Tags Posts tagged with "Greenway Trail"

Greenway Trail

A biker enjoys a section of the Greenway Trail.

Generations ago, the pioneers of suburbia planned our region with one mode of transportation in mind. Cars.

Our forebears, led by urban planner Robert Moses from the 1920s onward, developed our region around the automobile, viewing the car as the mechanical embodiment of core American values: individualism, autonomy, freedom and progress.

To accommodate their automotive aspirations, they built elaborate networks of roads and bridges, connecting every home to every school, supermarket, shopping mall and office park along a continuous stretch of pavement.

Generations later, we now know this thinking was profoundly short sighted. Modern realities of endless traffic congestion painfully extinguish yesterday’s fantasies of limitless open road.

Today, we exist in a decidedly auto-focused, auto-dependent context whereby every essential activity in our lives is mediated by — and requires access to — a motor vehicle.

While cars are indisputably an important component of our transportation ecosystem, they cannot be the only mode of transportation available to us.

Many seniors or people with disabilities cannot operate a car. Young people entering the workforce often cannot afford the high costs of car ownership and maintenance. It should come as no surprise that these demographics are fleeing our region in droves.

A recent AAA report estimates the average annual cost of car ownership is now over $12,000 per year — up more than 13% from last year. For our residents, cars represent a growing liability, disrupting our finances and hindering our quality of life.

Hiking and biking trails are a possible remedy to our transit woes. While creating valuable recreational opportunities, these amenities fulfill an even greater need by opening an alternative to our cars.

For example, the North Shore Rail Trail extends from Mount Sinai to Wading River, running parallel with state Route 25A. For nearby residents, the trail facilitates access to every storefront, parkland and local institution along that highly trafficked corridor — without an automobile.

Unlike the road, that confines us to the interior of our cars, the trail places us outdoors and in relation with nature. Trails restore that vital connection to the land severed long ago through auto-focused regional planning.

The time is now to expand and interconnect our existing trails. Like our roads, we must connect every community on Long Island along one continuous greenway.

The North Shore Rail Trail and the Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway are separated by just over a mile. Planning must commence now to link these trails together. 

But we cannot stop there. We must plan and construct new hiking and biking routes, introducing these trails to communities currently without them.

Unlike past decision-making, our plans for new trails must be done purposefully. Greenways should not be limited to parks and open spaces — they must also extend into our neighborhoods, our commercial districts and our schools.

Still, an integrated transportation network must account for all modes of transport — private and public. A more agile and efficient bus system is in order. We call upon Suffolk County Transit officials to explore shorter buses that can better maneuver and adapt to meet the needs of riders.

Our commuters require faster, more frequent rail service. The electrification of the Port Jefferson Branch of the Long Island Rail Road would satisfy this end. We call upon the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, U.S. Congressman Nick LaLota (R-NY1) and our New York State delegation to advance this plan more aggressively.

With creative thinking, community-based planning and bold vision, we can revolutionize our transit network, rectifying decades-old faults and counteracting our regional decline. Together, let us blaze new trails ahead. Suffolk County’s new GEAR Up program is a step in the right direction.

Photo by Rob Pellegrino

Three Village Community Trust’s Friends of the Greenway will host its monthly cleanup of the Greenway Trail on Saturday, June 17 starting at 9 a.m. in the Port Jefferson Station trailhead parking lot off Route 112 next to Port Jeff Bowl.  Come help keep our community gem clean as we get ready for the summer. Questions? Email [email protected].

Linzer Tarts

Eagle Scout candidate Matthew Petrie, a Life Scout from Troop 204, will hold a Bake Sale fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 11 at Tuscany Gourmet Market, 691 Route 25A, Miller Place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature all kinds of baked goods for the upcoming holidays including heart-shaped linzer tarts. All proceeds will go towards improving the Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail in the spring.  

On April 10, Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) met with Cub Scouts from Pack 354 and their leader, Rob DeStefano, to present them with a certificate of congratulations for cleaning up the Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway. The supervisor also presented Town of Brookhaven pins to commemorate their efforts.

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) helped kick off the service project by joining the Scouts along the cleanup — filling a full five-gallon bucket with trash along the way.

The Setauket Port Jefferson Station Greenway is a three-mile-long trail that wanders its way from the east trailhead on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station to Limroy Lane in Setauket. Parking is available at both locations. Construction was completed in two phases with the first trail section opening in 2009 and the subsequent phase opening in 2014.

