The Vanderbilt Motorparkway is as good as a superhighway to anyone who walks, runs, or bikes in Northeastern Queens. The scenic trail winds through residential neighborhoods and connects Alley Pond and Cunningham Parks.
Originally constructed in the 1920’s, it’s needed and received little maintenance since. The last time it was repaved was in the 1970’s.
Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) recently requested the funds to resurface the popular neighborhood amenity and secured an initial $1.25 million.
At a Town Hall meeting last Thursday, Mayor De Blasio announced that the City Council would grant his request to repave the entire trail and allocate an additional $4 million to the project!
“It was like a civic Christmas cometh early!!!” neighborhood activist Tammy Osherov replied.
While the initial funds were only enough to pave from Winchester Boulevard to Springfield Boulevard, the total $5.25 million is enough to cover the full length, to Holy Cow Playground near St. Francis Preparatory School.
At a recent scoping meeting with the Parks Department, Eastern Queens Greenway pointed out that the previous repaving narrowed the road width at various points. The historic roadbed extends to the concrete boundaries on either side. Although the asphalt has eroded in many places, the right of way remains intact and most un-encroached upon by mature, native vegetation. Much of the edge vegetation consists of invasive species, like knotgrass, which the Parks Department is actively trying to remove in order to preserve the natural ecosystem.
A wider path will enable more people, especially families, children, and seniors, to safely enjoy a range of activities in the park, including walking, jogging, running, dog-walking, cycling, roller-blading, skate boarding, commuting, bird-watching, sight-seeing, and spending time with family. Eastern Queens Greenway hopes that the historic width can remain consistent throughout the entire facility, but understands that this may not be possible at certain bottlenecks, specifically between Hollis Hills Terrace and Francis Lewis Boulevard.