Website Will Allow Users to Offer Valuable Input on Future Trails and Improvements
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced the launch of a new website, hikebikesuffolk.com, for the public to provide input on the County’s Hike and Bike Master Plan. The web tool is an online map that allows users to make specific comments or recommend routes or improvements to Suffolk County’s network of hiking and biking trails. Comments and recommendations will be used to create the County’s Hike and Bike Master Plan.
“As we push forward to build a hike-bike network across the County, it is critical to solicit feedback from local stakeholders and residents that stand to benefit,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “The result will be a modernized, state-of-the-art network of trails that provides alternatives to the automobile and more recreational amenities.”
The online tool is an interactive crowdsourcing map specially designed to gather input and data from the people who know our bike lanes and trails the best – the hikers, runners, long-distance cyclists, casual bike-riders, parents, nature enthusiasts and everyday residents who use these resources year-round. Using this new public input tool, residents can ‘drop a pin’ to comment on a specific location, or ‘draw a path’ to connect two points they would like to see better connected.
Using funding from New York Metropolitan Transportation Council obtained by Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development & Planning, the Hike and Bike Master Plan will identify the existing regional hike-bike network, identify gaps in that network, and develop an implementation plan to prioritize and fill those gaps. This plan will provide Suffolk County with a comprehensive and coordinated vision for a connected network of hiking and biking trails County-wide, facilitating transportation, recreation, tourism, and economic development.
The goal is to create a trail that promotes local tourism throughout Suffolk County and connects residents and visitors alike to our beaches, parks, education centers, downtowns and more. Multi-use trails promote healthy lifestyles, improve recreation options, and support the island’s tourist economy.
The creation of the master plan includes strong community engagement by incorporating broad public input and targeted stakeholder outreach. A completed master plan and suite of recommendations are expected by the end of 2019. The County will be collecting input on the plan through May 19.
This project complements recent efforts to extend the Empire State Trail, a 750-mile trail from New York City to the Canadian border, through and across Long Island via the Empire State Trail Extension. Suffolk County’s local hike-bike master plan will extend the reach of the Empire State Trail throughout Suffolk County.
Additionally, the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development will be on hand at a number of events this month and next, to discuss the hike and bike plan. These events include Earthstock at Stony Brook University on April 19th, Seatuck’s Eco-Carnival at The Seatuck Environmental Association in Islip on April 27 and the Huntington Tulip Festival at Heckscher Park on May 5.