New Paths at Jones Beach, Bethpage Park and Setauket to Add More Than 18 Miles to State’s 172 Miles of Bike Routes on Long Island
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey today visited three new bicycle/multi-use path construction project sites on Long Island, highlighting the more than 18 miles of new path being added to the State’s 172 miles of on- and off-road bike routes across the island. Approximately 24 percent of the state’s highways on Long Island, including most non-interstate and non-parkway roads, accommodate cyclists.
“The New York State Department of Transportation is about more than roads and bridges,” Commissioner Joan McDonald said. “Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership on smart growth and sustainable development reinforces the critical role bicycle paths play in our multi-modal transportation system. We’re pleased to partner with the State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in expanding opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians, and encouraging them to enjoy all the natural beauty Long Island has to offer this summer.”
NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey said, “Transportation and recreation often go hand in hand. With 18 miles of new multi-use paths, cyclists, runners, hikers and others will have even more opportunities to get out and explore Long Island’s beautiful landscape. I am grateful to Commissioner McDonald and the state Department of Transportation for their partnership in creating these tremendous new resources for safe and healthy recreation.”
Commissioners McDonald and Harvey were joined by bike enthusiasts and elected officials at the planned Ocean Parkway Jones Beach Bike Access Project site in Hempstead, Nassau County, and at two locations where multi-use paths are under construction: the Bethpage State Park Bikeway Expansion Project site in Oyster Bay, Nassau County, and the Setauket-Port Jefferson Multi-Use Path Project site in Brookhaven, Suffolk County. Combined, the three represent an estimated $11.5 million investment this year in new paths for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles on Long Island.
Ocean Parkway-Jones Beach Access Multi-Use Path, Hempstead
The commissioners started their day in Hempstead at the proposed Ocean Parkway-Jones Beach Access Multi-Use Path, which will provide a vital 0.7 mile connection between the end of the 7.5-mile Wantagh State Parkway Multi-Use Path and the Jones Beach State Park East Bath House. It will be constructed through the Jones Beach Theater parking area to the pedestrian underpass, where new storage will be provided for 100 bicycles. The project contract is scheduled to be let this fall, with construction completed next spring at a cost of approximately $1 million.
State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. said, “Many residents from all across Long Island ride, run, and walk on the Wantagh Parkway Bike Path every single day. This project will give them greater access to Jones Beach, which is the crown jewel of the state parks system, and provide a critical link to the planned Ocean Parkway Bike Path. I’m pleased New York State is making this investment to improve the bike path for all who use it.”
Assemblyman Dave McDonough said, “I am pleased that the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have come together to extend the bikepath at beautiful Jones Beach which will have numerous benefits to our residents by increasing mobility and accessibility through Jones Beach Park by bicycle and increasing the health benefits of bicycling.”
Bethpage State Park Multi-Use Path Extension, Oyster Bay
The commissioners also viewed construction under way on the Bethpage State Park Multi-Use Path Extension in Oyster Bay. The project is extending the path six miles from a picnic area, through Trail View State Park to Woodbury Road. The existing path dates to the 1970s. An additional 2.4-mile on-road bike-access way is also being provided.
This project includes enhancements to a remnant of the original Long Island Motor Parkway and the installation of information kiosks, destination signs and new park-and-bike lots. The $6.5 million bikeway extension is being constructed by the United Fence and Guard Rail Corporation of Ronkonkoma under contract with NYSDOT.
State Senator Kemp Hannon said, “Trails and greenways make our communities more livable, preserve and restore open space, and provide opportunities for physical activity to improve fitness and mental health.”
State Senator Carl L. Marcellino said, “Extending the trail way to the Syosset Railroad Station is an environmentally sound way to move people around Long Island. When someone decides to ride a bike to work, they open up room on our congested road system. And, of course, cyclists produce no pollution, add little wear to our roads and are also improving their personal health as they ride. This is a win-win for everybody.”
Assemblyman Charles Lavine said, “The Bethpage Parkway Bike Path Extension will create a safer path for both experienced and recreational cyclists. This new extension will encourage more Long Islanders to use their bikes and will enhance the vitality of the community as a whole.”
Assemblyman Joseph Saladino said, “New York State residents have always embraced the environment and outdoor recreation. I hope that everyone will take an opportunity to use this trail. I know they will enjoy it.”
Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs said, “This is a very important step toward alleviating our dependence on cars by giving people a safer alternative way to get to their destination.”
Mickey Miller, president of the Old Bethpage Citizens Advisory Group, said, “On behalf of the Old Bethpage Citizens Advisory Group, my thanks to the DOT for giving Long Island a world class bike path.”
Setauket to Port Jefferson Multi-Use Path, Brookhaven
Finally, the commissioners went to Brookhaven to tour the site of the Phase II extension of the popular Setauket to Port Jefferson Multi-Use Path. Construction there is scheduled to begin in August and be completed in May 2014.
This $3.4 million, two-mile extension will provide a safe, accessible, non-motorized path between residential, recreational and retail areas between NY Route 25A in Setauket and NY Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station. Porous concrete is being used to facilitate drainage in a new parking field, and information kiosks and new path signs are being installed. Boulders from the property are being reused and placed to prevent ATVs from accessing the path. Two new traffic signals are being provided at Gnarled Hollow Road to enhance safety there for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists.
Virtually every state road on Long Island features some accommodation for bicycling, except for high-volume highways and parkways where bicycling is prohibited. One particularly picturesque example is the Montauk Highway/NY Route 27, a 37-mile-long, signed, on-road bike route between Southampton and the Montauk Lighthouse. Another is NY Route 114, a three-mile signed bike route between Shelter Island and Sag Harbor, which includes a tranquil ferry ride.
Congressman Tim Bishop said, “With the completion of the Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway, federal funds I secured will continue to enhance our North Shore communities for decades to come. I appreciate the work of everybody who has supported this outstanding resource for bikers, hikers, and nature lovers.”
Senator Ken LaValle said, “The Setauket to Port Jefferson Multi-Use Path will provide a recreational trail that offers a safe venue for bike riders and hikers to enjoy the great outdoors and the beauty of Long Island’s north shore.”
Charlie McAteer, chair of the Friends of the Greenway said, “The Friends of the Greenway acknowledge the great cooperation with the federal, state, county and town governments in the creation of the Setauket to Port Jefferson Station Multi-Use trail. This path is already considered a jewel, tying our two communities together while providing alternative transportation to gas-powered vehicles. Our neighborhood is a better place for the foresight of this Greenway project, the governmental officials who funded it, and NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald and her hard working staff.”
Copies of the Long Island Bikeways map and additional information regarding Long Island bike facilities may be obtained at http://www.511ny.org/rideshare/rideshare.aspx?FolderID=149. General information about cycling in New York State is available at www.dot.ny.gov/display/programs/bicycle.