The Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway, a path that extends east of Jones Beach for bicyclists, runners and walkers, is expected to get a 10-mile, $16.2 million extension by 2021, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced the project Tuesday.
"This extension will give more residents and visitors a safe, healthy and environmentally sound way to get around Long Island,” Cuomo said.
The New York State Department of Transportation extended the route from Jones Beach east along the Ocean Parkway in 2014. Cuomo christened the 3.6-mile, $3.8 million extension on June 5 that year. The planned addition will stretch the mixed-use path into Suffolk County. Its end point will be Captree State Park.
In the spring, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul cut the ribbon on another shared use path at Jones Beach, a 4.5-mile extension on the barrier island's West End connecting to the existing Greenway via the Jones Beach Boardwalk.
Hundreds of new plantings natural to Long Island's shoreline, including beach grass, evergreen trees, bayberry plants and beach plums, will be planted as part of the Ocean Parkway extension, and shaded rest stops will be placed about every three miles along the path, according to governor. Informational panels will also be installed detailing the history of Long Island's beachfront and highlighting the new vegetation and local wildlife. Signs will direct users and show distances to nearby public facilities.
The path, which will comply the Americans with Disabilities Act, will extend the smooth asphalt riding surface used on previous sections, and will feature standard lane markings and signs. New bicycle parking areas will be installed at Gilgo Beach, Cedar Beach Marina and Captree State Park.
Care will be taken, the governor said, to protect the habitat of the endangered piping plover, minimize impacts to existing vegetation and guard against erosion from rising water levels. Nesting boxes will be installed off the path as a safe space for growing wildlife.
To accommodate summer beach visitors, major construction began after Labor Day weekend. Project completion is scheduled for the summer of 2021.
Extending the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway will add to the 20 miles of shared-use paths built over the past decade on Long Island.
By the end of 2019, a new path will be completed along the Nassau Expressway (State Route 878) in the Town of Hempstead as part of a $130 million resiliency and safety enhancement project.
"We've been 'pedaling' this idea [for the Ocean Parkway extension] for a number of years now,” State Sen. John Brooks, a Democrat from Seaford, said, “and I'm proud to say the time has finally come. This is a most welcomed addition to the current pathways that have been a mainstay for local outdoor enthusiasts."
"In Nassau County we welcome opportunities to allow residents to safely bike, run, walk or skate — especially in parks and beaches,” County Executive Laura Curran said. “Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his work to complete the extension of the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway."
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said, "The pathway along Ocean Parkway provides our residents with a great recreational experience, as well as a safe, unique way to travel one of our state's most picturesque areas.”