Bellone Announces $1.5M State Grant to Improve Nicolls Road through Innovative Bus Rapid Transit

‘Connect Long Island’ Vision Continues to Move Forward, Project will Connect Stony Brook University to Patchogue Village.

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Suffolk County, NY - December 11, 2014 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced a new $1.5 million grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to be used toward planning, design and construction of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system along Nicolls Road, which will connect from Stony Brook University to Patchogue Village.  On Tuesday, the Suffolk County Legislature voted unanimously to accept the grant.

Developing north-south transit connections is part of County Executive Bellone’s Connect Long Island vision, a comprehensive transportation and development plan to connect Suffolk County downtowns, universities and research centers via mass transit in order to reverse the brain drain and create jobs.  

“This is a significant step forward to solve the challenges facing Suffolk County,” said County Executive Steve Bellone.  “Connect Long Island is about fighting to keep our young adults here on Long Island and finally implementing an innovative plan to solve our transportation, housing and economic challenges.  I applaud New York State for approving this grant to implement Bus Rapid Transit along Nicolls Road.”

Nicolls Road was chosen as the initial site to implement Bus Rapid Transit in Suffolk County in order to connect and enhance critical regional assets including Stony Brook University, Ronkonkoma Hub and Patchogue Village.  Including this new funding, Suffolk County has received $11.9 million in different federal and state grants in order to create this new service beginning on Nicolls Road.

BRT is an innovative, high capacity, lower cost public transit solution that can significantly improve mobility and be customized to fit community needs.   BRT may include features such as dedicated transit lanes, specialized stations, on-bus technology, branded vehicles, and improved real-time passenger information signs which differentiate it from regular bus service.  Using low cost technologies, BRT can reduce congestion by replicating convenient services offered by rail, therefore providing an alternative to the personal automobile for Suffolk County commuters.

“BRT will provide an easier and less costly commute, promote economic development and improve the environment, primarily by removing vehicles from the road and using clean, alternative fuels,” said Commissioner of Economic Development Joanne Minieri.  “The County will continue to actively pursue grant funding to help implement and realize the Connect Long Island vision.”

The design and installation of BRT technology will include Transit Signal Priority, which will allow buses to communicate with traffic signals to help improve service, reduce delay and stay on schedule.  Roadway improvements will include new queue jumps which involve the construction of dedicated approach lanes at intersections, increasing safety and timeliness of bus service.  In addition, the funding will assist the construction of new bus stations that will provide an easy transition from railroad to bus and may include a climate-controlled waiting area, dynamic signage, bike racks, improved lighting and pedestrian crossings.

The NYSERDA funding will assist the County in the design, purchase and installation of BRT technology, construction of new roadway improvements, and construction of new bus stations. 

For more information on Connect Long Island and BRT, visit the website.

Photo by Cedric Aellen via Free Images