reading and activities, private offices that can be reserved in advance, and a fireplace.  The new building will replace the current 57-year-old building, which is only 13,500 square feet and one of the smallest libraries in the Nassau County system.

A hearing date has not been set to approve the project, but residents are already buzzing about the possibilities.  “Though our library’s current structure is small and antiquated, our population is very engaged,” said Sarah Yastrab, a library trustee. “We consistently have among the highest circulation in Nassau County. Personally, I’m most excited about the prospect of being able to deliver content and programming to our patrons in a more efficient and comfortable manner in the new building, and having the physical space that reflects the excellence and beauty of our community.”

You can read more here.

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases LIRR Recommendations

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released a report that outlines limited plans aimed at assisting LIRR with ongoing disruptions.

"There is no question that LIRR has some tough challenges to overcome, and faced many unexpected incidents this past winter, but it can provide its riders with better service by improving preparations for major disruptions, alternative transportation and communication with passengers," DiNapoli said. "LIRR is an important part of the New York City metro-area economy and needs to run smoothly and efficiently."

The recommendations come after an audit, released this past week, was engaged to find out whether the LIRR could handle unexpected delays and incidents in an adequate manner.  The audit investigated 2,004 trains that were cancelled or delayed by 15 minutes or longer between December 1, 2017 and January 24, 2018.  A sample of 11 delays based on date, time of day, branch, and type of delay were examined as well as their impacts on other trains and riders.

The audit found that there was not a plan in place for 5 of the 11 incidents that included a two derailment and two deaths involving people struck by the train.  The 6 remaining incidents were found to have inadequately followed the required steps to deal with an incident and reduce response time.  Communications to passengers was also found to be lacking in 4 of the 11 incidents as well as riders impacted by the delays.  The LIRR also could not confirm that buses were ordered to expedite the movement of passengers during delays.

Recommendations include the review of incidents to contribute to new plans meant to address them, documenting of plans and protocols during response, development of a process to manage bus service needed during an incident including notifications and documentation, creation of a standard alternative service plan for each main line and branch should service be suspended, and increase standards of communication to customers during the course of an incident.

The LIRR is in agreement on a number of these and is currently working to implement some of the recommended changes while reviewing others.

You can read the summary of the report here and the full report here.

LIBN Asks Readers’ Opinion on Importance of Downtowns

The Long Island Business News has released an online poll asking readers whether or not there should be more downtown redevelopment. 

Of the 255 online votes cast 196, or 77%, were in favor of downtown development and considered it important.  16% of respondents were opposed to further development on Long Island, and 7% were only in favor of downtown developments that did not include apartments. The numbers show that there is still a hunger among residents to see an expansion into downtown Long Island.

You can view the results of the online poll here.

Study Shows Self-Driving Cars Repeatedly Fail to Stop for Obstacles

A new study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that self-driving cars have been found to not stop for certain obstacles and in other dangerous situations without immediate driver intervention.

"The early results underscore the fact that today's systems aren't robust substitutes for human drivers," the insurance trade group said in its report published Tuesday.  One particular issue that popped up according to researchers was the BMW, Volvo, and Mercedes self-driving models all failed to stop when a vehicle directly in front of them stopped suddenly in certain circumstances.  Tesla models also seemed to have issues stopping in certain conditions.

Research also showed the bigger issues fueling these problems is the tendency of drivers inside the vehicle to assume that they are safe.  Once they come under this impression they tend to divert attention away from the road.

This all comes at a time when there is increased scrutiny on self-driving vehicles after an Uber prototype struck and killed a pedestrian this past March.  Researchers have emphasized how important it is to conduct tests off of real roads in order to prevent future incidents until the technology is ready to be fully implemented.

You can read more here.

LI Museum - Stony Brook to Host “Wrestling with Moses” Event on August 19th

On Sunday, August 19th from 2-3:30 pm, the Long Island Museums – Stony Brook (formerly known as the Carriage Museum) will welcome journalist and author Anthony Flint to speak about his book, “Wrestling with Moses:  How Jane Jacobs Took on New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City.

