While walking in Bethpage State Park earlier this month, Tom Dziurka noticed activity in a closed off construction area near the Motor Parkway right-of-way. After receiving an alert from Tom, Al Velocci and I met with members of the New York Department of Transportation at the construction site last week. Here is our report.
The NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is planning to extend the existing 8.8 mile Bethpage Bike Path from the picnic fields at Bethpage State Park through Trail View State Park on to Syosset, terminating at the LIRR Station, in a combination Shared Use Path/ On-Road facility with a total length of 16.8 miles.
Approximately 1/2 mile of the new 7-mile section of the Bethpage Bikeway will be built on the historic Motor Parkway in Bethpage State Park in Old Bethpage. This 1950 aerial of the Motor Parkway shows the area under construction including near one of the first banked curves built for the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race.
The new construction begins after the turn for the picnic fields. This view looking north is directly in the Motor Parkway right-of-way. It is very likely similar to the 1908 construction site.
Fortunately, the banked curved section will be left untouched and preserved.
Another view looking north. Historic markers will be placed promoting the history of the Long Island Motor Parkway and the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race.
A view looking south. The bike path is being built to the right.
After the curve, the bike path continues along the Motor Parkway right-of way for about 400 yards (four football fields).
These amazing exclusive photos were taken on March 12, 2012 during the early construction of the bike path. Hidden for over 50 years by soil, leaves and debris, the pavement of the 103-year old Motor Parkway was uncovered!
One week later, much of this uncovered treasure was buried once again by crushed concrete to be used for the bike path. Al Velocci can be seen standing on original pavement discussing the construction with members of the Department of Transportation.
A section of the Motor Parkway awaiting to be repaved for its new use as a bike path.
The new "Motor Parkway" bike path is expected to open this summer. Given the preservation of the banked curve, the placement of historical markers, and its new use as a bike path, members of the Long Island Motor Parkway Preservation Society are very positive about this project. Thanks Tom for the heads up!!