A true linear park, the Setauket to Port Jefferson Station Greenway is the longest paved multi-use trail in Suffolk County. The Greenway utilizes land acquired by the NYS Department of Transportation in the 1960s for a planned bypass of Route 25A. This bypass has been re-purposed, and today you can walk or bike through an amazing variety of terrains and landscapes: an old growth forest, rolling hills, rhododendron woodlands, neighborhoods, county parkland, old farmland, etc. With the recent opening of Phase II of the trail, you are now able to pedal from the Setauket Post Office to upper Port Jefferson Station. The path runs approximately four miles and is handicapped accessible.

The Friends of the Greenway, a committee of the Three Village Community Trust, maintains the Greenway. Visit www.threevillagecommunitytrust.org for more information.


Pixabay photo

Port Jefferson-based Hope Children’s Fund is holding it’s 17th Annual 5K Kenya/ USA Bi-Continental Walk/Run on Oct. 16, starting at 10 a.m.

This fundraising event is being held on the Port Jefferson end of the Port Jefferson Station/Setauket Greenway Trail. 

People in Kenya will be starting at the same time — only seven time zones away. 

Founded by Port Jefferson resident Larry Hohler and his Kenyan former student Joe Kirima, HCF was incorporated in 2005, in response to the AIDS-pandemic then raging in Kenya. 

Eighteen AIDS-affected preteens were taken off the streets in Meru when the orphanage first opened  in February  2005.  

Most of the original residents are now free- standing young adults, and 87 youngsters are coming up behind them. The money generated by this fundraiser helps to pay for their food, clothing, shelter and school fees.

Until now, the Kenyans won 16 of the 17 times that the competition has been held.

The entree fee is $30, but  larger donations are welcome. Participants can also compete virtually,  at a time and place of one’s choosing, between Oct. 16 and Oct. 23. 

For more information, call Larry Hohler at 631-473-1662, or check out their website hopechildrensfund.org.

Photo from PJST civic

Following the June 17 stabbing of 39-year-old Benjamin Flores-Mendez — who was found dead in Port Jefferson Station on the Greenway Trail — the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association called an emergency meeting this week to demand answers on a variety of issues from local representatives.

On Tuesday, July 6, nearly 150 people attended the meeting at Comsewogue High School. Suffolk County Police Department 6th Precinct officers joined elected officials from town, county and state offices to listen to topics such as the Lawrence Aviation space, homelessness, gangs and drug abuse which were brought up by concerned residents.

While the stabbing sparked the meeting, SCPD officials were unable to give details or answer questions surrounding the death, as it’s still an ongoing investigation. 

But that didn’t stop Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R), state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), county Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), and town Councilman Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) from joining the panel. State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) could not attend, but a representative joined in his place. 

“I’m going to tell you that myself and my colleagues from the Town Board are upset, disturbed by what we see is a growing problem in various communities in the Town of Brookhaven,” Romaine said. “And that is homelessness.”

According to residents, they have seen homeless people set up tents near the vacant and decrepit Lawrence Aviation buildings located adjacent to the Greenway on the Port Jefferson Station section. 

Kornreich added that those who are homeless aren’t necessarily in that plight because of a financial issue — oftentimes it revolves around mental health problems or drug abuse. 

“I think that what we need to try to do is to find a way, a compassionate way, to get these people the services that they need, that maybe they’re reluctant to take,” he said, adding it might require a greater investment in services from county agencies. 

Englebright, who spearheaded the creation of the trail years ago, said the Lawrence Aviation project has been an issue for years and requires coordination from all levels of government. 

“We’re in a moment of turmoil, not only locally but nationally,” he said. “We’re coming off of one of the worst years in the last 100 years because of the COVID infection that has ravaged our communities, and everybody is on edge — that includes disadvantaged individuals, and those who have ill intent. So, we have our work cut out for us.”

During the community forum, questions of hiking trails being linked to crime came up.

“The simple answer is no, there is no correlation, no cause and effect,” Englebright said. “Trails such as this are open space, and so they become targets to the opportunists.”

On the town level, Kornreich assured that meetings like this — between residents and local government — are what allows things to change. 

“We’re all here because we have to renew our commitment to work together at all levels of government to face challenges like the ones we have in Port Jefferson Station,” he said. 

The 6th Precinct commanding officer, Inspector Patrick Reilly, gave an update on crime statistics. In wake of the stabbing, new cameras were placed at the entrances and along the Greenway Trail. Reilly said more patrol officers have been out during the daytime and evening, as well as overnight. Plainclothes officers and the SCPD gang unit are on-site, as well. 

