The Town of Southampton has installed two electric vehicle charging stations at Ponquogue Beach in Hampton Bays. The stations are on the west side of the parking lot next to the newly-renovated pavilion. These charging stations are equipped with the SAE J1772 coupler type, standard on most electric vehicles, with 18-foot charging cords. Up to four vehicles can be accommodated at once.
Users will need to download the app “EV Connect” before arriving at the beach to utilize the system. There is an electric use fee to charge a vehicle. A Town of Southampton beach parking permit is required to access the charging stations, which will be available 9 AM to 9 PM through Labor Day.
At the August 13 Southampton Town Board meeting, Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, along with councilmen John Bouvier and Tommy John Schiavoni, authorized a contract with Zagster, Inc., to bring a bike-share pilot program to Hampton Bays for two years. Through a partnership with the Suffolk County bike-share program, Zagster is expected to launch the pilot program Bethpage Ride, with Bethpage Federal Credit Union as the sponsor, in Hampton Bays at the end of this month.
“The goal is to help promote health and wellness, reduce traffic and carbon emissions, and provide access to the many destinations points that Hampton Bays has to offer,” said Bouvier, co-executive officer of the Sustainable Southampton Green Advisory Committee, which brought the program to the board’s attention. “The program promotes public bicycle rentals that will be made available in the hamlet center and beaches, which is consistent with the action goals of the town’s sustainability plan.”
Zagster is an operator of over 250 bike-share systems and operates an app-based program that allows users to rent bicycles for $1 per 15 minutes. Monthly memberships are available for $10, and annual ones for $60. There’s a student discount available. The 25 bikes that will be available can be locked up at any public bike rack for $2, or at Bethpage Ride racks for free. Bike racks will be available at Good Ground Park and Ponquogue Beach.
“I’m thrilled to be working with Suffolk County and Zagster, Inc. to bring this energy efficient bike-share program to our community,” Schiavoni said. “The bike-share program meets many community objectives, including transportation alternatives, connectivity between destinations, and enhanced recreation that will not only benefit our residents, but our visitors alike.”
Councilwomen Christine Preston Scalera, co-executive officer of the green advisory committee, and Julie Lofstad, voted against the resolution, fearing the effect an outside company could have on town businesses, like The Local Bike Shop in Hampton Bays, which also has hourly, daily, and monthly bike rentals.
“I know the program is well-intended, but we’re hamstringing a guy we know is local that really can’t compete,” Preston Scalera said.
“He’s a little fish in an even smaller pond,” Lofstad said. “I think we should wait until the spring and put out a request for proposal.”
Schneiderman said he sees the bike shop benefitting from the program.
“As tourism builds in the area, I think biking will as well,” he said. “Because it’s a bike-friendly community, people will either purchase or service their bikes at this store.”
Hampton Bays Water District Superintendent Robert King is retiring this year. The board unanimously passed a resolution to accept his retirement August 13.
According to the resolution, King wishes to ensure an orderly transition in the management of the water district.
“I want to thank Mr. King for his many years of service to the Hampton Bays Water District and the Hampton Bays community,” Schneiderman said. “I wish him absolutely the best in his retirement.”