Sustainable Long Island
August 20, 2010
Sustainable Long Island Newsletter
The one-stop-shop...
For all Sustainable Long Island news!
In This Issue
Federal, Local officials discuss Long Island Revitalization
Turning a Value-Meal Into a Meal-of-Value
Brownfields to Greenfield$
Don't let Brownfields become Beauty Busters
Wyandanch's Pipeline to Progress? SEWERS
Proposed MTA Long Island Bus Cuts
News and Notes
We'll See You There!
Board of Directors
Ruth Negron-Gaines- President
---------------

Kevin McDonald - Vice President

The Nature Conservancy
---------------

Charlotte Biblow, Esq. - Secretary

Farrell Fritz, P.C.
---------------

Lauren Furst - Treasurer

---------------

Russ Albanese

Albanese Organization Inc.

---------------

Robert Bernard

Capital One Bank

---------------

Lennard Axinn

Island Estates

---------------

Peter Bogan

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Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III
SUNY College at Old Westbury

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Dr. Miriam K. Deitsch

State University at Farmingdale

---------------

Michelle DiBenedetto

Long Island Housing Partnership

---------------

Pat Edwards

Citibank

---------------

Donald J. Fiore

IBEW, Local 25

---------------

Richard Grafer

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Amy Hagedorn
Hagedorn Foundation

---------------

David Kapell

---------------

Jeff Kraut

North Shore - LIJ Health System

---------------

George O'Neill

---------------

Mitchell H. Pally

Weber Law Group, LLP

---------------

Dr. Robert A. Scott

Adelphi University

---------------

Ron Shiffman

Pratt Institute

---------------

Robert Wieboldt

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Greetings!

"If it's going to happen, then it's going to happen here first!" - Senator Charles Schumer

SLI

Senator Schumer said it best at his meeting with the EPA, HUD, and DOT on August 9th, discussing Long Island downtown revitalization.
But his quote could be applied to many goings-on right now across our region and who better to learn, participate, support and interact with than Sustainable Long Island! So scroll down for more information on Schumer's meeting, farmers' markets, brownfields, some pressing Long Island issues and initiatives, and much more!
Federal, Local officials come together to discuss Long Island Revitalization


Schumer

On August 9, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer opened a meeting with high-level officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Transportation (DOT), and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), all members of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, to discuss and better understand the needs, obstacles and red tape experienced by localities as they seek to revitalize downtown cores and promote sustainable development. The meeting comes on the heels of Schumer's call this past May that federal agencies assist local communities in navigating the bureaucracy that often bogs down local development plans. In the meeting, the partnership mapped out areas of coordination in downtown housing, environmental, and transportation planning to promote sustainable development methods to revitalize local economies in the area.

Schumer joined with local sustainability advocates on Long Island including Sustainable Long Island and Vision Long Island as well as the Hofstra University Center for Suburban Studies in an effort to promote downtown revitalization and sustainable development throughout the area.

panel

Last June, EPA, DOT, and HUD formed the Partnership for Sustainable Communities to promote the coordination of downtown housing, transportation and environmental investments at the local planning level. Over 20 Long Island town and village officials met directly with federal agency staff to present downtown visions and describe their implementation challenges and needs. This is the first official meeting of the new federal partnership in America's suburbs.

Schumer believes that this initiative has the potential to transform metropolitan areas by bringing back economic competitiveness, increased access to employment opportunities, and the greater availability for transit options.

In May, Schumer and local partners asked for members of the Sustainable Partnership to hold a public meeting and work session with local government officials and planning advocates. Schumer called on this Partnership to plan a visit to Long Island to learn about some of the initiatives in both Nassau and Suffolk counties that embrace ideals like transit-oriented development that will help revitalize and rebuild downtowns and walkable communities.

"Finally, suburban problems are getting noticed," said Sarah Lansdale, Executive Director of Sustainable Long Island. "Long Island's downtown revitalization and transit-oriented development plans need more than just local officials and community planners fighting for them; these plans need federal assistance.  Long Island has the ingredients to become the epitome of what the suburbs should be, but it is much easier said than done. Senator Schumer and The Partnership for Sustainable Communities have taken a tremendous step forward in identifying which communities haven't received a fair share of the limited resources available."

 Pic

"This event connects Long Island's main streets to Washington. The smallest municipalities are connecting to Federal agencies, which has not happened in a coordinated fashion, not just on Long Island but any suburban area in the nation.  The strength of Long Island resides in its many downtowns. This new Federal partnership could provide the resources necessary to assist the revitalization of our downtowns and support needed sewer and transit infrastructure," said Eric Alexander, Executive Director of Vision Long Island.
 
