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Locals Ask the City to Explore Extending Queens Bike Path to Long Island

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | December 30, 2014 12:31pm
 A portion of the former Long Island Motor Parkway runs through Queens.
A portion of the former Long Island Motor Parkway runs through Queens.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — A Queens community board is asking the city to explore a plan that would extend the Long Island Motor Parkway greenway to connect with a trail being built by Nassau County.

Community Board 13, which covers Glen Oaks, Floral Park, Cambria Heights and Queens Village, supported the project unanimously earlier this month and sent a letter to the city's Department of Transportation asking the agency to study the plan.

“This proposed greenway would link the existing Brooklyn Queens Greenway with Nassau’s project … for the first time providing an east-west walking, running and cycling route through Queens, Nassau and Suffolk,” the letter read. “And importantly, it would give our community access to both greenways.”

The DOT said Monday that it has received the letter and the agency is currently reviewing it.

The Queens portion of the greenway currently runs between Cunningham Park and Alley Pond Park, along the former Long Island Motor Parkway. The parkway, which originally ran from Queens to Lake Ronkonkoma, was built by William Kissam Vanderbilt in 1908. It was closed three decades later after the Grand Central Parkway was built nearby.

The proposal seeks to extend the greenway from the corner of Winchester Boulevard and Union Turnpike, where it currently ends, to Little Neck Parkway, near the Nassau County border.

Nassau County is currently redeveloping other portions of the former Long Island Motor Parkway into a trail for hikers and bicyclists. In October, the state allocated an additional $1.82 million for that project.

The land between the Queens greenway and Little Neck Parkway is owned by a number of state and city agencies, including the New York State Office of Mental Health, according to Joby Jacob, 39, a biology professor from Hollis Hills, who established Motor Parkway East, a group advocating for the project.

Jacob said that the feasibility study would determine where the extension should be built. Depending on its route, it would be up to 3 miles long.

Jacob also said that later in the process the state would have to issue a permit allowing the city’s DOT to built the project.

The extension, he noted, would create "a way to connect the communities in Eastern Queens with communities like Glen Oaks and Little Neck so you don’t necessarily need to get in a car to go visit your friends,” said Jacob.

Last March, Assemblyman David Weprin and State Senator Tony Avella introduced a bill in Albany in which they also asked “to conduct a study pertaining to a proposed expansion of the Long Island Motor Parkway."