WELCOME to the Save the Long Island Motor Parkway site! It was created to provide historic information and to organize support for preservation and conversion of the bulk of this historic road into a recreational resource such as a hiking/walking/biking shared use bike trail, separate from auto traffic wherever possible. We need to remain vigilant to prevent further loss of this potential greenbelt, since some of the land could still be developed and lost forever. Nassau County formally hired a consultant in September 2009 to create a master plan for the entire former LI Motor Parkway and parts of the adjacent central RR Corridor within the county. The Master plan is now complete, and was released at a news conference on June 3, 2011 by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. A pilot project will create a trail link in the Eisenhower park area and will include a trail along Salisbury Park Drive, which itself was part of the Motor Parkway. A new group, known as the LI Motor Parkway Preservation Society has been created, combining many interested parties including the LI Motor Parkway Panel and LIGHT. The next project is to find funding for the rest of the trail!

Map from NEWSDAY

There was major news coverage in the October 24, 2005 edition of Newsday, including detailed maps in the "fold" section. A crew of volunteers including Sam Berliner cleared the route of the parkway in Old Bethpage Village, Battle Row Campgrounds, and Bethpage State Park a few years ago and much is easily walked or bicycled now. We rode on February 18 2008 when it was only 15 degrees Farenheit, from Bethpage State Park to Eisenhower Park along the undeveloped Parkway and Central RR corridor. There was only ONE obstruction along the entire route!

Thank you for all of the support over the years. Nassau County was once planning to sell many small parcels that include portions of the original right-of way for the parkway but will now hold on to all properties related to the parkway. In fact a disputed segment in Levittown was sold to a developer and they have been trying to build huge homes on it, potentially dooming part of the trail in that spot. However, the builder was never able to get approvals from the town and hopefully will sell the lands back for a reasonable price. We do have a bypass already planned along the Central RR corrridor if that should fail. A critical need is to save Deadman's curve in Bethpage. It may be town or county land but it could be sold off if we do not act to save this historic engineering marvel.

We are now working with Parks and Trails NY (PTNY) and also have support from the LI Greenbelt trail conference and other groups to preserve these historic corridors. PTNY has chosen the Motor Parkway as one of its Key LI projects, and is meeting with our committee, including the consultant team, community groups, and local officials to further the project and gather citizen input. We also have formed a new group, Coalition for LIGHT (Long Island Greenways and Healthy Trails) to work towards the fulfillment of this goal. LIGHT will operate as a subgroup of CLIMB (Concerned Long Island Mountain Bikers). NYS parks has decided to reuse the Bethpage state park segment as part of the already funded Bethpage Bikeway extension. Much progress in cleaning up the segment in Old Bethpage Village, including the historic bridge, was done by the Model A Ford Club and some LI Motor Parkway Panel volunteers. More work was also done in Bethpage State Park and Battle Row Campgrounds. You have to see this... the old road unearthed after all this time is STILL in very good shape where bulldozers never attacked it! The Old Bethpage Village Reservation bridge still supported the weight of a county bulldozer, so hopefully it will pass engineering inspections too. Huntington Town has expressed new interest in its portion of the old road, hoping to get a trail easement on sections near Bagatelle road, preserving the Maxess road bridge abutments with the help of an adjacent landowner and placing a historic sign nearby on Maxess road. Huntington also supports the trail leading from the Edgewood Preserve, rebuilding of the now-demolished bridge on Commack road and then a trail along the LIPA transmission right-of ways to reach the extant LI Motor Parkway in Melville

Slowly but surely good things are beginning to happen. It is VITAL that all remaining LI Motor parkway roadbed and historic structures such as remaining bridges and posts be protected and preserved. The goal to create a bike and walking path should not only preserve what remains, but repair and stabilize it. Where road sections have been obliberated, a new path could be constructed to mimic and follow the old road as much as feasible, using adjacent right of ways, and even local streets where this is no longer possible. There has been, and remains, a lot of competition for project funding. We can suceed only if people continue to support this goal. We had some visitors here in January 2003 and again in May of 2004 who toured the entire length from Western Suffolk to the Queens line and were impressed with the idea of saving it as a walking and/or bike trail. Furthermore, NYDOT has created "Corridor 16" which is the proposed Edgewood Preserve to Eisenhower park route in their long term plans. Only the portion from Edgewood to Bethpage state park was prioritized but lost the status again as liability concerns became an issue. This is just a MINOR setback in our humble opinion since there is still strong local and regional support. Please write to your state and local legislators and officials and also contact the DOT staff, the National Park service and join www.ptny.org and show some support if you have a few moments, LIPA has agreed to consider supporting this too and is helping determine ownership of the Right Of Way. They are of course concerned about liability themselves so we must find a way to insure the route or determine if the NYS recreational use statute will indemnify LIPA and the local towns and counties from lawsuits. Any FREE legal expertise on this issue is certainly appreciated! We have been waiting to hear back from the MTA who owns the abandoned Central Branch ROW used by LIPA. Nassau County has hired the engineering consulting firm VHB Associates to create a master plan for the entire Motor Parkway route within that county. This master plan is very thorough and now completed. with them, PTNY, the county, the towns and LIPA to move forward... The time to get it started is now!

