Plan New Path for Edgemere

A path for pedestrians and cyclists along an approximately one-mile stretch of Edgemere Street in Montauk, connecting the Long Island Rail Road station with the downtown area, is a viable possibility as the Town of East Hampton seeks to take advantage of a program under which it would be designed and financed by Suffolk County.

A sidewalk now runs along the southern extent of Edgemere Street, a county roadway, but terminates well short of the train station. Pedestrians commonly walk on the road’s shoulder between the train station and downtown, a span that includes the Surf Lodge, a popular nightclub between the road and Fort Pond to which patrons must walk from offsite parking. 

“People coming from the train station to downtown right now walk along the road for most of the way, in the road right of way,” Marguerite Wolffsohn, the town’s director of planning, told the East Hampton Town Board on Tuesday. “It’s dangerous and not a walkable Montauk, like we’re trying to get in our plans,” she said, a reference to one of the recent hamlet studies, which also were discussed at the board meeting. 

Ms. Wolffsohn described the county’s Jumpstart program, which she said was created to “encourage, foster, and enhance” the planning and development of regionally significant projects in Suffolk’s downtowns. County engineers would design the multiuse path, which would fall within the right of way on the west side of the road.

 “They may need to shift the actual travel surface of the road to accommodate this,” Ms.   Wolffsohn said, explaining that a multiuse path is typically about 10 feet wide. “They do the design work, and then Jumpstart pays for the construction,” she said. There would be no cost to the town. 

Louis Bekofsky, the county’s commissioner of economic development and planning, was enthusiastic about the idea, Ms. Wolffsohn told the board, as it dovetails with both the Montauk hamlet study and the Jumpstart program emphasis this year on transportation and connectivity. 

Ms. Wolffsohn is preparing a negative declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, a statement to the effect that the project would have no significant detrimental environmental impact, which the board could approve at its meeting this evening. “I’m going to write in there that the design has to take into consideration protecting Fort Pond” as well as the surrounding area, she said.  

The board was enthusiastic about the project. Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc told his colleagues that he had often discussed connecting the train station and downtown with the hamlet’s citizens advisory committee. “I’m glad we’re talking about this and the opportunity to have the county fund this project, which in my estimation is long overdue,” he said.