"These are not your mother and father's suburbs," said Lawrence Levy, Executive Director of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University.  "Demographic change, economic dysfunction, environmental degradation and other challenges have transformed the suburbs in ways that demand a new federal approach that helps us solve our problems. Too many people in Washington and elsewhere still believe the myths of suburban wealth and wellness. I hope that what the federal officials learn during their visit will help change attitudes and inspire change in Washington and Long Island. Thank you Senator Schumer for bringing us together."

The Partnership defines sustainability to include economic competitiveness, environmental health and equity, and access to jobs and transit, to help determine which projects are funded. Nassau and Suffolk Counties offer a variety of opportunities to use the Partnership's principles to transform communities and blighted downtown areas with new housing, retail, and public transportation centers.  

The latest Census notes that more than 50% of the US population now lives in the suburbs.  As the oldest suburb, Long Island is a laboratory for what works and doesn't work for these communities. In anticipation of a public meeting, Schumer will solicit the participation of local elected officials, planners, and community advocates regarding sustainability projects that have interest or business before the 3 federal agencies.

pic
Youth-run farmers' markets continue to flourish in underserved communities

The youth-run farmers' markets in North Bellport and Roosevelt have been open for more than a month now and the success has been outstanding! Fruit and vegetables have been flying off the market tables - and on to the kitchen tables of community members who have come out to show their support in huge numbers. Crowds, including new customers and recurring buyers, continue to grow each week!

Everything from eggplant to green peppers to yellow watermelon has been a real hit, with the most popular items such as tomatoes and cantaloupe being sold out each week. The Roosevelt market has been selling out hours before closing time each week (a great problem to have) even though the order from local farms, such as Deer Run Farms and Anderson Farms, has more than tripled since opening week (doubled in North Bellport)! This past weekend alone, more than 1000 pounds of melon and 19 bags of corn were gone by 2pm - with close to $1000 sales in just WIC checks!

FM

The markets have benefited from great locations in communities that need them the most. Visitors such as Legislator Kate Browning and Legislator Vivian Viloria Fisher have come down for a tour, partners such as Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk and The Health and Welfare Council have been on site sharing educational information, and even The Boys & Girls Club Steel Drum Band has made a rocking appearance in North Bellport!

FM

Remember to come down to the markets every Sunday from 11a.m.-4p.m or until the produce sells out!


Greater Bellport Community Youth Farmers' Market

The Corner of Montauk Highway and Michigan Avenue

Every Sunday from 11am-4pm

Start July 11 Close: October 31

Contact: 631-988-1184


 

Roosevelt Community Farmers' Market

380 Nassau Road, Roosevelt NY

Every Sunday from 11am-4pm

Start July 11 Close: October 31

Contact: 516-425-0867 

Long Island Advance: "Greens to go"
North Bellport Farmers' market opens by Linda Leuzzi


LI Advance

A half-hour before their official opening on Sunday, July
11, tables were set up, signs were in place and the last task,
displaying produce in straw baskets with their prices, was
about to begin. Ebony Alston had been up at 6:30 a.m. that
morning and yes, she was excited. "This is going to be fun,"
she said.

Debbie Linbrunner from St. Joseph the Worker Church
was the first customer and by 11:15 a.m. others were lining
up at the Greater Bellport Community Youth Market, picking
out staples like spinach, corn, beets and other healthy
things from the earth. Sustainable Long Island volunteers
moved the cash register questions along and Jie Zhang and
Jingchuan Sun, Habitat for Humanity homeowners, had
also come to lend a hand. But this was the young people's
project-Alston was among the five youths from the Boys
& Girls Club of the Bellport Area, including Kiana Scipp,
Candice Cooke, Joann Chambers and Rasheed Terry, who
will run the market every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
through October 31 at the Michigan Avenue and Montauk
Highway location.

Market manager Khadija Yanni, who lives in North
Bellport, supervised the young people as they honed their
marketing and selling skills, skills that will hopefully help
them become entrepreneurs some day. Yanni hails from
Sierra Leone, West Africa, where her grandmother farmed.
A North Bellport resident since 1991 and a member of the
Greater Bellport Coalition, she received the job opening
alert for a market manager to run the farm stand on the
corner of Michigan Avenue and Montauk Highway and
applied. Yanni trained last week with the five teens, who
along with selling techniques, learned about the healthy
value of vegetables and fruit. The market will accept WIC
checks and the produce comes from four local farms,
including Deer Run Farms in Brookhaven and W & K
Farms in Manorville.

