Residents of the Three Village area in Brookhaven say less traffic, creating bike paths along Route 25A and thoughtful planning for development is the best way to make their communities safer and more attractive.
A recently completed “visioning report” for the congested Route 25A corridor looks toward a future with much less emphasis on vehicles and more focus on pedestrians.
Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright commissioned the report in 2015 as a way to come up with a plan based on community interest in ways to make the hamlets better places to live.
Setauket, Stony Brook and Old Field, on Long Island Sound, known collectively as the Three Villages, have a combined population of more than 29,000 people, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
Residents reported in the study that improved safety, including better roadway crossings, the addition of bike paths and streetscapes, and thoughtful development would give the area an identity beyond the busy road bordered by several strip malls.
Others worried more development would have the opposite effect by bringing more traffic.
George Hoffman, a Setauket resident appointed co-chair of the citizen advisory committee along with Jane Taylor, also of Setauket, said the report doesn’t call for major changes to the Three Village area.
“The big issue was always safety. We have increasing congestion and it’s very hard for pedestrians and bicyclists to share the road,” Hoffman said. “We want the addition of sidewalks in appropriate areas and improvements to slow traffic.”
Six workshops on the visioning plan have been held over two years, with attendance ranging from 80 to 125 people who provided input for the report. Additionally, the 24-member committee, representing 14 organizations including library and fire districts, also met about a dozen times before the report was completed.
The report concluded bike lanes, off-road walkways and pavement markings should be created along with pathways connecting to Stony Brook University, LIRR’s Stony Brook station, the existing 3.5-mile greenway walking trail, the waterfront and other key destinations.
The report noted that some residents oppose allowing residential housing along 25A, but the majority supported mixed-use, residential housing over first-floor commercial spaces, and commercial-only development.
Life around Route 25A could also be improved by the adding community gathering places and open space facilities such as parks, the report states.
“I’m satisfied with it. We need to create a vision for the future,” Cartright said. “This is basically the community’s vision. The report is the product of the community.”
The 73-page report also recommends that Brookhaven help manage the area’s future development and preservation efforts so that it maintains its suburban and semirural character.
“Now that the visioning report has been completed, we can use it as a reference tool to help achieve the goals and objectives of the Three Village community,” Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said in a statement. Brookhaven Town Board members are to consider the report’s conclusions at their regular Thursday meeting. If accepted, the report could become part of a land use plan for the area.