On the recently completed esplanade complementing RXR Realty’s Harbor Landing and The Beacon at Garvies Point, politicians and activists gathered to advocate for walking and biking instead of driving on Sept. 22.
While Long Island has always been known as a place that a car is a necessity, many are working to provide Long Islanders with alternate modes of transportation, whether it’s via the NICE Bus or bike trails. Car Free Day Long Island, which fell on Sept. 22, asks people to make the pledge to go car free, or car lite, for a chance to win prizes and improve their, and the environment’s health.
“We got a lot going on, we also just kicked off our shared mobility study to study how people are getting around now after the pandemic,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “We just did a survey and 5,000 people replied, so we’re going to use the data to see what’s a better way to invest our money for transportation.”
In Glen Cove, a new, popular mode of transportation is a pair of feet or wheels on the new esplanade that connects Garvies Point to a scenic trail, parks and the business district in the downtown area. In fact, the executive director of the Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District, Patricia Holman, just released a video that depicts how Glen Cove residents can get to their favorite downtown restaurants from their neighborhoods, the Long Island Rail Road station or the popular Deep Roots Farmers Market that takes place in Garvies Point on Saturdays.
“I am very proud to be here to celebrate Car Free Day Long Island with a walk through our new esplanade,” City of Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke said. “This is a wonderful, new area that’s dedicated for pedestrians… as well as people who want to take their pets to the beautiful dog park that’s over here. There’s a lot to do and this goes all the way to downtown, our center of town, all the way to the point here.”
The esplanade, completed in the spring, features seating with power outlets, a view of the New Rochelle skyline, a wetlands pier that will be used for educational purposes, the yet to be opened ferry and access to the Garvies Point Brewery and other local restaurants. On the afternoon of Sept. 22, many were taking advantage of the esplanade by going for brisk walks or walking their four-legged friends.
“It’s beautiful to see people out, enjoying the beautiful esplanade,” Glen Cove City Councilman Gaitley Stevenson-Mathews said. “The fact that we are linking this entire waterfront, making it more accessible to people; not only does it help us as far as getting people out for physical fitness… the more opportunities we have to make choices that make less of a carbon footprint, the better off we all are.”
Sloan Yoselowitz, the injury prevention specialist at Nassau University Medical Center, said he was glad to see so many excited about biking or walking instead of remaining sedentary in their cars. He led a series of stretches before everyone present went for a walk that afternoon.
“We love getting people out there and moving around, getting in shape,” Yoselowitz said. “Being healthy.”
And using alternatives for getting around is also healthier for the environment. The mission of Car Free Day, according to its website, is to reduce traffic, conserve energy, reduce harmful emissions, reduce parking problems and save money.
The impacts of those harmful emissions, and the use of fossil fuels, could easily be seen in Glen Cove, Tenke said, as tropical storms Henri and Ida left feet of rain in the city, flooding people’s homes, businesses and public property like the Glen Cove Police Department and the Glen Cove Public Library.
The co-chair of Car Free Day Long Island, Mindy Germain of Transit Solutions, said she and her colleagues like to spotlight projects like the esplanade to highlight alternate, greener and healthier modes of transportation.
“It is so inspiring,” Germain said. “This is the standard that we all need to rise to and what you can access by foot here is wonderful… I mean you can walk through the business district. And when you’re walking through the business district, you are more likely to stop and shop because you do not have to look for a parking spot.”
The benefit for Glen Cove’s local businesses is a component of the newly completed esplanade that Lisa Cohn, the president of the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce, was very happy to see. “Glen Cove was never a drive-through destination,” Cohn said. “So by putting all this activity here, it makes it a place to go to, to visit. And that’s really important.”
And bringing more people to Glen Cove with the newly completed complexes from RXR Realty will help stimulate Glen Cove’s businesses, Cohn added.
The day was certainly a win-win for all that Wednesday afternoon.