Vision Update: Complete Streets Summit, LI Lobby Coalition, Smart Growth Awards

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Do You Follow Vision Long Island? If you care about human beings and thoughtful, heartfelt common sense approaches to land use, I think you should! Basically, Vision serves as a catalyst, bringing folks together to craft a built environment that keeps things moving, while improving our overall health, well-being and quality of life.

Here’s their latest:

Main Street News: Upcoming Complete Streets Summit

(Photos above of the 2023 Complete Streets Summit by Katheryn Laible)
Of the broad range of issues Vision’s mission impacts, the safety and functionality of our streets are among the most central.  
 
Long Island has some of the most dangerous roads in New York State. Through the last 13 years of Complete Streets Summit and beyond, Vision has brought thoughtful, involved people together to improve these conditions. In this, they’ve helped advance 40 traffic calming projects throughout the Island. They’ve further conducted 20 walking audits in partnership with the AARP. They are also engaged with Western Suffolk BOCES on a major walkability program.

 

The Complete Streets Summit is a way for them to share what all this is about and to connect others who are or who want to get involved. You can find our review of last year’s event here: Complete Streets Summit: Let’s Do This!

 
The 2024 Complete Streets Summit will be held:
When:  April 2, 2024 8:30-11am
Tickets: are $75 per seat. Register and get more info here
Sponsorships are available: for this and other Vision programs here.

 

Here’s a preview of the upcoming event from Executive Director, Eric Alexander. In that video, he explains the event and some thoughts behind it, and touches on a few current issues. 

If you want a deep dive into an exceptionally broad range of people, projects and policies, check out more of that Vimeo account. There’s a whole lot of valuable, grounding and inspiring information in there!

Vision Report: Long Island Lobby Coalition

(Photos above courtesy of Vision Long Island) The Long Island Lobby Coalition is a diverse coalition of Long Island leaders and stakeholders who come together to craft a common-good agenda in service of Long Island that they then bring to Albany. Here is the report, as found on Facebook, of their most recent trip:

“On February 27, 2024, the Long Island Lobby Coalition, for the 16th year, traveled to Albany with a diverse delegation of Long Islanders, ranging from local civic and chamber organizations to transportation, environmental, child, human needs, and housing advocates.

This year’s Lobby Day began with a press event once Coalition members reached the Capital.

“This is the most diverse coalition in the history of Long Island, representing chambers of commerce, business groups, small businesses, environmental groups, smart growth organizations, social service organizations, and so much more,” stated Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, and co-chair of the Long Island Lobby Coalition. “We come together to make an agenda that makes Long Island stronger, an agenda that makes Long Island more loveable, more livable, and more sustainable. We are here to speak with all our Long Island representatives and the Governor’s office to tell them what Long Island needs in the 2024 budget and legislative session.”

Eric Alexander, Director of the Long Island Main Street Alliance, Vision Long Island, and co-chair of the Long Island Lobby Coalition, explained, “We have done this for 16 years, we have passed 22 pieces of legislation. The big issue we are tackling today is that Long Island sends 14 billion dollars more to Albany than we get back. We have an agenda full of resources that can come back to Long Island so we can shrink that gap. We need resources for a whole slew of things, such as small businesses, human services, housing, transportation, the environment, and key infrastructure projects.”

Discussing the Coalition’s 2024 platform, Ms. Esposito underscored, “We have meaningful discussions among our dozens of partners when creating our platform. We reach agreement. This platform is not pie in the sky ideas, it’s basic survival needs, from not getting cancer from drinking our water, to wanting our children to have lunch in school. These are bread and butter issues.” Ms. Esposito added, “Since Long Island gets the invoice, we need Long Island to have a voice.”

Discussing the Coalition’s 2024 platform, Ms. Esposito underscored, “We have meaningful discussions among our dozens of partners when creating our platform. We reach agreement. This platform is not pie in the sky ideas, it’s basic survival needs, from not getting cancer from drinking our water, to wanting our children to have lunch in school. These are bread and butter issues.” Ms. Esposito added, “Since Long Island gets the invoice, we need Long Island to have a voice.”

The over forty small business, community, environmental, health, social service, labor & education leaders thoughtfully discussed many of the important issues facing Long Island during meetings with members of the Long Island Senate and Assembly delegations, as well as members of the Governor’s office. The following are some highlights of items addressed:

Small Business, Jobs, Economic Development – including MWBE support package, NYS Marketing Locally w/ Shop Local Campaigns, Tax-Deferred IRA Accounts for Small Businesses, and NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative & NY Forward.