The stabbing that happened last month was the only one in 2021 and 2020, Reilly said. Robberies are down this year, as well as a 100% decrease in aggravated assault. 

“Overall, total violent crime is down 11.1%, total property crime is down 4.8%,” he said. “So, obviously, there are problems that still need to be addressed, and we will continue to do that.”

The next normally scheduled civic meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 20, at 7 p.m. at the Comsewogue Public Library. 

File photo

In the wake of the June 17 stabbing of 39-year-old Benjamin Flores-Mendez, who was found dead in Port Jefferson Station on the Greenway Trail, new precautions are being taken to help make residents feel safer when exercising alone.

To make the Greenway Trail safer, Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) requested cameras on the trail, bike patrols during the day and sector car patrols at night. As a result of Hahn’s push for better safety, cameras and new patrols are already in place

“As a Suffolk County resident, parent and legislator, public safety is always top of mind, and if I’m sent to Congress, that will continue,” Hahn said. “I’m proud of my work to keep our communities safe, like investing in security cameras and additional patrols in crime-prone areas and would welcome any new opportunities to expand on those efforts.”

As part of a women’s running group herself, Hahn advocates running with a partner and recommends using trails during daylight hours. 

According to Herb Mones, chair of the Three Village Civic Association land use committee, the Greenway Trail is the most used recreational area in the community.

Although this is the first reported incident of this type, Mones was still disheartened to learn the news. 

“Being part of the trail’s initial planning, and still active in its stewardship, I was shocked to see violence occur on the trail,” Mones said. “This corridor is a place for people to enjoy, and it is sad to see a loss of life on this path.”

Suffolk County police have stepped up their patrols on the trail and, with Hahn’s support, the implementation of security cameras will help deter any suspicious activity. 

“It is important for trail users to report any suspicious behavior, and refrain from being out on the trail at nighttime when there is less likelihood to observe your surroundings,” Hahn said, adding that it is illegal to be on the trail between dusk and dawn. 

Suffolk County police car. File photo

On Thursday,  June 17,  a man was found dead in Port Jefferson Station at the Greenway Trail, near Clifton Place at approximately 1 a.m.

Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives are investigating the stabbing death of a man that occurred on the trail. The body of the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on the case to call the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6392.



Community members came out for the 2021 Great Brookhaven Clean Up on May 15. Co-sponsored by the Town of Brookhaven’s Department of Recycling and Sustainable Materials Management and Keep America Beautiful, Inc., the event is part of a national effort that draws over 5 million volunteers in more than 20,000 communities across America who come together to pick up litter and clean miles of roadway, rivers, lakes, and more. 

Courtesy photo

The Suffolk County Legislature has approved the purchase of 17.29 acres of open space within the Terryville Greenbelt — its vote providing county officials with authorization to complete the remaining steps of the acquisition process for these properties. 

Through a partnership, the cost of purchasing these parcels will be divided between Suffolk County and the Town of Brookhaven at a 75% and 25% split, respectively. Additionally, the County and Town are expected to enter into an agreement for management and oversight of this open space by Brookhaven. 

As part of the Central Suffolk Special Groundwater Protection Area and located within the heavily developed Port Jefferson Station community, the Terryville Greenbelt is situated south of Route 112, adjacent to the rear of Comsewogue High School, and is approximately 75 total acres. 

The Town of Brookhaven has already preserved approximately 40 of the greenbelt’s acres through open space acquisitions and these 60 individual parcels will add to those existing municipal open space holdings to form continuous greenery.

“Preserving the Terryville Greenbelt parcels, located within a Special Groundwater Protection Area, in perpetuity highlights the continued commitment of Suffolk County to being a strong community partner to ensure protection of the local environment and our quality of life,” said Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket).

Suffolk’s efforts to preserve the greenbelt began in 2017, when Hahn gained approval for the appraisals of the parcels, the first step in a multi-phased county acquisition process. 

That initial step commenced a complex process of contacting the 60 parcels’ owners, gauging the owners’ interest in selling to the county and appraising the sites.

According to a letter of support provided to legislators from the Port Jefferson Station Terryville Civic Association, “Given the past and present development in this hamlet this proposed acquisition is needed for both quality of life and of our drinking water. The community supports the need for this type of quality and amount of open space in our Suffolk hamlet.”

Councilman Jonathan Kornreich was also grateful for Hahn’s help.

“This is a monumental achievement for our community and I’m grateful for your passionate dedication to getting it done,” he said. “This latest addition to the 40 acres preserved by the Town of Brookhaven will further strengthen our shared efforts to protect our groundwater and provide more public access to precious green spaces.”