The teens joined Yanni two hours earlier at the site
to set up the produce. Suffolk County United Veterans
drivers pick up the vegetables and fruits from the farmers.
"We have more vegetables than fruit," she said. "It
will depend on the month. We'll carry broccoli, cabbage,
lettuce and squash. We will have strawberries but the
season is ending."

A farmers' market has long been on the wish list
of Bellport's Visioning Plan. "Sustainable Long Island
approached us in February," said John Rogers, chairperson
of the Greater Bellport Coalition. "They had run
across some funding that made the program possible and
we had people go for training. (Councilwoman) Connie
Kepert (4th District) obtained some of the Quality King
money to get the project off the ground. We have five kids
who will be employed, funded by the county's Summer
Jobs for Youth Program."

"We wound up getting a $75,000 community benefit from
Quality King," confirmed Kepert aide John Byrne. "And
$10,000 went to helping establish the farm stand."
Sustainable Long Island Executive Director Sarah Lansdale
said their organization, who helped the community in
their visioning process, asked the Greater Bellport Coalition
if they wanted to partner on the farm stand to show
that their plans were moving forward. "It usually takes
five years to make things happen and we felt this would
provide an opportunity to address the need and the plan
as well," she said. Lansdale said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
(D-NY), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee,
was seeking $100,000 in federal funding to expand the
youth farm stand project, which had been established in
Roosevelt as well.
 
Turning a Value-Meal Into a Meal-of-Value
By Sarah Lansdale - Column in Networking Magazine

In our country almost everyone is different than one another. They have different thoughts, different interests, different goals and overall different lives. However, if we do  all have one thing in common its that we love to eat. Obviously we don't just love it, we need food to survive.  With all the different options available, Americans should have no problem finding exactly what they want to chow down on. 

 

But when you look closer at the issue of Food in our country you realize, that there are over 23.5 million Americans who don't have access to a supermarket within a mile of their home. Specifically on Long Island, there are more fast-food and full-service restaurants per 1000 people than grocery stores.

 

So what happens when you want something healthy and fresh to eat, but it isn't as available to you as those high fat meals and sugar filled snacks?



Networking


That is where the issue of food equity comes into play - the notion that access to fresh, healthy food is not universal and that some communities are at a disadvantage in the food system. Communities with limitations in resources, disposable income, language and transportation often have restricted access to, and knowledge about, a variety of healthy, affordable food options.

 

Without a supermarket nearby or even a fruits and vegetable stand within walking distance, these low-to-moderate income neighborhoods are typically populated with fast food restaurants that fill the community with high fat, high sugar, processed foods. The biggest problem that stems from this is that many communities on Long Island will not be able to enjoy the benefits of a local farmers market and instead will have to settle for those beautifully advertised "value-meals."

 

You see, at a farmers market customers are often in direct contact with producers, so you will know precisely how your vegetables were grown and exactly where your meat is coming from. Access to this fresh, healthy food plays an important role in improving diet and nutrition, things that can often be ruined by a lifestyle filled with cheap alternatives like the local burger joint or the town taco spot.

 

The customers aren't the only ones who enjoy the advantages of a farmers market; the producers do too. A producer's cost drop considerably, with less transportation, packaging, and security regulations. They can personally control the price through the direct sale of their goods or sell beforehand to a market for a set price.

 

The economy also profits as these markets often bring increased employment and potential new residents and customers whom support local business, thus keeping money within the community. And the environment is assisted as well; by reduced automobile travel, cutting out added pollution and fuel use.

 

Sustainable Long Island along with the Long Island Farm Bureau and local community partners, including the Greater Bellport Coalition, Suffolk County United Veterans, Boys and Girls Club of the Bellport Area, Roosevelt Community Revitalization Group, and  NuHealth (Nassau Health Care Corporation), are taking the lead on this issue; conducting research and examining data looking at availability of fresh food in various retail locations, while exploring multiple solutions for bringing more fresh food into currently underserved communities - one is which creating weekly farmers markets that are run in part by Long Island youth; high school students under the supervision of a market manager. The markets will provide jobs to local youth, give community members greater choice of fresh produce and healthy food options, promote nutrition and education, contribute to a sense of place, and boost the local and regional economy. 

 

Every Long Islander should have the chance to choose some fruits over some fries, some grapes over some grease, and some carrots over some calories. Every Long Islander should have the opportunity to turn a value-meal into a meal-of-value.



