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Jul 19, 2019 10:27 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Looks To Bring Bike Share Program To Hampton Bays

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, in the blue shirt, strappede his helmet on before a bike ride with local officials, including Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, when a bike share program shared between the town and county was announced in 2017. CHRIS PERAINO
Jul 23, 2019 1:38 PM

Southampton Town is partnering with Suffolk County to provide a bike share program to residents and visitors in Hampton Bays, part of a larger effort to promote alternative transportation options in the area.

Bike share programs are popping up in various local municipalities, including Southampton Village and, more recently, the Village of Westhampton Beach, which approved a program last week.

The town’s program, operated by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Zagster, would place bikes in racks at five different locations throughout Hampton Bays, including the U.S. Post Office near the Hampton Bays train station, Good Ground Park, Tiana Beach, Ponquogue Beach and Town Trustee-owned Road H, near the Shinnecock Inlet.

Town Environmental Planner Michelangelo Lieberman said the town would need to get permission from the Trustees to place a bike rack on Road H, and that Trustee Ann Welker has expressed interest in working with the town to get it in place.

Zagster’s bike share program works like many others: Riders need to download an application to their phones and set up an account, along with a payment method. Once the account is set up, a rider can check out a bike.

The cost to rent a bike from Zagster will be $1 for every 15 minutes. Mr. Lieberman said a monthly option of $10 is available, as well as an annual membership for $60. Under the monthly and annual memberships, riders would get unlimited 30-minute rides on the bikes.

Kyle Collins, the town’s planning and development administrator, told the board the program could help with providing Long Island Rail Road Commuter Connection riders with another option to get to their destination once they get off the commuter train.

Ideally, once a person rents a bike, they are charged until they dock the bike at another location. Zagster also allows riders to dock their bikes at non-Zagster bike racks for an additional fee of $2.

“Generally, it’s very affordable for a casual rider who might want to do a recreational ride,” Jonathan Keys, a representative from Suffolk County, told the Town Board during a work session on Thursday, July 18.

The program comes at no cost to the town, and insurance costs fall completely to Zagster, so the town would not be held liable if anyone were hurt on one of the bikes.

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman noted that there was a bike shop, called The Local Bike Shop, just around the corner from the train station in Hampton Bays, and said he was concerned that the program could take business away from the shop. He asked whether the bike shop, or any others in the area, were contacted about participating in bike share program.

Tom Neely, the town director of inter-modal transportation, said there was conversation during the process of getting a local company like PedalShare—which provides the bike share program in Southampton Village and plans to operate a similar service in Westhampton Beach—to work with the town. But because Zagster had already partnered with Suffolk County, town officials decided to give the company “first crack” at setting something up.

“The Sustainability Committee had discussions with a couple of local companies,” Town Board member John Bouvier said. “That was definitely something we had considered.”

Mr. Bouvier also said the Sustainability Committee was originally looking for a sponsor with the hope that a local company would do that. But it did not pan out. “This is a pilot—it’s a smaller program, so that we can work some of those things out,” he said.

Mr. Keys said the county was working with the villages of Babylon and Patchogue to get programs in place with Zagster, and riders from there who visit Hampton Bays will be able to use the same application in all three places.

Mr. Lieberman said he is aiming to have the bike share program in place by the end of August, given the amount of time it could take the Trustees to approve the bike rack on Road H. While it is later than he had originally planned, he said it may be for the better.

“As I reflect on this a little more, I would rather like riding a bike in October than I would in August,” he said.

Mr. Schneiderman said if the program succeeds, he would possibly like to see other racks installed throughout the hamlet, in places like Red Creek Park, or the space between it and Good Ground Park, where an aquatic facility is being planned.

The town also received a $750,000 grant from the state to put toward bike trails.

“I would love to have a really marked off bike lane along Ponquogue, in that area where people could go right down all the way to the beach and they feel safe, because they’re in a bike lane,” he said.

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By themarlinspike (542), Northern Hemisphere on Jul 20, 19 11:43 AM
Nice that the Town can’t support a local business and is going to an out of state operator
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Jul 20, 19 4:23 PM
2 members liked this comment
there is a bike shop right by the train station that rents bikes.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jul 20, 19 6:46 PM
Hmmm. Local business “Pedalshare” gets pushed aside by Carpetbagger Schneiderman. Who’d a thunk.

Is this guy that oblivious to what’s happening locally?

By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Jul 21, 19 8:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
Bicycle infrastructure in Southampton Town is non-existent and dangerous. Worst in the entire country. Suggestions to improve it by bicycling advocates go nowhere, mostly due to zero financial support from the highway department.
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Jul 21, 19 8:35 AM
I don't think the highway department is to blame here, but agree that HB would be better served with north/south - east/west sidewalks and bike paths, not the "path to now where" on Riverhead Road. What a waste - who applied for THAT grant. Check the signature of the grant application.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jul 21, 19 12:32 PM
Why are they not using the local bikeshare program? Ridiculous to bring in outsiders!
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Jul 23, 19 1:59 PM