The historic road is also locally known as Motor Parkway and Vanderbilt Parkway. The eastern segment, about one third of the original length, remains in use as a public road. There is growing interest in outdoor activities. We feel there is a need for a good trail running from east to west in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Using the old LI Motor Parkway right of way along with other greenbelts would create a better environment and provide us with an opportunity to get out of our motor vehicles safely. There is presently enough remaining open land to create a trail from Melville near Bagatelle Rd, to Old Bethpage Village, to Bethpage state park, and all the way west to Eisenhower park, using the Motor parkway and where necessary, especially where they ran within a few feet of one another, the old LIRR central ROW. There also are major segments further west that can be used, especially west of Roosevelt Field, and the areas just west of Carle place, and major sections near Shelter Rock road, possibly connecting to Queens, where the road is largely intact as a bikepath. Of course we may have to use some public roads where the Right of way has been developed or is presently in use as local roads.

The first priority is to get the various government entities who control the remaining right of way to agree on a preservation plan and then possibly a hiking trail so that development does not erase more of this historical road. Segments that are being used by LIPA are probably not in immediate danger, but the rest can be destroyed due to lack of any preservation plans. I have contacted Huntington town and copied the tax maps to determine who owns the Right of way (ROW) in the western Suffolk area. We have requested open space evaluation by the town, and others have begun to look into open space acquisitions in Babylon town also. The Maxess road old bridge area is endangered. Old Bethpage Village recently began cleaning up it's road footage and remaining bridge after we requested some action, and we are working with Bethpage state park also. If anyone has knowledge of any ROW that is in imminent danger of being developed please pass it along to us. A hiking trail can easily be created with volunteers who can get together and cut down some overgrown areas just to make it accessible and hikable. In areas where it is appropriate, bike paths can be added later, such as along the LIRR central where the ROW is wide and the parkway ran parallel.

Creating a network of recreational trails for bicycles, walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, and anyone else who enjoys the outdoors in a non-motorized transportation you can think of is essential. Please consider supporting these goals so we can avoid getting in the car just to travel a mile to the local park or strip mall. These projects include creating such trails from Belmont Lake to Babylon Village, a 13 mile trail along Ocean Parkway from Jones Beach to Captree and eventually Robert Moses Beach, another connecting the Edgewood Preserve via the old bridge on Commack and over to Eisenhower and the rest of the Motor Parkway. Perhaps even adding trails along the Sagtikos Parkway and Robert Moses Causeway to the beaches! Also, an extension of the Bethpage parkway bike path to Syosset, another 12 mile route along the abandoned LIRR Wading River branch, and of course my favorite, restoring the ENTIRE remaining LI Motor parkway, (AKA Vanderbilt parkway) as a recreational path running from Western Suffolk to Queens, where the bike path already exists. It's hard to get people motivated to support these projects, and there is always one local resident who fights it tooth and nail because they feel an increase in crime will come with the "outsiders" coming through. However, in other areas where such trails have been built, home values INCREASED and crime decreased, it actually improved the quality of life in the area and created a park like atmosphere in these areas where it was safe for local children to play away from motor vehicles.

It's much more relaxing and fun when you can go out for a ride or walk and not have to deal with traffic clogged roads, diesel fumes, inconsiderate motorists and noise. The ribbon park and extended greenbelt open space concept is one whose time has come. Please support these plans by checking off the boxes on the form, and speaking in favor of them whenever possible. Anyone interested in supporting any of the bikepath projects should visit the The LI Motorparkway site , The Rail-Trail site, and The Old Bridgefor more info and let the powers that be know of your support!

We were attempting to save the old bridge that crossed Commack road in Dix Hills rebuilt about 1 mile south of the LIE. It was NOT related in any way to the Motor parkway, but did connect a vital hiking and bike trail that ran over it and a replacement could EASILY connect to the LI Motor Parkway trail in Melville. Sadly, Suffolk County DPW demolished it in June 2009, although we certainly tried to convince them to save it. They admitted renovations may be CHEAPER than demolition but insisted that the lanes below must be widened. It was built in 1941, 3 years after the LI motor parkway closed, to service long-gone farmlands of Pilgrim State Hospital. Please contact your state and local officials, the DOT, local historical societies etc, and let them know about these valuable resources and their potential uses before they are gone forever. We need your support to get this vital project started. Please e-mail me for more info! Have a great day and be sure to come back soon... be sure to visit other panel members sites listed at the bottom of the page!

