BY JORDAN GIBBONS
Daniel Solow of North Woodmere on Long Island has been biking to work in Far Rockaway since April and he could not help noticing how convenient it would be if Southern Queens had a designated path for cyclists, joggers and pedestrians.
After he participated in the New York City Century Bike Tour, where he completed a 75-mile route, he thought about finding ways to improve the conditions for the communities around where he lived and worked.
“I enjoyed that and liked having that access to the City,” Solow said. “I thought, ‘what about the area that I live in?’”
After asking around, he found out about a City-wide Greenway plan that was created in 1993. The original plan was only partially completed and in 2000, the City released an outline including possible ways to link Highland Park to Brookville Park and eventually up to Alley Pond Park and Joe Michael’s Mile.
The plan was to create a safe path for bikers and pedestrians to travel to Queens parkland along Conduit Avenue, Belt Parkway, Laurelton Parkway and the Cross Island Parkway without having to worry about high speed vehicles passing by. Only portions of this Greenway plan were finished.
Solow knew that his goal would be more attainable if he set his sights on petitioning the City to complete this Greenway project that currently has paths in Northeast Queens and in Laurelton.
“In this part of Queens, there really isn’t that much parkland,” he said. “Why don’t we finish the job?”
Solow said he has traveled on the path along Laurelton Parkway, but some stretches are unkempt and end abruptly in areas. There is also no additional lighting other than the light provided by the roadway, which makes this mode of transportation or exercise less inviting at night.
This is a different project than the highly-debated QueensWay project, which is proposed to span north and south from Rego Park to Ozone Park. Solow also wants to make sure people realize that this is not just a bike path that he is looking for.
“We can continue that path and give people in Southeast Queens the same kind of safety and thrill of a bike path,” he said. “But, Greenway paths are for pedestrians, runners, bicycling, skaters and are ADA accessible.”
While Solow is still in the early process of his campaign, he is working on building a coalition of supporters for the project. He said he is currently focused on getting the support of the communities in the areas before he takes it to the local elected officials.
In 2015, he said he is planning on speaking at meetings for Community Boards 12 and 13, as well as meeting with the Southern Queens Park Association.
Once he gains enough support from the community, he said he will try to get the City to conduct a feasibility study.
Solow said he knows he may have a long road ahead of him, but he thinks this is the best time due to the mindset of a lot of healthy and environmentally-conscious New Yorkers.
“The best thing about this project is there is a culture for this growing throughout the City,” he said. “People want an alternative way to go around.”
For more information about the campaign, visit www.southqueensgreenway.com. To contact Solow, fill out the contact form on the website. He also has a petition on www.change.org, where anyone can sign on to pledge their support.
Reach Reporter Jordan Gibbons at (718)357-7400, Ext. 123, firstname.lastname@example.org or @jgibbons2.