Transportation – including Bus Funding for NICE & Suffolk County Transit, Funding for Bike/Pedestrian Safety & Complete Streets, and Bike Representation Act.

Environment & Energy – Funding for Clean Water, Suffolk County Wastewater District, Packaging Reduction & Recycling Act, and Offshore Wind.

Housing & Human Services – including Affordable Housing Funding and Incentives, TOD Planned Locally, Affordable Housing Vouchers, Mental Health and Human Services Workforce, Child Care, Healthy School Meals for All, SNAP Assistance, and TAP Expansion.

Infrastructure Projects – including Sunrise Highway Traffic Calming, Hempstead Sewers, Valley Stream Bike Pedestrian Trail, Huntington Station Land Transfer, and Mastic & Shirley Sewers.

Each and every elected official and their representatives were engaged and responsive to the Coalition’s remarks.

The Long Island NYS State Senate Majority Delegation included Senator Kevin Thomas and Senator Monica Martinez. Senator Thomas stated, “If I tally up the five most common complaints my office gets, it is always transportation. Buses are integral, especially in our county. I will push as much as I can in the budget.”

Discussing complete streets and the many deaths on such thoroughfares as Sunrise Highway, Senator Thomas noted he has recommended to village mayors the use of bump-outs to slow down traffic, but they are uneasy to use them because the driver then gets to sue the village for damage to their car.

Mr. Alexander added to the discussion, “Speed reduction can happen through design.”

Senator Thomas, speaking about the importance of clean water on Long Island, stated, “Unlike New York City, we do not get our water from the mountains, it is underground.” He expressed his agreement that the environmental issues being proposed, such as the Suffolk County Wastewater District, are important. Regarding universal 3-K, the Senator noted, “The money is out there, but the school districts need more capacity. It will take some time before we can start 3-K.” Both Senators Thomas and Martinez agreed that food insecurity is a cornerstone issue on Long Island.

The group met with the LI Senate Minority delegation including NYS Senators Jack Martins, Alexis Weik, Steve Rhoads, and later joined by Mario Mattera and Patricia McDonald. Senator Jack Martins shared his appreciation for the annual effort and the delegation has consistently supported priorities from the Coalition’s agenda. They continue to fight for LI’s fair share of funding and this year is no exception.

The Long Island Assembly Delegation included Assemblymembers Jake Blumencranz, Ari Brown, Jarett Gandolfo, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Charles Lavine, Edward Ra, Phil Ramos, Doug Smith, Michaelle Solages, Steve Stern, Fred Thiele, Jr., and a representative for Assemblymember Joe DeStefano. We also connected with Assemblymembers Michael Durso, Taylor Darling and Jodi Giglio during the trip.

Discussing the importance of land trusts as a tool for building affordable housing and growing generational wealth, the Assemblymembers were engaged and supportive. Assemblyman Doug Smith noted, “I love this because homeownership builds the middle class. Homeownership is still important. It builds up a family instead of a company.”

Assemblymember Charles Lavine stated, “We thank you. One of the great challenges that we have on Long Island is that we are very balkanized. We have so many different communities, so many separate municipalities, but the fact of the matter is, we are stuck with two huge counties. So, I want to thank the Long Island Lobby Coalition for bringing both those counties together. We have far more muscle, we have far more authority, if we stand together. We will fight for all this.”

“You do a lot of the work that facilitates what we do here,” Assemblymember Ramos added.

Assemblymember Charles Lavine stated, “We thank you. One of the great challenges that we have on Long Island is that we are very balkanized. We have so many different communities, so many separate municipalities, but the fact of the matter is, we are stuck with two huge counties. So, I want to thank the Long Island Lobby Coalition for bringing both those counties together. We have far more muscle, we have far more authority, if we stand together. We will fight for all this.”

“You do a lot of the work that facilitates what we do here,” Assemblymember Ramos added.

“Education and education funding is one of our biggest challenges these days,” Assemblymember Stern noted. “Over and above the substance of where the money comes from, who it comes from, and how we spend it on our education system, is the unspoken challenge that we are Long Island. Every child has access to a world-class education and we choose to tax ourselves accordingly in that regard. When it is time to come here to make sure we get our fair share, well it is open to debate, depending on who you are speaking to. What is our fair share? In a world where education spending actually goes up every year, not all of it, and certainly not the pro rata share, not the fair share, comes back to fund education on Long Island. Substantively, I think this is the biggest challenge we face. It is a perennial challenge.”

Regarding the importance of sewers and affordable housing, Assemblymember Stern told the Coalition, “Sewer infrastructure is the key to revitalization.” The Assemblyman, discussing the efforts in Huntington Station to utilize state DOT property near the Huntington Station railroad for affordable housing, discussed a bill he has authored, modeled after the Suffolk County 72-h Transfer Program. “It would essentially authorize the state to simply transfer the property to the Town of Huntington.”

Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre added, “This agenda is comprehensive, thank you.”
“We are like our own state. We do not care about democrat or republican, we are Long Islanders,”

Assemblyman Brown affirmed. “Unfortunately, the state is very city centric. Everything revolves around NYC. That is where the money goes, even though we are basically footing the bill. However, as long as we stick together, we can accomplish a lot.”

“What makes it easy for us on a bipartisan basis,” Assemblymember Thiele explained, “is for the most part, your agenda is our agenda. These are the things we are already working on. We are all part of this agenda. The biggest challenge up here is always for Long Island to tell its story. There is a perception of what Long Island is, such as all of Long Island is wealthy, and that is not true. It is a continuing education process for us because there is a lot of turn-over in Albany. Our challenge is tell Long Island’s story and when you come up here, you help us tell that story.”

The last meeting of the day was with Governor Kathy Hochul’s policy team. The Governor’s staff listened carefully to each issue presented by Coalition members and was very familiar with the agenda. “Thank you for coming. Your voices are really important to be heard here in the Capital,” Karen Persichilli Keogh, Secretary to the Governor, told the members.

Adam Zaranko, Assistant Secretary for Housing to the Governor, showed a keen interest in the use of land trusts as a tool in the pursuit of affordable housing, while Ashley Dougherty,

Assistant Secretary for Environment to the Governor, assured the Coalition, “The Governor has made water quality a priority.”

Thanking the Coalition, Allison Bradley, Assistant Secretary of Transportation to the Governor, stated, “These conversations are so important because some of these things were not on my radar, like funding for NICE and Suffolk County Transit. The issues of the safety of everyone who uses our roadways is of the utmost importance. That is why having these deeper conversations about how to improve pedestrian access, driver safety, is so important. We really do want to hear your ideas. These issues are not only important to you, but they will also have a wider implication across the state.”

The Long Island Lobby Coalition’s advocacy will continue throughout the state’s upcoming budget process and legislative session.

The Long Island Lobby Coalition is made up of over 130 local organizations, including Vision Long Island, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Family & Children’s Association, Long Island Federation of Labor, Island Harvest, Family and Children’s Association, Long Island Main Street Alliance, Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, Suffolk County Chamber of Commerce, Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Long Island African American Chambers of Commerce, Sustainability Institute at Molloy, and various Land Trusts, Civic Associations and Chambers of Commerce. Since its founding, 22 bills on the various Coalition’s platforms have been enacted into law and over 25 budget and regulatory proposals were approved with key Long Island infrastructure projects funded.”

The Long Island Lobby Coalition is made up of over 130 local organizations, including Vision Long Island, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Family & Children’s Association, Long Island Federation of Labor, Island Harvest, Family and Children’s Association, Long Island Main Street Alliance, Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, Suffolk County Chamber of Commerce, Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Long Island African American Chambers of Commerce, Sustainability Institute at Molloy, and various Land Trusts, Civic Associations and Chambers of Commerce. Since its founding, 22 bills on the various Coalition’s platforms have been enacted into law and over 25 budget and regulatory proposals were approved with key Long Island infrastructure projects funded.”

Smart Growth Awards Logo

2024 Smart Growth Awards

For well over 20 years Vision Long Island has been honoring individuals, organizations and projects that advance the growth of our downtowns and infrastructure. Specific focus areas include transit-oriented development, affordable housing, environmental sustainability, traffic calming, transportation enhancements, clean energy and community based planning. Join them:
What: 2024 Smart Growth Awards
When: June 24th
Where: The Crest Hollow Country Club, 8325 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury
The Flyer: is here 
Early Registration for Sponsors: is here.

What is Smart Growth?

Basically? It’s a very holistic approach to community development that recognizes the importance of building places for people that respect the environment and are good for the economy. There’s a major emphasis on downtown community centers and, in Vision’s case, deep, meaningful relationship development across sectors and interests.

In terms of clear criteria, these awards are based on a recipients ability to demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • Mix Land Uses
  • Take advantage of compact building design
  • Create housing choices for a range of household types, family sizes and incomes
  • Strengthen existing communities and achieve more balanced regional development
  • Encourage citizen and stakeholder participation in development decisions
  • Create walkable neighborhoods
  • Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place
  • Preserve open space, farmland, historic buildings and critical environmental areas
  • Provide a variety of transportation choices
  • Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost effective
  • Utilize clean energy and green building development
It’s good stuff with great people. Join them!