FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, COMMISSIONER SADIK-KHAN ANNOUNCE MARKING OF THE EASTERN TERMINUS OF LINCOLN HIGHWAY IN TIMES SQUARE
Sign at 42nd Street and Broadway Marks Nation’s First Transcontinental Route
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the marking of the eastern terminus of the Lincoln Highway in Times Square. A sign was unveiled at 42nd Street and Broadway, on the bicentennial of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, marking the first transcontinental route - from New York to San Francisco. A marker was requested by the New York State chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association and it was installed in coordination with expected authorizing legislation from the City Council.
"As a wonderful tribute to the bicentennial of Lincoln's birthday, we have placed a historic marker to celebrate the construction of our nation's first transcontinental highway," said Mayor Bloomberg. "It memorializes Times Square's connection with the route's storied history, and reminds all of us that New York City remains the gateway to the rest of America."
"It is fitting that one the earliest solutions to our nation's pressing transportation needs started in New York," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "As the inspiration for our interstate system, the country's original coast-to-coast highway proves that we must always think big and search for new and innovative ideas when confronting transportation issues of today."
"The Lincoln Highway brings together the 'Main Street Across America' and the nation's most famous intersection - Broadway and 42nd Street," said Jerry Peppers, New York State Director of the Lincoln Highway Association. "It's particularly important to mark the eastern terminus of the Lincoln Highway, where it will serve as a reminder to millions of New Yorkers and visitors from all across the globe who pass through here of our nation's history and the City's connection with the rest of the country's early highways."
Established before the advent of numbered routes or an interstate highway system, the Lincoln Highway was a patchwork of local and state roads that were connected into a 3,389-mile route by signs posted by the Lincoln Highway Association, from Times Square to San Francisco's Lincoln Park. Without tunnels or bridges over the Hudson River, the first step on the road west from Times Square was by automobile ferry to New Jersey.
The network was eclipsed in the 1920s by the advent of the U.S. Highway system. Though the history of the highway has been kept alive in part by the efforts of local chapters of the Lincoln Highway Association, which have helped establish commemorative markers along the route across the country - including portions of what is today U.S. Routes 1, 30, 40 and 50, and Interstate Highway 80.
Stu Loeser / Marc LaVorgna (212) 788-2958
Seth Solomonow (Department of Transportation)