Farmers Market


Letters to the Press:


Newsday:

Toward healthier bodies, communities

I couldn't agree more with a recent letter "Healthier food makes the best 'value' meal' " . Buying locally grown food across our region should be our first choice before checking out drive-through menus.

This also sheds light on the growing problem of food equity - the notion that access to fresh, healthy food is not universal and some communities are at a disadvantage. Offering fresh produce to neighborhoods across Long Island is the first step in combating this problem.

Sarah Lansdale, Bethpage

Editor's note: The writer is executive director of Sustainable Long Island.


Our letter was in response to a previous entry the week before:

Healthier food makes the best 'value' meal

With the news that Sonic, Smashburger and Pudgie's will be opening new restaurants, I am highly concerned about Long Island's future .

With America's surging obesity and diabetes rates, do we really need more fast- food joints on Long Island? Furthermore, with the latest United Nation reports linking meat production and climate change, there is all the more reason to move away from quick meal solutions that are heavily reliant on cheap animal products.

It's time to embrace healthy, local and sustainable food options. Long Island's new establishments should feature organic, local and wholesome meals to solve the problems our country faces.

Andrew Greco, Smithtown

Editor's note: The writer is vice president of Stony Brook University's Environmental Club.


Letter

Check out this one from the Long Island Press:

Pass The Drive-Thru By

Dear Editor,

When I read "10 Worst Things To Get At A Long Island Drive-Thru" [July 29], I couldn't help but think about all of the unknown ingredients that are doing damage to Long Islanders' bodies and their communities. If Long Islanders had more healthy options, such as a local farmers market, it would be much easier to turn that value meal into meal-of-value. With that said, I put together my own Top 10 list-one that is on the other side of the spectrum when it comes to triple burgers and double chicken sandwiches.

The Top 10 reasons you should shop at a Long Island farmers market:

1. Healthy Choices
2. Fresh Tasting Food
3. Affordable Prices
4. Organically Grown
5. Variety of Options
6. Fruit and Veggies > Bacon and Salt
7. Educational information on the who, what, where and when of your food
8. Support Your Community
9. Support Long Island Farms
10. Support Long Island!

Sarah Lansdale
Executive Director, Sustainable Long Island


Brownfields to Greenfield$
Updated Version To Be Released This Fall

BrownfieldSustainable Long Island is currently working on updating the Brownfields to Greenfields manual to be released later this month. The programs and initiatives involved with cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields are constantly evolving. The purpose of this manual is to provide an understanding of the brownfield redevelopment process and the opportunities available in New York.It is designed to provide information for local government officials seeking to facilitate brownfield redevelopment in their communities, citizens hoping to understand how the process affects them, developers and investors seeking to participate in this growing marketplace, groups that wish to facilitate the redevelopment process, and end-users of redeveloped property.The ultimate goal is to facilitate full stakeholder participation in the brownfield process.

This manual provides information on: New York State, federal, and private funding and financial incentives; technical assistance and liability protection available for the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites in New York State; and an overview of the various brownfield programs administered by the New York State Department of State (NYSDOS).





 
Don't let Brownfields become Beauty Busters
By Sarah Lansdale - Column in  Anton Community Newspapers

Brownfield

Growing up on Long Island, residents often feel a sense of pride in what their region is known for. Long Island is known for many things including its attractive scenery, gorgeous beaches, and historic locations. From notable museums to popular vineyards to beautiful forests and meadows, Long Island has always been the place to see.

However, Long Island's celebrated landscape has been constantly threatened by an ugly problem known as brownfields. We often hear public figures, elected officials, and numerous organizations preach about brownfields and how they need to be removed and redeveloped from our area. Even with all this attention paid toward the issue many still wonder, what exactly is a brownfield? The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a brownfield as "real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which, may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant".

The overlying thought is that brownfields are limited to abandoned industrial sites, but the truth is, many are typical commercial properties that an average Long Island passes by every day.

That abandoned dry cleaner up the block? Brownfield.

That vacant gas station on the corner? Brownfield.

That empty warehouse downtown? Brownfield.

Former service stations, marinas, railroad tracks, even schools? Yep you guessed it, Brownfield.

Brownfield

We can all see these blighted properties, but don't realize that the ground contamination that is often left behind by theses once standing businesses is cause for great concern to our personal and environmental health.

So how did a once prosperous business turn into a toxic eye sore? Owners, who move their business and leave specific sites, often realize that sometimes the cost to clean up what they've left behind surpasses the value of the property itself. They may feel fine with leaving their properties in their current condition and in some cases, the level of contamination might be so small, the owners cannot justify a reason to take any kind of action.

