April 26, 2019
Path Creates New Link to Future Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center and West End Preservation Area
Project Completed on Budget and Ahead of Schedule
"As warmer weather approaches, Long Island residents and visitors alike will now have a brand-new path to explore one of New York's treasured outdoor locations," Governor Cuomo said. "We are making historic investments in our parks and transportation infrastructure, and this path will give New Yorkers another great place to exercise and take in Jones Beach's unparalleled views."
"Parks are vital in our communities across the state, and Jones Beach is one of New York's most popular state parks," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today's announcement. "The shared use path provides an additional 4.5-mile trail for walkers, runners, cyclists, and skaters with picture-perfect views of the Atlantic Ocean. The project was completed ahead of schedule with no additional cost and links to existing paths on Long Island, giving people access to hundreds of miles of trails, increasing tourism and growing the economy."
The new path runs from Jones Beach Field 6, then along the picturesque Jones Beach Boardwalk to West End 2, where the new Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center will be located. The path offers a scenic view of the Atlantic Ocean as well as beach plantings. Traffic control signage was installed for the safety of the users and passing motorists.
The path also links to existing shared-use paths - the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway Shared Use Path and the Ellen Ferrant Memorial Bikeway - along the Ocean and Wantagh State Parkways, giving users access to hundreds of miles of bicycle routes throughout Long Island.
Announced by Governor Cuomo in November of 2017, the $3.5 million project was originally expected to halt during the summer of 2018 so as not to interfere with beach activities. However, the New York State Department of Transportation, working in coordination with the State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, was able to continue work through the summer with minimal inconveniences to park goers. The continued work allowed the project to be completed ahead of schedule with no additional costs due to the acceleration.
The new path adds to the more than 20 miles that NYSDOT had already added to Long Island's robust network of shared use paths in recent years. And by the end of 2019, another route will be added with the completion of a path along Nassau Expressway (State Route 878) in the Town of Hempstead, Nassau County.
In addition, construction will kick off later this year on an additional 10 miles of the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway Shared Use Path, which will then extend from Tobay Beach in the Town of Oyster Bay through the Town of Babylon to the end of the barrier island at Captree State Park in the Town of Islip.
West End Preservation Area and Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center
The Jones Beach Shared Use Path will also create a new connection from the park's popular Boardwalk to its pristine West End, where initiatives are underway to celebrate the unique Jones Beach coastal environment. Acting State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid today formally designated 218.5 acres of the Jones Beach State Park's West End as a Park Preservation Area in recognition of its outstanding ecological values, including plant and animal life, that are unique or rare in the state. Designation as a Park Preservation Area fosters a high level of stewardship by maintaining the ecological integrity of the preservation area through the management of all unique, rare, threatened, or endangered species of flora and fauna; limiting development to appropriate passive recreation such as hiking, fishing and birding; and encouraging scientific research, study and public environmental education.
Construction will also begin this month on a new Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center at West End 2. The new, sustainably designed Center will feature a variety of hands-on exhibits and programs, helping visitors appreciate Long Island's various ecosystems and learn how to use energy wisely, conserve water and create a more resilient and sustainable future. Featured exhibits will highlight how electricity is generated and distributed; how renewable power resources connect to the grid and the home; and how consumers can manage energy more efficiently to lower our carbon footprint.
The Energy and Nature Education Center, public-private partnership with PSEG Long Island, the Long Island Power Authority, New York Power Authority and private donors, will also provide modern space to expand and enhance the park's environmental education programs, including classroom space to instruct consumers in passive and renewable energy techniques. Exhibits and programs will also teach visitors what a Park Preservation Area is and how the designation benefits the park and its plant and animal life. Project renderings of the new Energy and Nature Education Center are available here. The facility is expected to open in late 2020.
Meadowbrook Parkway Gateway Improvements
Work is underway on $3.9 million project to create a more welcoming approach to Jones Beach. The project will demolish an abandoned toll plaza on Meadowbrook Parkway and build a monumental gateway sign to welcome visitors to Jones Beach State Park.
Use of the eight-lane toll plaza and brick office building, built in 1953, was discontinued in 2017. The project will eliminate the derelict structures at the park gateway and help improve traffic flow. Temporary lanes will be constructed to divert traffic around the plaza while the work is underway in early June. The project also includes new traffic pavement markings, signage, storm water drainage improvements, site restoration and a realigned entrance onto the Loop Parkway. Project completion is expected in September 2019.
In addition, State Parks is building a third gateway sign at Jones Beach, similar to those built at the Wantagh and Ocean Parkways. The "Gateway to Jones Beach" signs are illuminated with energy efficient LED lights, and are designed to blend with the park's signature Art Deco style. The sandstone and Barbizon brick match the materials park visionary Robert Moses selected for the Iconic Water Tower, East and West Bathhouse and other buildings throughout the park, and the lettering matches that on historic signs in the park.
Acting State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The Jones Beach Shared Use Path is an excellent new option for cyclists, runners, hikers and others to explore and enjoy this scenic area of Long Island. The Shared Use Path, the future Energy and Nature Center and the West End all build on our work to revitalize Jones Beach State Park, create new ways for visitors to explore the park, and celebrate its natural, historic and aesthetic splendor."
Senator John Brooks said, "Bike trails provide a recreational opportunity which may be enjoyed by many. Here on Long Island, we have many wonderful parks and beaches. Being able to access them by bike, or just walking the trail, will attract people to enjoy the beauty of nature and our State Park System."
Assembly Member David McDonough said, "It was a privilege and an honor to be present today at the unveiling of the new Jones Beach State Park Shared Use Path created for bicyclists, joggers, in line skaters to enjoy the Park in a natural green way thereby enhancing the environment. Jones Beach State Park has always been the crown jewel of the NYS Parks Department this addition will just enhance the experience of visiting the Park."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, "The new shared-use path will make Jones Beach safer, cleaner, more accessible for cyclists and pedestrians, and more enjoyable for families. Nassau County is committed to supporting projects like these that provide additional transportation choices for our residents."
Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen said, "The new path will undoubtedly provide greater non-polluting access to the jewels of the South Shore, our public beaches and shoreline. I thank our partners in the state for providing residents with a fun, safe and healthy alternative to driving."
LIPA CEO Thomas Falcone said, "The Jones Beach Shared Use Path will connect visitors to the Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center when it opens in 2020. LIPA is excited to help visitors learn more about energy and how we can all contribute to keep our Island resilient for generations to come. Both of these additions make Jones Beach a premier Long Island recreational destination. I commend Governor Cuomo for his continued investment in Long Island's parks."
Dan Eichhorn, President and CEO of PSEG Long Island, said, "We at PSEG Long Island are pleased to see that this new shared-use path has been completed early. We're working with our public and private partners to create a new Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center that will inspire everyone to conserve energy and protect nature, and I can think of a better way to prepare people for this education experience than taking a walk through the beautiful West End Preservation Area on this new path."
The projects continue the revitalization of historic Jones Beach State Park. Since 2011, State Parks has completed more than $50 million in projects restore Jones Beach State Park's historic grandeur, attract new visitors and create new recreational facilities as part of a multi-year revitalization plan. Projects completed include the rehabilitation of the West Bathhouse Complex and Field 6, restoration of the historic Central Mall mosaics, new playgrounds at the West Games Area and Zach's Bay, new gateway signage and the completion of the new Boardwalk Café restaurant. The park improvements reflect Governor Cuomo's NY Parks 2020 commitment to revitalizing the state park system.
Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in work zones. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual's driver's license.