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County officials visit Bellport to gather information on bus issues

Montuak Highway in Bellport as it appeared in February 2016. (Michael White)

A lack of shelters at busy stops.

Buses that leave the area before trains arrive.

Routes that don’t stretch late enough into the evening for community college students.

Those were just some of the issues residents brought up to county transportation administrators during a special meeting Tuesday night at Frank P. Long Intermediate School in Bellport.

Christopher McVoy, a civil engineer with the county Department of Public Works who addressed the crowd during the meeting, told those in attendance the county will be responsive to their needs.

“We can know from groups like this where the areas are that we should be going,” McVoy said. “The routes themselves haven’t changed in a long time, and where people live and where they need to be going on the bus changes all the time.”

Indeed, before the night was through, McVoy assured the county would be addressing one issue that was raised —by running a public bus to the area of the Bellhaven Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing Care and the New Brookhaven Townhouse assisted living facility on Beaver Dam Road.

McVoy said that contacting the DWP in writing — contact information below — is the best way to inform administrators on improvements they can be making to the bus services.

Meanwhile, the county is implementing GPS and other data collecting systems into all of its busses to better inform the county as to what buses and stops are being used more or less.

Then, adjustments can be made.

But, he noted, that data cannot include information from a community college student, for example, who might not be able to take a 7-8:30 p.m. class because there’s no bus back to home.

That person, or a group of people, or the school, would have to contact the county, he said.

Jason Neal of the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk and Boys & Girls Club of the Bellport Area, wondered why no buses ran along Sunrise Highway.

“I’m looking at the bus map and thinking about how many different places and business there are along the service drives but there’s no buses,” Neal said.

“It looks like the majority of the routes area going north-south,” McVoy responded. “That’s probably because the trains go east-west. It seems like, originally, that what the thinking was.”

Though he would say he would raise the possibility to his immediate supervisor.

As for a lack of bus shelters, McVoy said requests must be made in writing, and shelters are almost always built — unless a private property owner objects because her land might be encroached upon.

He later added that he believes requests have been made for bus shelters near the intersection of Montauk Highway and Station Road in Bellport.

He said he would find out why there are no shelters in those areas as of yet.

mike@greaterpatchoue.com

Contact Information

Anyone with a suggestion or concern about bus services anywhere in Suffolk County should contact:

Garry Lenberger

Director of Transportation

335 Yaphank Ave., Yaphank, NY 11980

or email him at g.lenberger@suffolkcounty.ny.gov

About the author: Michael White

Michael White is a Bellport resident, longtime newspaper reporter and editor, and the owner of greaterpatchogue.com. Email him your story ideas or tips: mike@greaterpatchogue.com