WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Thursday was a gorgeous day for a bike ride, but Long Islanders know that they can’t ride their bikes to the beach, because the state-run bike trails stop short of the beach.
On an island surrounded by water, bike riders don’t have an ocean view. They can bike along many parkways, but not along the beach. But change is en route.
WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall reports
Oceanfront trails — like the kind seen on Cape Cod — will be a reality.
“Say no more,” one man told CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff. “That’s fantastic.”
“That would be neat,” another woman added.
A commitment was made from state transportation and parks commissioners, as they unveiled plans for new bike trails.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said that money has been allocated to carve out 14 miles of trails along Ocean Parkway.
Thousands use existing trails, and have long complained that Long Island has no beach bike trails.
“Well that’s absurd, and that’s what we want to end,” state Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. said. “And the commitment of the extension of 14 miles is welcomed.”
Wheels are also turning to link up existing trails with Jones Beach. Currently, the trail ends prematurely, and bikers have to park and walk the last mile.
“You have to stop three-quarters of a mile from the beach, and then trudge through the very hot parking lot with your kids and your stuff to get to the beach,” said Michael Vitti of Long Island Greenways and Healthy Trails. ”It isn’t a very good experience.”
But a $1 million solution is coming. The bike trail is being expanded, and it will allow bikers to go that extra mile directly to the ocean.
“The last mile is sometimes the best mile,” McDonald said. ”It links the seven miles of parkway that are already built directly to the beach.”
“They encourage everybody to walk, hike, bike and jog,” New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said.
The last mile to Jones Beach will be built after the summer, but bikers said they’re glad that the long wait for a direct route is in the home stretch.
In all, 18 miles of new trails are being added on Long Island, including in Bethpage State Park and in Port Jefferson.
Long Islanders, how excited are you about the 14 miles of new trails? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…