07/11/14 7:00am
07/11/2014 7:00 AM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | Riverhead Town's planned bike path would run south from Route 25 along Line Road (above) before reaching an area near River Road.

Line Road (above) at EPCAL became a subject for debate during a bike path discussion at Town Hall. (Credit, Tim Gannon, file)

A discussion at Town Hall last week about a proposed nine-mile bike loop at Enterprise Park at Calverton showed that, at least for the moment, it will remain incomplete. That’s probably a good thing. Here’s why:  (more…)

10/26/13 12:00pm
10/26/2013 12:00 PM

R1024_Bike_TG_C.jpg

They say you never forget how to ride a bike, but I kinda did. At least the gear-shifting part and the keeping air in the tires part.

A few months ago, I dropped my car off at an auto repair shop, intending to use my brother’s bike — built sometime in the early 1980s — to get back home. As it turned out, the bike’s tires were flat and I found it didn’t fit in the car’s trunk, so that idea went nowhere.

Instead, I walked home from the repair shop … seven miles. That was enough walking for me. The next day, I bought a bike.

It’s a used bike, with a little switch that enables me to easily take off the front tire so the bike will fit in my car. This way, I can drive the bike to places more conducive to riding than where I live. Now that I had the bike, I figured the Tour de France couldn’t be far off — so long as I could drive there.

For the first week or so, I drove my bike to a lot of different places. Sure, I didn’t get out and actually sit on the bike and pedal, but it was there if I wanted it — or needed it.

Then one day, I decided I would bike over the Brooklyn Bridge, which I’ve been told has a bike lane running across it. So the bike and I went on a ride to Brooklyn, in my car. We took a few wrong turns, but eventually found the bridge (which, I suppose, isn’t that hard to find). Then we went looking for a place to park the car. I looked all over Brooklyn, reluctantly went into a parking garage that had only valet parking, backed into something, panicked and quickly exited the parking lot. I then spent time looking for a roadside parking space with no success. After a while, I just gave up and went home.

But I hadn’t given up entirely on being a biker.

On the last day before my next vacation, in September, I had to write a story on the completion of federally funded $3.2 million bike path from Calverton to Jamesport. As part of the story, I tried to call some local bike enthusiasts for comment. None of the bikers I contacted seemed too excited about this bike path, which basically consists of some widened roads and signage indicating that bikes go on the side of the road and the cars stay in the middle. Duh!

What the bikers were excited about was the bike path that runs around the Enterprise Park at Calverton. The bike enthusiasts see this as a potential major draw to the area, since there aren’t many places on Long Island, apparently, where people can ride around a nine-mile path. I had noticed a lot of people using it one Saturday, so on my next vacation, I packed the bike in the car, drove it to Calverton and tried out the EPCAL bike path.

Turns out, it’s pretty cool. Unlike riding on the road, it’s all inside the fence, so you can’t get hit by a car, unless you have really, really bad luck and get hit by one crossing the entrance road off Route 25. And, you can go as fast as you want, because it’s a relative straight path and has some long, but not steep, hills.

It’s also pretty scenic. You start at the dog park and ballfields area, then you get to ride around the back of the two fighter jets on display at the Grumman Memorial Park and then you go all the way around the Calverton Industries sand mine, which is a lot bigger than it appears from the road. Eventually the path disappears into woods and the paved part of the trail stops. That’s where I turned around and went back. My tally? EPCAL bike path: 1, Brooklyn Bridge bike path: 0.

The Town Board has applied for a grant to finish the EPCAL path so it goes completely around the EPCAL site, but that was a split vote, with three in support and two against. It remains to be seen if the town will get the grant or otherwise finish paving the path.

In the meantime, my bike and I drove to some other places, like the Country Fair, where I parked at Town Hall and rode to the fair, since it was tough finding parking.

That’s technically using the bike to avoid exercise rather than to get exercise, but it’s a start. I now figure I should be in the Tour de France in a year or so.