However, the need for redevelopment of these areas is vital. The potential benefits include revitalizing communities, increasing property values and reducing environmental concerns. Every acre of brownfields cleanup saves our open spaces and breathes new life into Long Island. Redevelopment could create thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in tax revenue and billions of dollars in business revenue region-wide. Recently federal, state and local governments have provided new motivation for brownfields redevelopment. They entice communities and property owners with offers of tax incentives, grants and low interest loans, and liability protection.

As you can see, brownfields redevelopment is a serious issue on Long Island today. These properties pollute, dirty and ruin many aspects of everyday life including our air, our land and our water. So don't let brownfields take over and destroy Long Island's image; instead let's keep it the way it should be - as the place to see and the place to be.

Wyandanch's Pipeline to Progress? SEWERS

A Babylon town hearing on a proposed sewer line for Wyandanch drew nearly a dozen speakers last week - August 13, almost all of whom spoke in favor of the project.

Proponents commended the town and said the sewer line - part of the town's massive downtown Wyandanch revitalization project - would help bring development and jobs to the downtown, as well as protect groundwater.

Sewer


Here is an inside look at the comments
Sustainable Long Island submitted at the meeting:

I want to thank Supervisor Steve Bellone and the Town Council for this opportunity to comment on the Wyandanch Rising project this morning. Sustainable Long Island is a regional organization that has worked with the Town of Babylon the Wyandanch Rising project for many years. We facilitated the initial planning process and wrote the initial Wyandanch Rising Plan.

I commend the Town, under the Supervisor's leadership for all of your efforts in attracting necessary resources to implement Wyandanch Rising. What is needed to move forward are sewers, plain and simple. The sewer line is the one missing infrastructure piece to fully implement the redevelopment plan.

Waste water management is a critical need in preparing for Long Island's future.  Years ago, the Town of Babylon engaged the hundreds of Wyandanch community members to re-think, rebuild and renew Straight Path - what was apparent back then, as it is now, is that sewers are the critical element of the plan to move forward. The high water table in Wyandanch makes it extremely difficult to effectively develop with septic systems and the small irregular-shaped parcels along with the high water table make it difficult to accommodate on-site waste water treatment systems.

Investing in sewers makes economic sense. In fact, a study cited by the 2008 US Conference of Mayors, Mayors Water Council, ([1]) indicates that for every dollar of water and sewer infrastructure investment,long-term private GDP output increases by $6.35, over a 9% return on investment.([2]) Additionally, every job in sewers and water creates 3.85 jobs in the national economy. ([3]) Making the $15 million investment in Wyandanch has tremendous economic benefits for the community. Local businesses will be able to employ localresidents, create revenue for the local economy and boost tax revenue.

With land becoming increasingly scarce, increasing density in communities will be critical in maintaining the affordability and range of housing options on Long Island. Sewers will not only improve housing affordability but businesses see the expansion of sewers critical in expansion and creation of new jobs. Sewers are a critical part of the Wyandanch Rising effort, making Straight Path development ready to attract retail, office, and housing development.

From a regional perspective, Wyandanch is not alone in its need for sewers. According to the National Environmental Services Center, Long Island - Nassau and Suffolk - has considerably fewer sewers than its neighboring regions. Fifty-nine percent of the total Long Island households utilize sewers, which is considerably lower than neighboring regions New York City 99% and Westchester/Rockland Counties 88%. Seventy percent of Suffolk County households use a septic system.

Environmentally, the lack of waste water treatment negatively impacts our sole source aquiferand allows for harmful materials that are poured down drains intoseptic systems to leach into the aquifer. In order to protect LI aquifers, advanced waste water treatment is required in sensitive watersheds and critical hydrologic zones to obtain pollution concentration slower than achievable with basic secondary treatment. In addition, several STPs discharge into our estuaries.  STPs on the south shore discharge into the South Shore Estuary Reserve already negatively impacting these sensitive areas.

In sum, sewers are Wyandanch's pipeline to progress. Wyandanch will riseby building sewers!

Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Lansdale, Executive Director, Sustainable Long Island

[1] Krop, R. A., Hernick, C.,  Frantz,  C. (2008). Local Government Investment   InMunicipal Water and Sewer  Infrastructure: Adding Value to the National Economy. United StatesConference of Mayors.

[2] Ibid.

[3] US  Departmentof Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis. Cited in Krop, Hernick, and Frantz(2008), p. 11. Regional Input-OutputModeling System (RIMS II).  http://www.bea.gov/bea/regional/rims/.

