On September 22, 2017, Car Free Day, Legislator Bridget Fleming took a tour of two of the Suffolk County Transit buses servicing the South Fork of Long Island. The tour began at the S92 bus stop across from the Lobster Inn in Southampton, included a transfer at the East Hampton Rail Road station to the 10B bus on Newtown Lane, and ended at the Bridgehampton Commons shopping center.
Providing a public transportation system that adequately serves the public is a priority for Legislator Fleming. In response to the cuts made to the system in October 2016, Fleming introduced a resolution to establish a Transportation Working Group with the goal of creating a more robust system given the resources Suffolk County currently has, and to identify additional funding to improve the system. Fleming has also taken two trips to Albany to lobby New York State legislators for additional funding. Legislator Fleming organized the tour on Car Free Day to learn about the issues first hand.
“Adequate public transportation is critical to a better economy, healthier environment, and helps reduce the amount of traffic on our roads” said Legislator Fleming. “I have heard from many constituents about the problems with county buses, it was very helpful to see how the system works firsthand. We have a lot of work to do to make the system safe and effective for current riders, as well as attractive to potential riders.”
Making bus stops safe for riders to wait at in all conditions is one of the challenges Suffolk County faces; many stops do not have bus shelters, sidewalks, or platforms to wait on. The bus stops on County Road 39 are particularly hazardous after the road was widened from one lane to two in 2007. To address this issue, Fleming advocated successfully for $350,000 in funding to conduct a traffic safety study on CR 39 from the Lobster Inn through Shrubland Road. This first step in improving safety conditions on CR 39 is currently in the beginning stages of the RFP process.
Separate from Legislator Fleming’s traffic study, the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning has hired a consultant (Arup) to study the public transit system and create a plan moving forward. Fleming’s Transportation Working Group has had a great deal of oversight of this study; input from both the committee and public speakers have resulted in a change in scope of the study to better suit the needs of the public. The consultant will be giving a workshop at the next meeting of the Transportation Working Group in November to discuss the status of the study and hear feedback.