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You Tell Us: Big Ideas for Making Port Jefferson Better

With so many issues, locals are bound to have their own big ideas for bettering their community. Let's share them.

Port Jefferson village and Port Jefferson Station have their share of problems. Officials hope to balance revitalization of the Upper Port Jefferson area while addressing the complaints about homelessness and crime around the train station, vacancies dot the landscape from Route 347 to Port Jefferson Harbor. Taxes are on the rise in both Comsewogue and Port Jefferson school districts, while the village and school face the threat of a LIPA tax grievance cutting revenue almost in half in some cases.

It's times like these that people get to thinking about the home they love so much, coming up with their own ideas, be them wild stretches of the imagination or practical fixes that are altogether doable, to keep the Port Jefferson and Port Jefferson Station areas great into the forseeable future.

So let's hear them.

In the spirit of putting the local dreamer and the civic leaders on the same plane, we'd like to give all locals the opportunity to share their big ideas. In this forum, no idea should be shot down. Instead, let's gather as many suggestions as we can so we can later narrow the list down to the 10 most popular ideas for the community.

We can't wait to hear what you come up with.

Mels Ditties October 10, 2012 at 05:54 PM
As I suggest in an earlier post, turn the KFC building into a police substation...Puts a police presence directly across the street from 7-11 and the DOT parking lot, which are hangout areas AND puts at least a couple of cars within a stone's throw from the train station & upper port. Also works VERY well for the police checkpoints, which are typically set up in the DOT lot... PJ Code could also put an officer on duty in the train station everyday...Instead of just driving around town, they could park in the southwestern corner of the lot and be able to see the train station, La Paz, the cab stand and most of the 1st block north of the tracks...Two officers could do foot patrols in the area nightly... And then there's the third less likely, but probably best solution...Light a big big match and Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!
Charlie October 10, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Build a village marina at Harbor Front Park
Lori Lyons October 11, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Make Main Street between East Main and 25 a pedestrian mall so the restaurants could have open air seating, there could be fairs and children's playgrounds in the center. Traffic could be rerouted to East Main and Barnum as one way streets. Parking in the lots behind the stores. Winter time could see ice carving festivals, bonfires, moving the ice rink(?) which would bring more shoppersto the Main Street stores in the winter who would not generally be there. Many towns have done this successfully. I know it is a main State road, but old rules were made to be broken. It CAN be done!It's not like we are losing that many parking spots - taken up by motorcycles , anyway. A Very Hopeful Citizen!
Fred Cardi October 11, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Simplify the Village parking meter situation to be more user friendly. Paying by credit card is horrendous, confusing and time consuming.
Mels Ditties October 11, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Drop the "resident only" parking on the lot at Perry St....Install meters (hey, we'll even take the old ones downtown doesn't want any more) and give us a parking lot! (of course that will mean hiring security, cause leaving your car there unattended can be very risky).....
Mels Ditties October 11, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Very interesting the juxtaposition* of the posts in this article....The tale of two, but in reality one, village... *now I can cross that off my "word a day" to do list!...LOL!
Kathianne October 11, 2012 at 01:38 PM
My husband talks about that idea all the time. It would be great, especially on weekends!
Kathianne October 11, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I would love to see lockers at East and West Beaches. So hard to lug all our stuff with three small children, blankets, towels, umbrella, toys, life jackets, lotions, cooler, etc. If lockers could be assigned each year, even for a small fee, a lot of that stuff could be left at the beach and not have to be brought back and forth.
Earl October 11, 2012 at 03:15 PM
They really need to focus on cleaning up everything before anything else moves forward. Knock down all the old, empty, run down buildings. Take out Pax Christie and Hope House while you are at it!!
Mels Ditties October 11, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Well it took ya long enough to get here Earl...I thought I was all alone...lost in a fantasy world.... Gotta run...got ice sculpture lessons...
Pam October 11, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Please don't knock down any buildings that can be renovated especially if they have original architecture. Lori Lyons...at first glance I love that idea!!! I still have to think more about it, but great suggestion.
Mels Ditties October 11, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Pam have you seen the plans for the Music Hall of Fame?....A shame what they propose to do to that beautiful building...
Earl October 11, 2012 at 07:22 PM
I am technically kidding about knocking buidlings down, especially anything historic or unique of course. There really isnt much that fits that description in upper port anyway.
IrishJoan October 11, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Mel, as an English teacher and a fan of your posts (you express relevant and common concerns) I love your use of juxtaposition. Indeed, there is something not quite right when some people are living in Mayberry and some people are living in a war zone, yet, we live in the same vicinity. The crime needs to be addressed above all else; accordingly, if this happens, we can then discuss Pleasantville quandaries Earl, I agree, we can afford to lose some of the buildings in upper Port and clean-up.