The LIRR Rail-Trail site LI Environment site
Save the Commack Road bridge site Hike-LI.com- LI Hiking info
CLIMB mountain biking Pedalpushersonline.com
NYRides Bike Trail Info Sam Berliner III's LIMP site
Long Island Oddities site-mail denisbyrne@yahoo.com

photo of Melville area portion near Maxess road looking east

photo of Old Courthouse road overpass looking west from the parkway itself

The Long Island Motor Parkway was the first concrete limited access highway in the world. It was open to public as toll road, no trucks were allowed and also was the site of the Vanderbilt cup races in the early years. It ran from Queens, starting at Horace Harding Blvd. at 199th street, went thru the Kissena park and Cunningham Park/Alley Pond park corridor, headed east into Nassau County around Creedmore, cut thru North Hills,New Hyde Park, Albertson, headed south towards the Garden City and the Roosevelt Field area, then East again through the center of Long Island, cutting through Eisenhower park, Levittown, over to Bethpage state park, into Old Bethpage Village, across the Suffolk County line, cut through Melville, crossed Rt. 110 a few feet North of Spagnoli Rd, ran just South of the huge US postal facility on Rt 110, crossed Maxess Rd and Pinelawn Rd right at the Newsday facility, generally followed just south of Colonial Springs Road, turned North across from the Wheately Heights stores, and crossed today's Bagatelle road just a little to the north. It ran just east of Bagatelle up to LIE area, turned right through the 5 towns college property, and came out right where it still exists as a road starting at Half Hollow Hills Rd. and all the way east to Lake Ronkonkoma, where it ends, then and today. A restaurant named Petit Trianon, commissioned by William K. Vanderbilt and designed by William Russell Pope, was located at the Lake. It burned down in 1957. Sadly, in 2006, the remaining workers dormitory, a wonderful structure designed by the same man, which had been converted into a nursing home, was demolished by a developer.

They eventually wanted to build it all the way East to Riverhead but never succeeded. The road was only 16 feet wide and had NO speed limits initially. In 1930 when the Northern state parkway was constructed, usage dropped off on the LI Motor Parkway due to the tolls (this was during the great depression) (2 dollars, dropped to 1 dollar and eventually 40 cents but the Northern was free!) They tried to widen and modernize the road in 1926 but still ended up losing money, eventually turning it over to the counties for back taxes in 1938. Most of the road and bridges soon fell into disrepair, and as modern roads were widened the old bridges were demolished to make way.

For various reasons, including the fact that master builder Robert Moses thought the Motor Parkway was "a white elephant" , the counties of Nassau and Queens decided to close the road to auto traffic. Queens planned well and kept the road in use as a bicycle trail in Alley Pond and Cunningham park. Suffolk kept most of its portion of the road in use, known today variously as Vanderbilt Parkway and Long Island Motor Parkway. Nassau sold most of it's portion to LILCO for a powerline right of way, and some was sold off locally. A lot of the rest is forgotten behind shopping centers, inside parks, and in use as different local streets. Though some has been lost to development, and nature has also reclaimed a lot, we must act now before more is developed. Major pieces still exist and although it may have to be rerouted slightly where homes were built on the land, easements could be obtained from commercial, industrial, and apartment facilities.

We added a logical extension along a LIPA route from the eastern part of Dix Hills at the Edgewood Preserve. This is to create a wonderful destination at the eastern end and join the parkway route at Bagatelle Road. There is a good amount of road Dix Hills off just Bagatelle and in Melville (LIPA ROW). It could be joined to the part in Old Bethpage Village, there is room to fit a path somewhere off Spagnoli Rd, perhaps behind the industrial bldgs near or on the actual ROW. Then, it could join the Bethpage State park segment and the bikepath there, go on thru Levittown, intersect with the Wantagh parkway bike path, and go to Eisenhower Park. From there to the Roosevelt Field area might be a little harder, but something could be improvised on or near the ROW. Once you get to the section near Raymond Court, the ROW returns as a possible route. There are some obstacles in Garden City, but heading north once you get cross Old Country Rd. there is some ROW again, but a bridge over the LIRR would be needed. Then on to Albertson, New Hyde Park, and Manhasset Hills, more exists, so there is also a chance to preserve this area. Some of it is in private yards, so existing nearby public roads could be used where too much development has blocked access.There may never be enough money to get new overpasses built for a bike/ hike route but at least the roadway and old bridges might get saved. We also have to keep pressure on Nassau as they are not in good shape financially and may attempt to sell off ROW

