Friday, 03 August 2012 00:00
I want to thank local cyclists for notifying the Nassau County government about their wish for more bike paths.
First, I should note that Nassau Department of Public Works (DPW) engineers indicated to me that a bike path is not logistically possible on West Shore Road. I am working to document the reasons for that and will share the information.
In general, it has been my pleasure to speak with many cyclists over the past few days. I wish the entire North Shore was set up for safe biking. Unfortunately, there is very little in the way of bike paths to be found anywhere. I have begun the process of speaking with our state and federal government to see what can be done locally to make Long Island more cycling-friendly. Our beautiful, scenic roads were laid out long ago, when biking was not part of the picture. To modernize our roads for recreation will take a lot of effort – mainly from higher levels of government.
In terms of West Shore Road, this renovation project has been many years in the making. Originally, plans included a large amount of funding from several sources, including the Federal Government. Therefore, the governments involved at that time explored adding amenities to the road, such as a bike path.
At this point in time, however, only Nassau County is involved in the repairs and the situation has become an emergency. Because of the financial challenges the county is facing, preserving public safety is the priority for this project. A basic renovation has been ordered to ensure that crumbling roadway is made stable for traffic. (This road is the main artery in and out of town and the main emergency / supply route in the instance of a disaster.) And, again, it is my understanding from DPW reports that there is no way to even add a path logistically.
The details for the planned repairs of West Shore Road have been made by engineers at the DPW. They have spent a good deal of time creating blueprints for a new West Shore Road that will be: 1) safe for cars; 2) beneficial for the adjacent protected wetlands; and 3) much more attractive to the community.
The plans and the budget for West Shore Road repairs are managed by Nassau DPW, as directed by the Nassau County administration, under County Executive Edward Mangano. I am glad that both DPW and the administration have been working on this. I will continue to urge all parties involved to treat these repairs as urgent.