Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Monday, February 7, 2000

Release #031-00



Senator Padavan Lauds DOT Improvement Plan

Governor George E. Pataki and Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today announced an agreement on plans to improve the Long Island Expressway (LlE) in eastern Queens from the Cross Island Parkway (CIP) Interchange to the Nassau County border, as well on planned improvements to Alley Pond Park.

"This plan will reduce congestion and improve safety for motorists who rely on the Long Island Expressway in Queens and Nassau County, while also making dramatic improvements to Alley Pond Park for the local community," Governor Pataki said. "I congratulate Senator Padavan for his leadership in bringing this issue to a winning
resolution for all involved."

Governor Pataki and Senator Frank Padavan first unveiled the basis for the new LIE reconstruction plan in May 1998. It was then developed by the State Department of Transportation (DOT) and the New York City Parks and Recreation Natural Resources Group (NRG), and reviewed by numerous public officials, as well as by community and environmental groups.

"This plan succeeds in creating a safer roadway for motorists, while improving a local park for community residents," said Mayor Giuliani. "The improvements at the intersection between the Cross Island Parkway and the Long Island Expressway will ease traffic on local streets. In addition, a full environmental restoration of Alley Pond and the surrounding trails will greatly improve the appearance and usability of the Park for the surrounding community."

While the plan complements the LIE/HOV Capacity Improvement Project in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the new LIE/HOV lanes will not be extended into Queens, and the existing buffer between the LIE roadway and the local communities will remain largely unchanged.

New York State and New York City recently reached accord on this LIE project design and the City has withdrawn its appeal of the July 1997 Supreme Court ruling which held that the State DOT had not followed the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

"The Governor directed DOT to find a better way to accomplish this important project, and we have done just that," said DOT Commissioner Joseph Boardman. "DOT has identified safe and efficient methods that will reduce the impact on the adjacent residential communities, handle the high volume of traffic in the area, substantially enhance the natural features of Alley Pond Park, and significantly reduce construction time in the area. This is a win-win solution."

Alley Pond Park is a 654-acre, rustic and secluded natural area that was acquired by New York City in 1929. Since 1976, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the Alley Pond Environmental Center have protected and enhanced the Park's flora and fauna, wooded trails, wildlife, open fields, kettle ponds, salt marshes and recreational areas that make up one of the most rural landscapes in Queens.

"This will be among the greenest highway interchanges in New York State," said Henry Stern, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. "What began as a threat to the trees of Queens has ended as an enormous enhancement to the pond, the forest, and the trails."

Highlights of the LIE reconstruction plan include:

In order to minimize the impact of this major reconstruction project on motorists utilizing the LIE, CIP, adjacent service roads and cross streets, and to reduce disturbances to nearby residents, businesses and community facilities, the DOT will implement an extensive Traffic Management Plan that was developed by DOT in conjunction with affected groups.

Key aspects of the Traffic Management Plan include:

Under the Governor's direction, the new LIE plan was developed in conjunction with - and significantly enhanced by - extensive community coordination and involvement by the following key representatives:

Senator Frank Padavan, Office of the Queens Borough President; New York City Departments of Transportation and Parks; Community Board 11 Transportation Subcommittee; Douglaston Civic Association; North Hills Civic Association; Beech Hills Corporation; and the Alley Pond Environmental Center.

The project's construction cost is approximately $112 million and DOT anticipates that construction will begin during the Summer of 2000.

Go to Press Releases | Giuliani Archives | Mayor's Office | Home Page
Contact Us | FAQs | Privacy Statement | Site Map