Friday, January 22, 2010

Places To Grow On Long Island

Long Island Index Maps Out Potential For Revitalizing Downtowns

A new report compiled and issued by the Long Island Index entitled, Places to Grow, analyzes the possibilities of not only bringing back our downtowns from the brink, but more, giving new life to what, in many instances, have become the graveyards of suburbia.

Transit-oriented housing in close proximity to the community's business district. Mixed use development. Higher density. Greater walkability.

Hmmmm. Now where have we heard all of this proposed before? Oh yeah. Right here on The Community Alliance blog! [Smarty pants...]

Anyway, as  Rauch Foundation (the folks who routinely finance such studies) President Nancy Douzinas asserts, “The region must find a way to achieve this balance.”  “Managed growth in the downtowns has been a revenue generator in other parts of the country with greater job growth, lower property taxes, fewer cars and better environmental outcomes. Long Island could certainly use all of that!”

Yup, we certainly could.

The report provides information about more than 100 Long Island downtowns and LIRR station areas, highlighting the potential for growth opportunities through, among other tools, an interactive map. [So that's what we've been missing. A map!]

From Albertson to Yaphank, comparisons are drawn, numbers are crunched, and the road map to renewal and, more than this, sustainability, is drawn. [About the only things missing are the artists' renderings.]

Cases studies (you always need case studies, you know) of communities that could serve as experiential lessons for transit-oriented growth are cited, including Fairfax, VA, South Orange, NJ, and, closer to home, Mineola, NY.

With an eye toward land preservation and keeping what's good, the report ponders the prospects of a smart growth environment; one that incorporates affordable housing, mixed commercial, retail, recreational and residential use, and a rail station or downtown center, as means to create "strong downtowns" with a "sense of  culture and community."

Ahh. A sense of community. Now they're talking our language.

Of course, talking about transit-oriented development and actually building sustainable communities with vibrant and vital downtowns are two different animals, indeed.

Millions on studies, reports, and high-falutin' plans go for naught if barely a dime is spent to commit taking that which is on the drawing board to the streets of Long Island.

Whether it's the dawning of a new day in Elmont by replacing the old Argo movie theater with a much needed supermarket, the end of an era of infamy in West Hempstead through the demolition of the Courtesy Hotel as entree to transit-oriented housing, or the broader, county-vaulting cornerstone of the Lighthouse Project as renaissance for the entire region, we can continue to study, debate, and consider -- while the blight of the  brownfields consumes us all -- or we could very well do something -- today, and not tomorrow (or the day after that) -- to truly make Long Island not only a place to grow, but the showplace of suburbia we always knew it could be.

To quote Nike (do you think they have any studies or reports on point?), Just do it!
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Click HERE to read the full report, Places to Grow.
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For sure, the clock is ticking. . .


  1. This is probably an obvious point to people who are smarter than me, but I've now come to the conclusion that the way to understand why initiatives such as transit-oriented housing, the Lighthouse project, as well as various downtown revitilization efforts never really get off the ground, is to view our lack of progress on these fronts as the outgrowth of a cynical political calculation being made by our so-called elected "leaders." Efforts such as these would bring about changes in Long Island's political landscape that would actually not be welcome by the likes of Murray and Venditto. You're talking about efforts that would attract a younger, more liberal constituency, that might actually breathe life into a political environment clearly stuck in the past. But that's theatening if you're an incumbent in power and efforts such as these have the potential to bring in voters who you might not be able to count on in the next election. That's why these guys seem not at all concerned about the exodus of younger people from Long Island, nor are they truly committed to efforts designed to ensure adequate amounts of affordable housing, notwithstanding their rhetoric.

    As indicated, I'm probably late to the game when it comes to figuring this out, but it's more and more apparent to me that the reason it feels like nothing ever gets done is, well, nothing ever gets done. And the reason for that is that it serves a political agenda for those who are more committed to the self-serving goal of remaining in office than they are to Long Island's future. The people who are truly going to be victimized by this kind of selfish political gamesmanship are our children, who will continue to suffer from a lack of opportunity and who will therefore continue to leave. On the other hand, those we have elected will then be getting exactly what they want.

  2. Angry with Hempstead TownFriday, January 22, 2010 10:39:00 AM

    Why couldn't we get Jack Martins from Mineola to replace Kate Murray in Hempstead Town? Maybe then our downtowns can be revitalized. Mineola already has the Intermodal and several attractive projects coming to their downtown shortly. Kate hasn't done anything for over 6 years except give herself and her friends hefty raises.

  3. I couldn't agree more with the 2 prior comments. The Republicans (except for Jack Martins) have clearly frustrated any progressive development proposal that has come before them. From projects in Uniondale to West Hempstead to Baldwin to Elmont, the answer from Kate is always no. If we are truly sincere about changing development on Long Island, then we need to change the current crop of politicians, especially the ones at the Town of Hempstead.