Proposed MTA Long Island Bus Cuts

Photo Credit: http://www.mta.info/
LI Bus
A coalition of civic, transportation, business, labor, planning and environmental groups joined together to oppose MTA cuts to Long Island Bus.

In particular, the groups called the MTA's proposal to eliminate its funding contribution entirely to Nassau County's LI Bus system a misguided attempt to balance its budget and a system killer. If enacted, thousands of bus riders would be left with no alternative to get to work and school, possibly forcing riders to pay for expensive taxis or lose their jobs.

"The MTA's proposed cuts will obliterate the LI Bus system as we know it," said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "These cuts could very well mean that Nassau County will not have a viable bus transit system as soon as the next few years."

"But the MTA is not the only entity at fault," continued Slevin. "Nassau County and the State are not living up to their obligation to fund Long Island Bus and ensure riders have affordable and reliable transit service."

She noted that Nassau County is contributing half as much as it was in 2000. Both the County and State cut support last year resulting in the service cuts that were implemented in June.

LI Bus serves over 32 million riders a year, over 100,000 riders a day, and is an integral cog in Nassau County's transit system, fostering economic development, reducing congestion and protecting the environment.

The groups called on the MTA to retract the proposal, and for Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and state elected officials to work together to find a long term solution to Long Island Bus' funding problems.

"These service cuts will impact over 100,000 Long Islanders who commute to and from work," said Sarah Lansdale, Executive Director, Sustainable Long Island. "The idea is an unrealistic approach to help funding woes that the MTA faces. The people of Nassau County deserve better, they deserve available mass transit that is safe and affordable."

"If ultimately LI Bus would cease operating, it would have a devastating effect on the business community in Nassau and Queens County as well as their workforce," said Daniel R. Perkins, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Long Island Association. "Let's hope that the MTA, the State of New York and Nassau County can work together to find a solution so that doesn't happen."

"Yet another moment of crisis offers us the opportunity to rethink the way that bus service is delivered and paid for in the metropolitan region," said Bob Yaro, President of Regional Plan Association. "The current inefficient and fragmented bus system should be consolidated into a single Regional Bus Authority, as was recommended by the Ravitch Commission. Until then, the MTA and Nassau County need to come up with solutions that don't leave riders stranded."

Eric Alexander, Executive Director of Vision Long Island said "Brainstorming can be a useful tool. However, some ideas have unintended consequences for the health and economic well being of working Nassau County residents. This is one idea the MTA should scratch from their list."

"This is outrageous. This is a very short sided proposal. Long Island roads will be plagued by horrible congestion and people are not going to be able to get to work. The MTA cannot balance their budget problems on the backs of Nassau bus riders," stated Lisa Tyson, Director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

"For thousands of working people in Nassau County, Long Island Bus is irreplaceable," said John Durso, president of the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. "It is essential for the economic health of our region that a viable transportation system is available for people who need it."

Also check out our friend Ryan Lynch's, Senior Planner, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, editorial in Newsday:
Nassau bus riders hanging in the balance


The MTA then held a board meeting on the proposed LI Bus cuts where Sustainable Long Island submitted comments. See our comments below:

MTA Cuts to LI Bus

Submitted by Sustainable Long Island

July 28, 2010


Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the issue of MTA service cuts for all Long Islanders.

Sustainable Long Island is a regional not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote community and economic development, environmental health, and equity for all Long Islanders now and for generations to come.

Long-term sustainability requires an increase in both public transportation services and ridership; the proposed cuts undermine both goals and should not be implemented. Sustainable Long Island urges the MTA to consider alternatives to the proposed cuts in bus services including efforts to improve services and increase ridership.

According to a report in January 2009 by the American Public Transportation Association, 2008 marked a 52 year high in public transportation use nationwide. MTA's 2010 budget year-to-date reflects an increase in ridership in 2010. Clearly, the public recognizes the need for public transportation. The question is does the MTA recognize the need for the public to use its services?