Tim Gannon is a longtime reporter for the Riverhead News-Review.

He can be reached at (631) 293-3200, ext. 242, or tgannon@timesreview.com.

10/02/13 2:00pm
10/02/2013 2:00 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The new bike path along River Road in Calverton.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The new bike path along River Road in Calverton.

From the time Riverhead Town was awarded a $3.15 million grant for a biking and jogging path stretching from Calverton and Northville, it took almost four years to get the project started.

But it took only six months to actually build the path. (Click on the map below.)

The state Department of Transportation finished the job this summer, according to DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters. Construction began in March of this year and, Ms. Peters said this week, was completed by Aug. 1.

The town received $3.15 million in federal stimulus funds in July 2009 for the alternative transportation path, which runs from Pier Avenue in Northville to Wading River-Manor Road in Calverton, while connecting with existing state and county bike routes.

After winning the award, the town spent about three years designing and engineering the project, according to Supervisor Sean Walter, who said all of those costs were covered by the grant.

“In September 2012, the state Department of Transportation offered to do the job, so we turned the remaining grant money over to them,” Mr. Walter said.

At that time, the town had been planning to seek bids on the project.

“I think the project is great,” said Nick Attisano, owner of Twin Forks Bicycles in downtown Riverhead. “Anything they can do to make it safer for cyclists and families to ride on the road is an improvement.”

Mr. Attisano said he thinks the path needs to be better publicized so that more people will use it.

The town’s alternative transpiration committee recently published a brochure showing the various bike paths in Riverhead.

tgannon@timesreview.com

46 Transporatation Map 2-9-19-2011

05/16/13 3:30pm
05/16/2013 3:30 PM

liveblog

A plan by Urban Zip Lines for a 70-foot high, 817-foot long zip line along the Peconic River in downtown Riverhead would only be possible by late summer at the earliest, Riverhead Town officials said at Thursday’s Town Board work session.

The project would have to be subjected to a public hearing before it can be approved.

John Finnegan, the Westchester man who is proposing the venture, said after the meeting that he still intends to try and get the zip line up this year, but he’s not optimistic, following Thursday’s discussion. He said 2014 is more likely.

Mr. Finnegan said he doesn’t want to put the facility at another location, and feels downtown is the best spot for it, and he thinks it will help bring visitors downtown.

The project was met with opposition Thursday from Summerwind Square owner Ray Dickhoff, Dark Horse Restaurant owner Dee Muma, and downtown resident Anthony Coates. Vic Prusinowski of Cody’s BBQ said he has an open mind on the issue.

To read the recap of our live blog of the work session, click below:

 

May_16,_2013_-_Agenda by rnews_review

05/09/13 5:00pm
05/09/2013 5:00 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Contractors for the Department of Transportation caused about $10,000 in damage to this irrigation system in Calverton, the development manager said.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Contractors for the Department of Transportation caused thousands of dollars in damage to this irrigation system in Calverton, the development manager said.

John Peck is glad the state Department of Transportation is installing a bike path along the Calverton mobile home park he manages.

“I think it’s fantastic,” he said.

But the $8,000 to $10,000 worth of damage state contractors caused to Lakewood’s irrigation system has him upset, he said.

“I do not respect the fact that they didn’t get a hold of me and let me know that we needed to move the system and get it shut off,” Mr. Peck said. “It’s very unfair what they’ve done.”

Town officials say residents in Jamesport have also complained about state crews pulling up irrigation lines and trimming trees since work on the $3.2 million bike path stretching from Calverton to Northville began in March.

Eileen Peters, a representative for the state Department of Transportation, told a reporter Thursday she had not heard any reports of damage along River Road near the Lakewood development.

“Generally speaking, you’re not allowed to encroach on state property,” she said.

But, she added, River Road is not a state road.

“We really need to examine this situation,” she said, adding the department would be look into the matter.

The bike path is being constructed through a grant by the state DOT as part of a federal stimulus bill.

