Cyclists who are ready to bike deep into the West End of Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh will no longer have to wait until the summer of 2019, according to officials from the New York State Department of Transportation.
A 4.5-mile extension on the Jones Beach Shared Use Path should be completed six months ahead of schedule with no additional costs to taxpayers anticipated, officials said. With this new timeline, cyclists would be able to see the park’s more natural side by the end of 2018, should they feel inclined to brave the winter weather and ride from Cedar Creek Park in Seaford to the beach.
In November 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo green-lit this $3.5 million proposal from New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which is coordinating the project with the Department of Transportation. According to officials, construction on the extension was supposed to temporarily halt for the summer months. Now, the project is moving forward through the summer, with the path’s construction expected to wrap up before the end of 2018.
“The Jones Beach Shared Use Path offers cyclists, runners, and others an ideal place to explore Long Island’s beautiful landscape and strengthens Jones Beach as a top tourism destination,” said Rose Harvey, State Parks Commissioner. “I’m grateful to the Department of Transportation for supporting this project.”
The extension will come with additional bike racks, greenery, signage and lighting, and will also extend the existing guiderail to protect riders on the newly built path. The original guiderail was installed after a motorcyclist struck and killed Matt Scarpati, a 19-year-old rider from Dix Hills, who had stopped along the path to fix a flat tire on his bicycle.
This project is separate from a new 10-mile path that would connect Tobay Beach to Captree State Park, which is scheduled to begin construction in the summer of 2019. Cyclists around Cedar Creek Park, such as Harvey Perlowitz of Merrick, were quick to mention the difference between these two projects.
Perlowitz, a veteran long-distance cyclist, said that he and other serious cyclists are anxiously awaiting the path’s extension to Captree as they continue to take their usual 17-mile rides from Seaford to Tobay Beach and back. But, he said, the extension out to the West End is still a welcome addition to existing pathways, especially for recreational riders and families looking for a new weekend ride.
“It’s a win-win for active Long Islanders,” Perlowitz said, “or anyone who can walk it, run it, or bike it.”