LI Bus

Today, as we continue to grapple with the effects of the economic downturn, several facts are clear:
Financial support from state and federal sources are not likely to increase in the short term
The proposed cuts in bus services will disparately impact low-income, older and differently-abled populations
MTA's proposed solution of cutting services and increasing fares is not a long-term sustainable operating plan

While we support in theory MTA's recommendation that Nassau County phase in additional funding for the LI Bus, we all need to realize that in the short-run this is not an economically viable option.
Alternately, MTA can and should look for ways to increase ridership as a means to close the budget gap. Options to increase ridership:
Improve service by improving coordination of schedules to decrease travel times
Decrease fragmentation of services across providers/municipalities
Offer university students in Nassau and Suffolk reduced rate passes as part of tuition fees. (Combined student total as of 2009=179,820 for the 19 institutions of higher learning)
Listen to your constituency-and provide services to encourage car users to make the switch to public transportation

The MTA should also commit to long-term sustainable operations and work toward implementing Transit-Oriented Development, adopting a sustainable business plan that includes working with partners who embrace public transportation. This plan would include diverse activities such as:
Get in the trenches with communities to ensure land use near transit includes housing-those occupants are more likely to use public transportation
Make using public transportation a viable option, not a chore only those in without options must choose
Work toward bus-only travel lanes
Make bike/public transit a more viable option
Work to overhaul its bureaucracy to improve return on investment dollars. If the consumers of the service must experience service cuts, the MTA should share the pain.

Nothing noted here is a new idea, in our new economy more and more businesses need to operate under a leaner budget. Generally, businesses do not flourish by offering fewer and fewer services to decreasing numbers of consumers. The MTA is in a fortunate position that it can grow its market share of travelers; an enviable position for many other businesses. It would be foolish in the short, and long-term, to instead choose to implement the proposed cuts.

Once again, thank you for time, and for the opportunity for Sustainable Long Island to comment on this important issue. 

Jack Abrams School Controversy

Students from the Jack Abrams Intermediate School in Huntington Station will be placed in other schools in an effort to protect them from a recent spate of violence in the area. The school, instead, will be used for administration, tutoring, adult education and possibly, eventually, an alternative high school.


Photo credit: Newsday / Mahala Gaylord
Jack Abrams

What are your thoughts on the plan to close Jack Abrams Intermediate School in Huntington Station? Do you think the wrong decision was made or will this move help with safety and revitalization in the area?

Here's what some of you had to say:

Deborah Kirschenbaum Herman Approving and building Avalon Huntington Station a proposed Transit Oriented Development of 490 units of mixed residential housing, including both rental and home ownership, with a 25 percent component of workforce, next generation, and moderate priced housing will help revitalize this area!

Blanca Duarte Martini I'm mixed about the decision but hoping it'll stir action. I'm hopeful the model proposed can be studied for quality of life increases and used in other places. We need low income housing & safe streets on LI. "Brain drain" is not acceptable, or sustainable. We need people to stay...

Thomas D'Ambrosio Bad decision. Closing the school will only weaken the neighborhood. Yes, we need Avalon Bay because economic uplift is the only answer to crime and gangs. And yes, we do need some gentrification here!

Vernon Brinkley Sorry to hear you say that......crime and drugs is a result of poverty and all the gentrification in the world will not change that, the problem only moves somewhere else, typically worse then before. No amount of gentrification is good. Our goal and the reason developers receive the huge amounts of subsidies is to lift up those in these blighted areas, to give them the opportunities to create wealth and become an asset to their community rather than a drain. When are we gonna get it right? Hopefully it will do all this without gentrifying the community...?

New York State Budget effect on Long Island

Long Island Schools losing $173 million, Hospitals losing $19 million, Clothing taxes going up, $31 million loss on Long Island's Environmental Protection Fund...


Photo credit: Newsday /Alejandra Villa
Budget Cut

What are your thoughts on how the state budget will affect Long Island?

Here's what some of you had to say:

Catherine Rustman way to chase people off of LI

Chris Gibbons I'm sure they'll just raise out taxes again. Didn't anyone tell you that Long Island in New York State's rich uncle? LOL

Bob Cavagnaro Taxing and no jobs is pushing our kids off now...Our great place to live should never see this kind of activity against schools and the environment!........

Anthony Gonzalez We should have increased taxes on the wealthy.


 
2nd Annual High School Fellowship

Sustainable Long Island announces the start of its 2nd Annual High School Fellowship, where numerous high school juniors and seniors across Long Island have been hired to work closely with staff on community planning and revitalization projects within the organization.  

Funded by the Levitt Foundation, this program will have students engaged in a local community planning project, develop creative, fun outreach methods targeted at young adults, and learn about local and regional food systems while helping with Sustainable Long Island's youth-run farmers' markets.

"This fellowship gives the chance for students to see what it's like to work at a nonprofit organization, complete day-to-day tasks, while focusing on numerous projects and planning processes" said Sarah Lansdale, Executive Director, Sustainable Long Island. "Students will be active in and learning about issues of sustainability, community planning, and development and civic engagement."