Flint will lead the audience on an introspective journey into the battle between Moses and activist Jane Jacobs.  Afterward, visit the Robert Moses exhibition to gain additional insight into Moses’ life and times. This event is free with museum admission. You can check out the museum's website here.

Island to Table Returns to Patchogue on August 26th

The Island to Table outdoor dining experience is set to return to Patchogue for a third consecutive year on Sunday, August 26th.  It will be located at Michael E. Reilly Memorial Park (Fireman’s Park) near the Great South Bay in Patchogue.  Tickets are $150 each. Cocktails start at 5 pm with the first course set to begin at 6 pm.

The 5-course dinner is a fundraiser run by HomeGrown Change, a local sustainability and educational group focused on teaching young people the ins and outs of gardening.  Last year’s event was a sellout, raising over $10,000 for the organization.

You can purchase tickets for the event online here, and email HomeGrown Change with questions and comments here.

Annual Riverhead Cardboard Boat Race Rescheduled to Sunday, August 26th

The Riverhead Cardboard Boat Race on the Peconic Riverfront is setting sail again on Sunday, Aug. 26th. After getting rained out on the initial Saturday date. The free event hosted by the Riverhead Business Improvement District attracts hundreds to the dock to cheer on the duct-taped vessels.

Get there early to secure your spot on the waterfront. The event starts at 9 a.m.

You can check out the event website here.

Save the Date for AARP Long Island's Racial and Ethnic Disparities Forum on September 6th

Please join AARP Long Island in an important forum about the significant racial and ethnic disparities that currently exist among New York's 50+ multicultural communities. The event will take place on Thursday, September 6th, from 8 to 11 am, at the Hofstra University Club.

You can RSVP for this event here or call 1-877-926-8300.

Car Free Day Long Island is Friday, September 21st

Beat the Rush Hour!

Join us for the 6th Annual Car Free Day Long Island and leave your car home or drive it less on Friday, September 21, 2018.

Join in this worldwide movement to celebrate sustainable transportation on Car Free Day.  In 2017, 6,808 Long Islanders pledged to be car free or car-lite, resulting in the avoidance of 134,000 miles of driving and 67 tons of CO2 emissions!

You can pledge online here and download a free online tool kit here.

Suffolk County Purchasing Office Posts New Procurement Opportunity

The Suffolk County Purchasing Division, on behalf of the Department of Economic Development and Planning, is Seeking Contractor Services to Provide a Public Private Partnership (P3) Viability Analysis Based on a Specific Case Study.

To obtain a copy of the document, please log on to the Suffolk County website here and select from the Menu Bar Offerings/Search.  Locate Document #18026 and click View Detail.

You must be registered to search for offerings on the County’s website.  Instructions on how to register are located at the above link to view the County’s website.

Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Program

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that $275 million in grant funding is available to municipalities with infrastructure projects that protect or improve water quality and/or public health. This funding, available through the the Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Program, is part of the Governor's $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017. Grant applications and additional information are available on the Environmental Facilities Corporation website.

Applications are due on Friday, September 7, 2018 at 5 p.m.

NYS DEC Environmental Restoration Grants Now Available

These grants reimburse municipalities and community-based organizations for design and construction costs associated with the cleanup and remediation of designated brownfield sites. Sites must be identified by the New York State Environmental Restoration Program and have a DECissued Record of Decision (ROD) for the site.

Eligibility: Applicants must be a municipality or municipality acting in partnership with a community-based organization involved in cleaning and rebuilding a designated brownfield site. 
Funding: $10 million.
Deadline: September 7, 2018.
Contact: ERP Program Manager  - Phone: 518-402-9764; Email:;  Website: IntelliGrants_NYSGG/module/nysgg/ goportal.aspx?NavItem1=3

Tritec Releases Progress Photos for Ronkonkoma HUB

Ronkonkoma HUB developer Tritec has released a photo album showing progress on construction at the site.  You can check out the progress and keep up to date on construction at the site here. Aerial photos are also available here.

Smart Talk

Eric Alexander, Director

Christopher Kyle, Communications 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.

Home | Contact Us | Donate | About Us