Meanwhile, the Lakewood development’s attorney is preparing to bring legal action against the DOT to pay for repairs to the irrigation system’s plumbing, which was damaged during path construction about three weeks ago, Mr. Peck said.

State crews removed several feet of the park’s lawn and replaced it with concrete, Mr. Peck said, adding the crews ripped up the 1-1/2-inch rubber pipe along the road, which fed the entire complex. It could not immediately be determined if the plumbing was in a government right-of-way.

“They actually did it from one end of the park to the other,” he said,

The irrigation system is now broken and must be replaced. In the meantime, employees for the development are having to use hoses to water the landscaping, he said.

“Now everything’s dying on me and I’m upset about it,” Mr. Peck said.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said complaints have been coming to the town since work began in March, and he believes the DOT should pay to repair the irrigation systems at Lakewood.

“The bottom line is you’ve destroyed somebody’s private property, you should repair it,” Mr. Walter said. “It’s incumbent on the DOT to replace that property.”

In the meantime, Mr. Peck said he is frustrated he wasn’t given a warning his lines would be removed. Had he gotten a heads-up, he could have taken the lines away from the roadwork area in under 24 hours, he said.

“This is going to be a headache for us,” Mr. Peck said. “Now it’s going to cost us a fortune.”

psquire@timesreview.com

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this report indicated the mobile home park’s irrigation  system was in the state’s right-of-way.

That has yet to be determined.

05/02/13 9:25am
05/02/2013 9:25 AM

liveblog

The Riverhead Town Board on Thursday unanimously approved the Survival Race 10K planned for this Saturday, and the Zombie Race scheduled for Sunday, both at the Dorothy P. Flint 4-H Camp in Baiting Hollow.

Board members also separately approved an agreement with the race promotors to provide two uniformed town police officers for traffic control at the events from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. The town will be reimbursed $3,745 for the police service.

The approval for the events went right down to the wire, as town officials had said the applications should have been submitted much earlier. The Survival Race was held at the 4H Camp last fall, and another is already scheduled for this fall. The Zombie Race, in which runners must avoid actors dressed as zombies, is new to Riverhead, but has been done elsewhere.

The Town Board also informally agreed to name a stretch of road  that runs along the Peconic River from Peconic Avenue to McDermott Avenue after Heidi Behr, a Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps member who died in a May 2005 ambulance crash in Aquebogue.

Board members and other town officials said last week the road was slated to be named for the late James Bissett, who co-owned downtown’s East End Hyatt and Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center, but Mr. Bissett’s name wasn’t mentioned.

The board also discussed applying for federal COPS grants to pay for 75 percent of the cost of hiring five new police officers. The discussion started out with officials contemplating hiring three new officers with the grant money, but officials eventually decided to try for five new officers.

The News-Review reported live from the meeting.

Click below to read our recap to find out what else happened at Thursday’s Town Board work session.

 

May_2,_2013_-_Agenda by rnews_review

10/20/11 3:15pm
10/20/2011 3:15 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | A sign on Route 25 in Calverton indicates that it is part of a bicycle path, but the town wants to establish a clearly marked bike lane that would extend all the way to Jamesport.

A plan for a bike path running from Calverton to Jamesport might cost about $71,000 more than originally anticipated, Riverhead Town officials learned Thursday.

The town received $3.16 million in federal stimulus money in 2009 for the creation of the path, which could be used for bicycles and pedestrians. It also can be used for sidewalk creation, as well as for widening and resurfacing roadways to allow for bike paths and sidewalks, officials said.

But Vincent Corrado from Westhampton Beach-based Dunn Engineering, the firm designing the project, said the State Department of Transportation would require an environmental analysis to determine what permits are needed to move forward with the plan. That review would cost an estimated $71,150.

“We didn’t anticipate the level of analysis required,” Mr. Dunn said at the Town Board work session Thursday.

Mr. Dunn said that figure could be covered by the grant, though the town would have to investigate that matter.

