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New York Avenue pedestrian pathway discussed

It’s not a done deal, but the Town Board is working with the Heights Property Owners Corporation (HPOC) to provide a pedestrian walkway along New York Avenue.

At a meeting last month, HPOC General Manager Stella Lagudis, Police Chief Jim Read, Town Engineer Joe Finora, Public Works Commissioner Brian Sherman, HPOC Property Owners Manager Lori Beard Raymond, Deputy Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams and Councilman Jim Colligan laid some groundwork for the project.

It won’t be an “overly engineered” pathway, according to Ms. Lagudis, who said residents along the roadway don’t have to be concerned about a path that would bring more noise or crowds.

Ms. Lagudis is thinking about a permeable path that would not be more than 5-feet wide running from the stop signs at the corner of West Neck Road and New York Avenue and end at Oxford Place, allowing people to access sidewalks in the Heights.

Chief Read said he supports the concept, but wants to ensure it’s “a safe distance” from the New York Avenue roadway. That’s necessary to meet a New York State requirement that pedestrians walk against traffic, the chief said.

As for the costs involved, some members of the Shelter Island Lions Club said they thought the organization might be willing to contribute some money, but would have to raise that possibility with its Board of Directors.

Ms. Lagudis said if the HPOC Board and neighbors along New York Avenue agree to the proposal, HPOC might have funds to contribute to the development.

There was a time back in 2020 when the Town Board had considered a wider, more permanent, and Americans with Disabilities-compliant pathway that could accommodate bicycles as well as pedestrians. That plan was abandoned when the Town Board regarded it as having a low priority.

The current proposal is better suited than the 2020 plan to avoid disturbances to residents along New York Avenue, while providing a safer way for pedestrians to reach the Heights.

There are details to be worked out between the town and HPOC, Councilman Colligan said. They include minimum signage; materials; and whether there would need to be any enforcement to ensure pedestrians used the pathway and not the roadway.

Public Works Commissioner Brian Sherman said he has plenty of fill that could be used at the southern end of the pathway. He noted he would like to see the project get underway so it could be completed prior to Memorial Day. Mr. Sherman and Town Engineer Joe Finora would be involved in determining issues related to wetlands considerations and permits that could be required.