Southampton Town officials have plans to apply for a grant that would partially fund the creation of a bikeway between Red Creek and Good Ground parks and downtown Hampton Bays.
Under the plan, the town would apply to the New York State Department of Transportation for a Transportation Alternatives Program grant, or TAP grant, to undertake a roughly $1.3 million project that would create a bike lane between Red Creek Park, which has bike paths, and Good Ground Park through Old Riverhead Road. The plan also includes the construction of a multi-use path, which could be for walking, running, or biking through Good Ground Park to connect with Montauk Highway, which is commonly referred to as Main Street in Hampton Bays.
As part of the grant terms, the town would have to first fund the cost of the project and then apply to receive a reimbursement for 80 percent, or roughly $1 million, of the project. The total cost of the project after the grant reimbursement would be $250,000.
The town board was expected to vote on the matter on Tuesday, July 24, after The Independent’s deadline, which would allow the town’s Public Safety and Traffic Division to apply for the grant money.
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the bikeway supports the town’s sustainability goals and would provide a heathy form of recreation for residents.
“As long as this is in an area that makes sense and we are getting it at a fraction of the actual cost because of the state grant that we may or may not get, I think that it is an idea worth pursuing,” he said, adding that there is already some infrastructure in place that supports the bikeway.
Schneiderman said connecting the two parks makes sense, particularly if a proposed town aquatic center ends up in Red Creek Park.
In the long term, the town has plans to create a loop to connect the hamlet’s central business district with the Shinnecock Canal, as well as the ocean beaches to the south, and is working with Suffolk County to locate a bike share station at Good Ground Park and create additional bike lanes on the downtown area’s roads.
The town’s director of public transportation and traffic safety, Tom Neely, said it is likely that the grant funding would not be awarded until late spring, which would mean that the town would borrow money to pay for the project until 2020.
Plans for the bike path sprang out of reinvigorated interest in biking, as well as meetings with civic organizations, according to officials. The town’s Transportation and Sustainable Southampton Green committees, as well as biking advocates support the project, officials said.