“The Town of Riverhead is not in a position to throw in another $100,000,” Supervisor Sean Walter said during the work session. “So I need to know that this gets reimbursed.”

The path has been in the design stages for the past two years, but the town must now submit a plan for the path to the state Department of Transportation by the end of this month, officials said.

Town engineer Ken Testa said though the town must submit the plans by the end of October, it still can make changes afterward.

vchinese@timesreview.com

09/30/11 6:00am
09/30/2011 6:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | A sign on Route 25 in Calverton indicates that it is part of a bicycle path, but the town wants to establish a clearly marked bike lane that would extend all the way to Jamesport.

A bike path running from EPCAL all the way to Jamesport is set to move forward, as Riverhead Town prepares to submit its plans to the state.

The town received $3.16 million in federal stimulus money in 2009 for the creation of the path, which could be used for bicycles and pedestrians. It also can be used for sidewalk creation, as well as for widening and resurfacing roadways to allow for bike paths and sidewalks, officials said.

The path has been in the design stages for the past two years, but the town must now submit a plan for the path to the state Department of Transportation by the end of October, officials said.

Town engineer Ken Testa said the original plan the town had was for the path to begin at Grumman Boulevard and head west to Edwards Avenue in Calverton. However, there were concerns about putting it there because there are wetlands and a cemetery in the area, so the start of the path was moved to Route 25, by the new ball fields at EPCAL.

From there, it is now proposed to go east on Route 25, south on Edwards Avenue to West Main Street, then up Mill Road, over to Pulaski Street, where it would connect with existing state bike paths on Elton Street and Hubbard Avenue. From there, a new town bike path would link with that path and continue down Peconic Bay Boulevard,
and would then link either with existing state paths on Route 25, or new proposed bike paths on Manor Lane and Herricks Lane in Jamesport, culminating at Pier Avenue, which leads to the Iron Pier beach.

“What we were trying to do was tie in sites and destinations,” Mr. Testa told the Town Board at its work session Thursday.

“This would pass Martha Clara, Jamesport Manor Inn, the Hawkins Inn, Iron Pier Beach … there’s a lot of destinations for people to get to by bicycle,” Mr. Testa said.

The bike path also aims to reduce vehicle traffic and cut down on carbon dioxide pollution, he said. The state is hoping the path will be extended east across the North Fork.

“Some of these roads need to be widened,” Councilman John Dunleavy said. “I’m looking at Pier Avenue. Walkers are afraid to walk on that road, never mind bike riders.”

The project does involve widening some roads, while others that are sufficiently wide just involve striping and signage to indicate the bike path, Mr. Testa said.

The state Department of Transportation also did archaeological studies along Manor Lane, Pier Avenue, Herricks Lane and Peconic Bay Boulevard, and the town is awaiting the results of those studies, Mr. Testa said.

Manor Lane and Herricks Lane are areas that may have archaeological concerns, he said. In recent years, members of the Shinnecock Nation have said there were Native American burial grounds along Manor Lane.

The archaeological studies were only needed in areas where the town is proposing sidewalks or road widening, he said.

Town Board members say they’re not certain sidewalks will fit in on some of the roads where they are being proposed by the engineering department.

“I don’t know that Manor or Herricks Lane are really conducive to sidewalks,” Supervisor Sean Walter said, suggesting it could change the character of those areas.

Councilman George Gabrielsen said those streets also have farms, and the tractors would tear up the sidewalks.

Mr. Walter also questioned if residents would oppose sidewalks on Peconic Bay Boulevard. Mr. Testa said the proposal only calls for putting sidewalks on Peconic Bay Boulevard in the area between South Jamesport Avenue and the town’s South Jamesport Beach.

Mr. Testa said the town can submit the plans by the end of October and still make changes afterward. He suggested the town hold a public information meeting on the plan, an idea board members liked, although no meeting has been formally scheduled.

tgannon@timesreview.com