1993: A Greenway Plan for New York City
In 1993, the City of New York had proposed to construct 350 miles of trails throughout the five boroughs. The 350 mile network, when fully realized, would offer unparalleled access to top city attractions and city parks. When envisioned, the trails were planned to be built alongside existing rail and highway right-of-ways, river corridors, waterfronts, parks, and on streets. Communities would be able to access regional attractions such as Bear Mountain and Jones Beach State Park. Suburban communities on the city’s edge would have an alternative connection reaching New York City.
2000: Conduit/Southern Queens/Laurelton/Cross Island Greenway
Long name, we know. In 2000, the city agencies released a plan which outlined how the greenways could be built for Southern and Eastern Queens. Included are the proposed routes, street designs, costs of materials (in 2000 dollars), and the neighborhoods it would intersect. The different sections include Conduit Boulevard, Southern Queens along the Belt Parkway, Laurelton Parkway, and Cross Island Parkway. Some segments are completely off-street (i.e. Conduit and Belt Parkway), and some are on-street; certain areas of the Greenway are narrower than others to accommodate existing street conditions along the path. When completed the entire route would span 32 miles.
2017: Bike Lane Upgrade
A stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway (originally included in the 2000 proposal) previously linked the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway to Joe Michael’s Mile in a substandard manner, requiring bicycle riders to share the road with traffic wherever there wasn’t a bike lane. They were also relegated to a narrow sidewalk on Northern Boulevard.
Substantial improvements were approved in 2017 and are on their way to completion in 2018, using protected bike lanes instead, with an extension to Douglastion. Bicycle riders can now ride from Fresh Meadows to Bayside in a low-stress manner on a nearly uninterrupted two-way bike path truly separated from automobile traffic.
Read more about this update here on Eastern Queens Greenway.
While Northeastern Queens is finally getting significant new bike lanes and street safety projects, Southern Queens remains the same. Today, the Laurelton Greenway (0.7 miles), a section of greenway in Brookville Park (0.8 miles), and the bike lanes between 100th Avenue and 222nd Street and Joe Michael’s Mile (7.7 miles) comprise a total of 9.2 miles, only 29% of the original 32 mile trail.