Students including Sarah DeGray of Sachem High School North, Ibeth Escobar of Roosevelt High School, and Matthew Lippertshauser of Bethpage High School receive a stipend for their work, which entails a one year part-time commitment including 20 hours a week in the summer and five hours a week during the school year. This program will help students build different skills, while providing experience to those who will soon be off to college looking for more part time, and eventually, full time jobs.

"It's important to me to get younger people involved in issues that our communities face on a daily basis," said Matthew Lippertshauser. "I hope to learn from this experience and educate others along the way."

After a tremendously successful inaugural year featuring student's developing and holding a Bethpage youth-visioning and meeting numerous elected officials, the organization interviewed dozens of young adults in different Long Island communities for this program. Youth are integral to Long Island's future growth and with their help Sustainable Long Island believes they can reach a broader audience and engage more young adults in thinking about and planning for the future.


FellowFellowFellow

If you are or know a High School Junior or Senior who would like to participate THIS year, it's not too late! We are looking for students in specific communities to participate in the fellowship including:

  • Wyandanch
  • Elmont
  • Freeport
  • Huntington
  • Middle Country
  • Port Washington
  • North Amityville
  • Bellport
  • Roosevelt
Apply today by sending a letter of interest to
Sustainable Long Island Community Planner Artineh Havan
 
News and Notes

Our funders tour from this past month!
Funders Tour


Here's a quick glance into just a handful of the events and meeting we have been participating in and attending. For a full up-to-the minute list of all the latest happenings follow us on...

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At the Junior League of Long Island Community Impact Breakfast discussing health and well-being issues affecting women and children on LI.

Yesterday we attended a roundtable discussion on how to create a more sustainable restaurant culture.

At the Long Island Appollo Alliance roundtable discussion in Hauppauge with guest speaker Mijin Cha of Urban Agenda and NYC Appollo Alliance

On our way to our board meeting in Calverton, NY. This month's location: The Long Island Farm Bureau headquarters!

On Wednesday - attended an informational meeting about a potential business improvement district along Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont.

Long Island Regional Planning Council meeting discussing the Thematic Areas of the LI 2035 Regional Comprehensive Sustainability Plan.

Funders tour! http://tweetphoto.com/37168857 


Last week we met with our Food Equity Advisory Committee to discuss creating a Food Policy Council - aimed to improve local food systems.

Attended a meeting at Uniondale HS discussing ideas on how to green the school and what to do about the pool water (recycle).

Pilgrim intermodal truck transfer meeting at Long Island Association. http://tweetphoto.com/39587350

At a meeting on the Transportation Issues around the Pilgrim State Site on Long Island held by the Long Island Association.


We'll See You There!

Logo

Has the summer passe
d you by? Looking for free, fun, family entertainment before school starts? Join Sustainable Long Island for a night under the stars at the Airmid Theatre's production of "Three Cornered Moon" on Thursday, Augus
t 26th at 7pm.

This charming screwball comedy was the toast of Broadway in 1933, setting the tone for future plays like "You Can't Take it With You" to be successful for generations to come!

Where: Nissequogue River State Park in Western Suffolk County

            799 Saint Johnland Rd

Kings Park, NY 11754

 

When: Thursday, August 26 at 7pm 

 

How: FREE! You can bring a picnic, and be sure to remember to bring your favorite chair or blanket since seating is on the lawn.

 

Who and Why: Sustainable Long Island will have a table at Airmid Theatre's "Community Revitalization Night" spotlighting local non-profit organizations. Come support your local theatre, your friends at Sustainable Long Island, your community, and enjoy the free entertainment!


We'll See You There!


Farmingville

The day opens with the local VFW Post 400 raising the 1850s American Flag and opening remarks by Tom Muratore, Suffolk County Legislator.  All day family-fun activities include Historic Schoolhouse tours, guided hikes by local scout troops through the recently blazed Farmingville Hills County Park, nature projects, letterboxing adventures, storytelling with Sachem Public Library, face painting, toddler crafts, and more. Sustainable Long Island will be on hand facilitating a drawing activity for the youth in attendance. Youth will draw pictures representing what "community" means to them - their vision of the community in the future. Drawings have the opportunity to be featured later this fall at an art exhibit at the Terry House in Farmingville.

Donate to Sustainable Long Island Today
Sustainable Long Island thanks the individuals and organizations who continue to support our work. They have shown commitment to revitalizing our communities and improving the lives of all Long Islanders.

By Donating you are helping promote:
  • Economic Development
  • Environmental Health
  • Equity for All Long Islanders

Donate Today

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Sincerely,

Sarah Lansdale, Executive Director
Sust
ainable Long Island