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Tempers Flare Over Fishers Island Bike Path

One councilman said the board should not put recreation over public safety.

Talks of a proposed bike path on Fishers Island had some Southold town board members seeing red Tuesday.

The board was discussing an extension of the current Fishers Island bike path, something Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said could be cost prohibitive.

Jim Richter of the town's engineering department suggested just widening the road for a specific section to allow for a designated bike path on the shoulder.

Councilwoman Louisa Evans said the concern was that widening the road would make cars go even faster, with nothing between the bicyclists and the fast-moving cars.

Evans said the goal was not to have the work done, but to get an accurate survey done.

Richter said currently, no accurate survey exists and there is no guarantee the road could be re-striped.

Two options exist, Richter said: One, a design with an eight-food wide trail, similar to what's on the East End, or two, widening the road and doing line striping. 

Russell said he would support covering the soft costs of base mapping and a survey for an extension of the bike path, to explore options and determine the least expensive course of action. The end goal, he said, would be to give continuity to the bike path on Fishers Island.

Overall, to extend the path, the cost, between public and private funding, would be $500,000, he said.

Councilman Chris Talbot responded, "You're willing to spend money to do that but you won't spend it on life-saving measures in New Suffolk?" 

Some roadways in New Suffolk are very dangerous, Talbot said, with bicyclists, including children, forced to ride in the street near the cars.

Evans said often, funds are allocated to other areas of Southold Town and not Fishers Island. "We spend a lot of money here that Fishers Island sees no part of," she said. "The residents are asking for something that benefits them."

"So it's recreation versus life-saving," Talbot said.

Russell said there was no reason the town couldn't explore both options, a Fishers Island bike path extension and safety in New Suffolk. He said the matter would be on the agenda at the next work session in two weeks, and that he would sit down with the transportation committee to see where the dangerous roads were in New Suffolk and what could be done to mitigate the problems.

 
Rich Anderson December 05, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Southold Town does not have bike lanes or a bike path. No mountain bike trails or exercise trails and no pool. Southold town lags way behind other communities in recreational facilities for its adult citizens. But if you want to go out and drink wine until you drop, there's town money to facilitate that.
forward thinking December 06, 2013 at 06:17 AM
have the survey billed to fish isl. and have the results billed to fishers isl...
Greenport Gladfly December 06, 2013 at 07:58 AM
Hey forward thinker, seeing as how you love to rell others what they should do, why not send Fire Fighter to FI while you're at it.
forward thinking December 06, 2013 at 10:08 AM
agree - why not - this way we can pay for the enjoyment of a select few... and if I had the power the fb would be here and so would the osprey and the entire town would be reassessed to equalized taxes ... we have bigger troubles than fb, bikes etc... look at the perks in Washington...
John December 07, 2013 at 10:18 AM
There's a railroad on Fishers Island? The NF patch should really stop pretending to be a news source and stick to the fluff it has come to focus on.

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