Much of the road was built without stop signs or traffic lights, although a few grade crossings did exist, mostly in then rural Suffolk County. They used over 60 bridges to avoid the need for intersections, several remain today, but most were demolished due to the fact that they were too low and narrow by modern standards. Teams of mules were used to raise steel and concrete. Land for right of way was often donated by landowners who were promised that property values would increase. Some refused to sell at any price.. when someone refused, the road was simply rerouted. That is why the route twists and turns so much all over its original 45 mile path.

We are trying to get the bridge portion in Old Bethpage Village preserved. The county, The LI Motorparkway Panel, and the Model A FORD Club has begun cleaning up the area, clearing brush and debris, and we REALLY should say thanks... come out and see the progress! Parts were long used as a dump. The bridge should be inspected to determine it's condition soon. And the NYS parks commission has been notified of our goals for the portion within Bethpage State park.Thanks to many volunteers and NYS and NC parks, the ROW inside both Bethpage State Park AND Battle Row Campgrounds is now easily walkable and accessible. You have to see it! A bike path may eventually become possible from Bethpage State Park following the ROW over to Eisenhower park and connecting the Bethpage bike path to the Wantagh bike path. And an eastward extension to the Edgewood/Sagtikos area. We need to get a committment from as many state and local officials as possible to preserve and reuse as much of the remaining ROW as possible as walking paths or bike trails before time and "progress" erase more of our local history. Also, getting more support from residents and other groups, etc.

The Long Island Motor Parkway is a historical treasure that must be saved!
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PRESERVING ROAD, copy any of the below ideas you support and also add your own too!!!
(Check all that apply)

Send your comments to:denisbyrne@yahoo.com

photo of Melville area portion west of Maxess road looking west

photo of Melville area portion west of Maxess road looking east

photo of Melville area portion east of Maxess road looking east

photo of Old Bethpage bridge looking North
photo of area under OBVR bridge

photo of Wheatley Heights/ Wyandanch portion West of Conklin ave nr Colonial Springs. rd looking NE

photo of Old courthouse bridge looking west

photo of right of way east of the OCHR bridge

photo of right of way east of bridge

photo of OCHR bridge year

photo looking west off bridge

photo looking west on the old parkway inside Great Neck South HS

Riding on the CRR next to Deadmans curve

clearing at Bethpage SP Winter 2006

Deadmans Curve just waiting for us to act

Just west of Deadman's curve the road waits

LIPA and LIMP ROW are adjacent. And its COLD!

Write to the regional director of LI parks and to Bethpage state park officials to let them know that we want the parkway segment inside the park preserved as a trail. The DOT was also planning to build a recreational trail on the Ocean Parkway connecting Jones beach to Captree and eventually over the causeway to West Islip. But they have dropped the trail project on the causeway bridges and begun rebuilding the bridge with NO BIKEWAY due to community opposition from beach residents... who lease land from the towns. This is something I have written to the DOT about for years. Now we need to convince them to do the same with the Long Island Motor Parkway (AKA Vanderbilt) to connect the Bethpage bikeway west to Eisenhower park and the old narrow Wantagh bike path (which will be rebuilt!). FOR MORE INFO VISIT THE NYSDOT site regarding this project at and be sure to let them know of your support of the LI MOTOR PARKWAY HISTORIC RECREATIONAL TRAIL!!!

site last updated in June 2011
To e-mail me use: denisbyrne@yahoo.com


all hosted pages are © Denis Byrne and Global Machine Dynamics
LETS SAVE THE HISTORIC LI MOTOR PARKWAY !! To e-mail me use: denisbyrne@yahoo.com
My sources for the info on this site's history includes:
Sylvia Adcock (April 5, 1998). History Takes the High Road. NEWSDAY pgs. A8, A35
Sylvia Adcock (April 12, 1998) The Age of the Auto. NEWSDAY pgs. A16-A17,A45
Bernie Bookbinder (1994) L I People and Places, Past and Present pgs.160-162
Raymond E., Judith A. and Kathryn E. Spinzia (1987) LI Guide to Suffolk and Nassau Counties page 333
The rest comes from my own field trips, recollections of family members,
and the above websites operated by L.I.M.P. panel members
All photos taken by D. Byrne 5/2000 - 1/2011 Map was in Newsday article by S. Adcock
The Wading River LIRR Rail-Trail site