This is the history behind any effort to create a greenway here. We’ll start by discussing SQGW from a citywide perspective.
A Greenway Plan for New York City, 1993
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.
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 wider than others to accommodate existing street conditions along the path. When completed the entire route would span 32 miles.
Below are examples of cross sectional diagrams of the trail taken directly from the 2000 proposal.
Today: An incomplete bike network
Today, the Laurelton Greenway (0.7 miles), the section of the Southern Queens Greenway cutting through Brookville Park (0.8 miles), and the trail starting from 100th Ave and 222nd St to Joe Michael’s Mile by the Throgs Neck Bridge (7.7 miles), comprise a total of 9.2 miles, only 29% of the original 32 mile trail. (They are recognized in the NYC Bike Map by a solid green line.) Large swaths of Southern and Eastern Queens are left without trails or even safe on-street bicycle routes.
One of the goals of SQGW is to connect the sporadic and disconnected routes in Eastern Brooklyn and Southern Queens to give communities a safe place to walk, run and bike.