Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway
A greenway trail is a corridor of protected open space established for recreation and conservation. Greenways provide safe, natural environments for walking, hiking and biking and non-motorized transportation. In some communities, they are used as alternative paths for commuting to school, work, parks and other neighborhoods.
During the 1960s, the New York State Department of Transportation acquired a 3.3-mile stretch of land from the Setauket Post Office/Renaissance Technology site to Hallock Road near the Blockbuster store in Port Jefferson Station. In response, local residents formed a task force to propose and plan an environmentally and community friendly greenway trail. The mission of the community-based Greenway Trail Task Force was to plan the trail and then reach out to the rest of the community for suggestions and comments. NYS Assemblyman Steve Englebright obtained $2.1 million for its design and construction. Then, in 2005, U. S. Congressman Tim Bishop secured $5 million in federal transportation funds for construction.
Now, after years of planning and community outreach, Phase I construction of the Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail is scheduled to begin in the late summer or early fall 2007 for completion by fall 2008. While the Greenway was designed as a whole, Phase I will start just south of the LIRR overpass on Gnarled Hollow Road and end in the Suffolk County parkland (Sand Pits) with a turn-around just east of Possum Lane.
Friends of the Greenway
The last goal of the Greenway Trail Task Force was to establish a Friends of the Greenway program to work on the long term and ongoing tasks needed for maintaining, protecting, and preserving the Greenway. The Three Village Community Trust has accepted responsibility for this program and has formed an important new group to put a strong “Friends” stewardship program in place. This will help ensure the success of the Greenway from the very beginning.
Many of the nearly 60 community volunteers that were involved in the planning process are continuing their involvement as Friends of the Greenway. We hope these numbers will grow.
Some of the first tasks of the Friends of the Greenway are:
• Establishing the perimeters of the stewardship management plan and program
Plan the Ground-breaking Ceremony and other activities such as walks, clean-ups, and landscaping work parties.
• Develop the partnerships with the New York State Department of Transportation and other public entities and jurisdictions that should be included
•Recruit “neighborhood watch” partners and community members to participate in the program
• Identify funding opportunities and the resources needed for the program
• Develop educational and promotional materials
• Identify and carry out other activities as needed to prepare and initiate the management plan.
The Three Village Community Trust, as sponsor, will provide the structure and administrative support necessary to ensure continuity for the Friends of the Greenway program.
The first meeting of the Friends of the Greenway organizing committee was held on May 3, 2007.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What exactly are Greenway Trails?
A Greenway Trail is a corridor of protected open space constructed for conservation and recreational purposes. Greenways are sometimes called greenbelts and provide a safe, natural environment for a variety of activities, such as walking, hiking, and biking. In some communities, greenways are used as alternative paths for commuting to school, work or just getting around.
Who can use the Setauket-to-Port Jefferson Greenway?
The Greenway is open to hikers, joggers, bikers, roller bladers and walkers. Motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Who are the Friends of the Greenway?
The Friends of the Greenway (FoGW or Friends) was formed several years ago under the auspices of the Three Village Community Trust. Open to all, the Friends of the Greenway is a volunteer organization working to maintain, protect, and enhance the trail. Currently, members include representatives of service groups, bike clubs, civic organizations, government officials, neighbors, and area residents. Everyone is encouraged to join the Friends.
What are the rules of the Greenway?
Greenway Rules and Etiquette Please walk, jog, ride, or roller blade on the right. Give an audible signal, such as “Passing on the left,” when passing other users. Be alert to all intersections. Come to a complete halt at all intersections and always obey the signs. Use caution when crossing roadways. The trail is open during daylight hours only. Trail use is not permitted at night. Stay on the trail. Private property is on both sides of the trail. Young bicyclists must wear protective helmets. The use of protective gear is encouraged for all riders. Cyclists must obey all traffic laws. Move in a predictable, normal manner on the trail. Be aware of other trail users. Pets must be kept on a leash. Pick up after your pet. Pack in/Pack out. Do not litter. No horses allowed. No motorized vehicles are allowed. (Except for handicapped individuals with motorized wheelchairs.)
What makes the Setauket-to-Port-Jefferson-Station Greenway unique?
Visitors to the trail can enjoy the beauty of old growth forest, woodlands dominated by rhododendrons, meadows, reclaimed industrial area, county parklands, residential neighborhoods, and an old farm road. The trail has an enhanced system of safety crossings to warn trail users of traffic intersections, and alert drivers of vehicles to crosswalks. The trail is the first of its kind on the North Shore, and will serve as a model for alternative transportation systems as opposed to new road construction. The trail demonstrates the tremendous cooperation between Town, State and Federal funding in designing and construction a community project. The trail is an example of governmental officials and the NYS Department of Transportation redesigning our infrastructure for non-motorized, non-polluting, and environmentally friendly methods of transportation. The “build out” process for this project was done in an environmentally sensitive manner with a minimal impact on the natural vegetation and animal life. Although the trail is opening today, it already has an active and ongoing stewardship program through the Friends of the Greenway program of the Three Village Community Trust. When will the next portion of the trail be completed? The plans and design for the remaining sections of the path are already finished. Work will begin on the remaining two sections upon completion of federal applications and permits using the federal funds secured by U.S. Congressman Tim Bishop.
Are there other bike trails in the area?
There are about six miles of bike paths at Stony Brook University. Extensive bike paths, managed by Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists (CLIMB), have recently opened on Town and County owned land on Belle Meade Road in East Setauket. Trustees Road at West Meadow Beach is a popular destination for bicyclists. And, a thirteen mile Rails-to- Trails project is underway that will connect the Setauket-to-Port Jefferson Station Greenway to the community of Wading River. It’s not a surprise people are calling the Three Villages Long Island’s Bicycling Capital!