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Sustainable development planning fo the east end

July 29, 2005 @ 12:00 am EDT


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Members and friends,
Today’s speaker was New York Metropolitan Council Director, Gerry Bogacz, and the topic was “Sustainable East End Development”.

Mr. Bogacz began by explaining how old communities in the Bronx were formed around the new subway lines many years ago. He pointed out how that kind of development caused developers to base their building plans according to the proximity of the transportation system that was in place. We on the other hand, based our expansion into new development on the capabilities of the automobile. The enhanced mobility of the automobile has spread us out so much, that establishing better transportation systems are extremely difficult to execute. Land use now dictates transportation planning, which is just the opposite of the old model.

The Council has taken great pains to develop plans by involving the numerous communities in the “visioning process.” As a result of this extensive effort, the resistance to make changes is still there, but less hostile than most of these endeavors can be.

There are many aspects of the East end suggestions. Among them are the combined rail and street vehicle possibilities on the right of way of the existing Long Island Railroad. This is a creative design that was originally proposed by planner Dr. Koppleman many years ago, and further developed by LIMBA board member Dr. Clifford Bragdon more recently.

There are proposals for inter-hamlet transportation links served by light rails or buses, and an extensive systems of water taxis on Peconic Bay. These water taxis would be used during the late spring, summer, and fall, and would be used mostly by the tourists. Tourism is a big part of the east end economy and would benefited by such a system.

The essential elements of any new planning is to not disrupt the unique qualities of the east end. Not an easy task. On the other hand the present difficult transportation problems are recognized by everyone.

The enthusiastic and curious audience began asking questions before the formal remarks were finished, and we continued in a conversational exchange that could have gone on a long time, but with a little discipline we were able to finish almost on time. Gerry stayed around for about 30 minutes more to answer many more questions on an individual basis.

Many thanks to Gerry Bogacz for an interesting and well presented discussion.

Next week our speaker will be Brian Foley. Mr. Foley is a member of the Suffolk Legislator and is a candidate for the Brookhaven Town Supervisor. More on that next week, meanwhile have a nice weekend.

Ernie Fazio