Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman biked through Southampton Village on Monday to highlight the benefits of a proposed county bike-sharing program.
Riding a black bicycle loaned from a local shop and Schneiderman’s personal yellow bike, the officials pedaled about 3 miles from the Southampton Long Island Rail Road Station to Coopers Beach.
Bellone said he wanted to demonstrate how easy getting around by bicycle can be, especially if there are bike shares — like New York City’s Citi Bike initiative — at railroad stations and other popular locations.
“We think this is a win-win situation,” Bellone said. “Importantly, it shows Suffolk County can be a leader in cutting-edge transportation alternatives and technologies that better connect residents to our downtowns and our world-famous destinations and assets.”
County officials issued a “request for interest” last month to look for potential vendors to establish a bike-sharing program and said they expect responses by the end of the week. They will then put the program out to bid.
About half a mile into the ride — taken with Kathleen King, owner of Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton, and Jonathan Keyes, the county director of downtown and transit-oriented development — Bellone and Schneiderman made a pit stop at Tate’s for cookie ice cream sandwiches and iced coffees.
They then headed to Coopers Beach, a spot Bellone said he had never been to before, avoiding stretches of Southampton Village where biking is prohibited.
Bellone said the bike-share system, which could have a pilot program rollout next summer, would promote tourism on the East End while reducing the number of cars on the road.
Schneiderman said he supports the proposal because traffic is “getting worse and worse” and the town has “a very limited infrastructure for cars.”
He said town officials are also trying to ease traffic by implementing a Hampton Bays trolley service in the summer and working with LIRR officials to get a regular eastbound morning train to the Southampton station.