Connect Long Island, a major component of the Framework for the Future - Suffolk County Comprehensive Master Plan 2035, which was unanimously adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature in 2015, is Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s regional transportation and development plan to promote long-term economic progress in Suffolk County. It aims to create an innovation economy and drive sustainable growth by supporting transit-oriented development and building a modern transportation system. Connect Long Island seeks to connect development with our region’s major research and educational institutions, as well as innovation zones for emerging high-tech companies.
Connect Long Island has seen many successes to date, with nearly 2000 new units of housing built or under construction in our revitalizing downtowns, significant progress on first-of-its-kind north-south rapid transit connecting Suffolk’s major colleges, research institutions, and employment centers, major investments in the Long Island Rail Road promising quicker and easier access to and from New York City than ever before, and new work investigating and implementing the next generation of transit and mobility technology to improve transportation options for residents, commuters and visitors.
Connect Long Island also addresses the decades-old issue of young people leaving Long Island due to a combination of factors:
- A lack of quality affordable rental housing.
- A lack of that type of housing in environments in which young people want to live, i.e., walkable downtowns.
- High costs of living.
- Auto-centric transportation system with limited north-south mobility.
- A scarcity of high paying jobs.
The five components of Connect Long Island are:
- Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) – Align land-use planning and transportation planning to promote easy access to public transportation, and create walkable downtowns for people to work, live and play. There are currently 12 TODs under development in Suffolk County.
- Expand mass transit through three major initiatives of the Long Island Rail Road to connect existing and proposed developments. The Double Track, Third Track, and Electrification projects also support East Side Access which will give riders the ability to reach the east side of NYC and make it easier for companies on LI to draw from the NYC talent pool.
- Develop north-south mass transit connections to increase mobility via Bus Rapid Transit routes: Nicolls Road, Route 110, and Sagtikos Parkway.
I-Zone will connect educational and research institutions:
- SUNY Stony Brook and Stony Brook University Hospital
- Suffolk County Community College, Ammerman Campus
- St. Joseph’s College
- Brookhaven National Laboratory
- Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
- Connect new and existing recreational assets and downtown hubs.
Investments for a thriving economy, I-Zone, Transit Oriented Developments, Bus Rapid Transit and other components of Connect Long Island will help to attract and retain businesses and young people, grow existing companies and industries, and create an innovative ecosystem making Suffolk County a highly desirable place to live, work and play.