Ocean Parkway is arguably the most scenic drive on all of Long Island in the summertime. Sharing that pleasure has been somewhat limited for cyclists, runners, skaters and those who just want a non-motorized path along the length of the parkway out to its eastern terminus at Captree State Park.
That’s about to change.
On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that work will begin on the 10-mile stretch being added to the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway Shared Use Path, connecting the existing greenway on the northern side of the parkway all the way from Wantagh Parkway to Captree State Park.
Once completed, the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway will consist of over 14 miles of green transportation paths. Currently, the most eastern point of the greenway ends at Tobay Beach.
Construction is expected to cost $16.2 million for the project to build the last section of the greenway. Work started after Labor Day weekend this fall and is estimated to be completed by the summer of 2021.
According to the New York State Department of Transportation, in 2013, a pathway a little less than a mile long was completed to connect the end of the 4.5-mile Wantagh State Parkway Shared Use Path and the Jones Beach State Park East Bath House. Later, more mileage was added to connect Jones Beach State Park and Tobay Beach in Nassau County.
This new project will extend the greenway from Tobay Beach all the way to Captree State Park.
“This extension will give more residents and visitors a safe, healthy and environmentally sound way to get around Long Island,” said Gov. Cuomo in a statement announcing the start of the project.
The pathway will consist of new plantings of native vegetation like beach grass, evergreen trees, bayberry plants, and beach plums. Piping plover nesting areas will be respected and nesting boxes will be installed off the path. Designers were said to be conscious of the path’s effect on erosion and the existing natural environment.
Along the path there will be shaded rest stops about every three miles, informational panels detailing the history of Long Island’s beachfront and highlighting the new vegetation and local wildlife. Mile markers will be displayed on the path as well as distances to nearby public facilities.
The path is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A cable guardrail will be installed to separate motorists on Ocean Parkway from greenway path users. There will also be no direct access to existing residential communities from the path.
Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter thanked the state for the enhancement of the South Shore of Long Island for residents and visitors alike.
“Our waterfront is one of our most cherished resources and we look forward to the benefit this project will bring to our residents and their enjoyment of our waterways,” Carpenter said.
See the rendering below.