Bryan Rivera October 11, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I would love to see left/right turning lanes in all 4 directions at the Main St/North Country Rd intersection. Especially southbound, where people get trapped as far back as Hess on summer weekends. The idea of street fairs is awesome. I've always wondered why it never happens in PJ. I also think the harbor needs a cannon that can be fired at noon, or at Connecticut in case they try to invade.
Jess S. October 12, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I am so glad someone else mentioned this. I have been hoping they would do this for years. Even if it was just a Friday night through Sunday thing and opened back up to traffic on Monday morning.
Jess S. October 12, 2012 at 03:20 PM
There is so much potential for both the Upper and Lower port areas. It needs to be a destination and a place where people want to come and spend time (and money) and be around outside, eating in restaurants, window shopping, bringing the family... Lower port has come a long way, but there needs to be a connection to the train station. Here is my vision: 1. To echo an earlier comment, the Lower port area becomes a pedestrian mall (at least from Friday pm - Sunday pm). 2. An additional Saturday farmers market moves up to the commuter lot next to the 7-11 (this is also where the bike/walking trail will begin/end so it will increase the use of the bike trail to make it a destination). This farmer's market would also feature food trucks 3. An inexpensive shuttle service runs several times and hour between the train station and harbor area so that people who come on the train can get down to the lower port and back up. 4. Increased presence of police on foot or bicycle through that area. People will not come if they don't feel safe. It won't happen right away, but once people start making the Upper port another destination and families can easily spend an entire day between the Upper and Lower port areas it will start to attract more businesses to the Upper port area that can stay in business more than a few months.
Lori Lyons October 13, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Thank you, Pam. I totally understand it would be a David vs. Goliath situation with regards to the roads, but I am willing to volunteer in any capacity to make this dream a reality! Talk about making Port Jefferson even more of a destination spot! The Ferry crowds would no longer just drive through town. Rather than reinvent the wheel, "we" should confer with other towns who have done this, and learn from their successes and mistakes. Kathianne - I love the idea of lockers at the beach! Mels Ditties - I love the idea of the KFC police substation, and Earls ideas regarding the cleanup first approach. No worries though about your ice-sculpting lessons, your time might be better spent getting a positive, optimistic attitude about our town. There are definitely negative obstacles that need addressing, but if addressed concurrently while making positive changes, the faster quality of life will start to improve. I'd rather reach for "Mayberry", then resign myself to "Oh-Wellsville".
Maryanne Bezyack October 13, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Lori Lyon's idea of a pedestrian mall on Main Street is terrific. In Long Beach Calif the restaurants on the main street have extensions of their places with tables and chairs outside with the areas, marked off by stanchions or shrubs, etc. New York City has the same (seasonally), as well as numerous other towns/cities. In our waterfront town it's important, and welcoming, to have outdoor eating spots. And, as a waterfront town I think it's very unusual that we do not have waterfront restaurants. (With the exception of Danford"s; and Graceful Rose is not on the waterfront). Mels Ditties has a great idea about using the KFC as a police substation. Plus "beat cops" on foot patrol would be good to interact with the residents. As far as losing the parking spacesif we were to make Main Street a pedestrian mall, space in the backs of stores should help. We need other ideas as well. Also, when one considers the spaces taken up by the motorcycles, I think it's important to remember that with motorcyclists (as well as boaters, race car owners. etc) a significant part of their hobby is the opportunity to look at and discuss each other's "pride and joy". Therefore it's important to provide a designated area for these recreationists to congregate. Perhaps the Brookhaven lot could have an attractive area with picnic tables, etc, that is pleasant to spend time in while sharing common interests. As for Upper Port - I'm awaiting the village's plan before I can comment
Fred October 14, 2012 at 01:21 AM
I love the idea of closing down Main St and making it a Pedestrian Mall. As for the shuttle, I think something like a trolley would be ideal. It could connect the RR Station so there is a viable link between the LIRR and the Ferry. Also weekend day trippers could park at the RR parking lot and ride down port with worrying about finding a parking spot while reducing traffic. A simple shuttle could provide this but something like a trolley could become a draw in itself. Keeping it running into the night will also reduce the drunks driving around
Mels Ditties October 14, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Thanx IJoan...very nice to know I have a fan out there...
Mels Ditties October 14, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Lori...."your time might be better spent getting a positive, optimistic attitude about our town" Believe it or not, when I came to this town over 7 years ago my attitude was upbeat and FULL of hopeful promise for my neck o' the woods (obviously uptown)...I tried...really I did...But instead of getting better, things just got worse and worse and worse to the point where they are now...My comments here are meant more as a last cry for help than they are a putdown...I still see potential in the area and hold on to a glimmer of hope that things CAN change for the better...
Lori Lyons October 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Mels - I am SO happy to hear that you do still have hope - even if it's just a glimmer - that's all we need! We can't give up! I agree that things uptown have become worse and we do need to concentrate on making that a spectacular entrance. I am anxiously awaiting the plan. I hope the "powers that be" are made aware of the ideas and thoughts written here, and would hope that they call on citizens like us to get involved. Have a wonderful day! : > )

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