Union Turnpike (New York)

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Union Turnpike
Union Turnpike going through Oakland Gardens.JPG
Maintained byNYCDOT and the Town of North Hempstead
Length10.0 mi[1] (16.1 km)
LocationQueens and Nassau County
Nearest metro stationKew Gardens–Union Turnpike
"E" train"F" train"F" express train
West endMyrtle Avenue in Glendale
Major
junctions
I-678 / Grand Central Parkway / NY 25 in Kew Gardens
I-295 in Cunningham Park
Grand Central Parkway in Oakland Gardens
Cross Island Parkway in Bellerose
East endNew Hyde Park Road in New Hyde Park

Union Turnpike is a thoroughfare stretching across central and eastern Queens in New York City. It runs from Myrtle Avenue in Glendale to Marcus Avenue in North New Hyde Park, about a mile into Nassau County, New York. Union Turnpike from New Hyde Park to Woodhaven memorializes the Union Racetrack that was once a famous attraction for residents in Queens.

Union Turnpike from Myrtle Avenue to the Nassau County border is 9.2 miles long. With the exception of a small stretch of Jericho Turnpike in Queens near the Nassau County border, Union Turnpike is the only street in all of New York City that is designated a "Turnpike".

The turnpike crosses into Nassau County at the city's easternmost point on Langdale Street, two blocks past the city's highest-numbered street (271st Street). North of the turnpike at this point is Glen Oaks and south of it is Floral Park, both sharing the same ZIP code (11004). It then enters the hamlet of North New Hyde Park.

Description[edit]

Union Turnpike goes under the Montauk Branch and Rockaway Beach Branch of the LIRR.
Union Turnpike crosses Woodhaven Boulevard and goes under the LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch

Starting from the intersection of Myrtle Avenue, 86th Street and the Jackie Robinson Parkway's east-bound exit 5 ramps in Glendale, which is in the western region of the Flushing district, Union Turnpike crosses Woodhaven Boulevard. It continues as the northern boundary of Forest Park to an intersection with Metropolitan Avenue. Just east of here Union Turnpike crosses over the Jackie Robinson Parkway near Exit 6 (Metropolitan Avenue). Union Turnpike then straddles the parkway, but there is no access to or from the parkway to Union Turnpike. This is in Kew Gardens—also part of the western section of the Flushing district.[2]

Soon, Union Turnpike and the parkway go under a long tunnel. On top is Queens Boulevard (New York State Highway 25). There is a full diamond interchange with it from Union Turnpike, but no access from the parkway.[3][4] Just after Queens Boulevard, the parkway ends at the Kew Gardens Interchange, connecting with the Van Wyck Expressway (Interstate 678) and the Grand Central Parkway (Exits 7 and 8 on the Jackie Robinson, Exit 13 on the Grand Central, and Exit 10 on the Van Wyck. From Union Turnpike there is partial access to the Grand Central, and none to the Van Wyck).

Union Turnpike eastbound goes on a bridge over the Grand Central Parkway to meet with Union Turnpike westbound on the other side at an intersection with the Grand Central Parkway's service roads just east of the intersection, and the road becomes a four-lane divided road. It continues through the neighborhoods within the southern part of the Flushing district, beginning in the Flushing sub-neighborhood of Kew Gardens Hills where it crosses Main Street and Parsons Boulevard before passing 164th Street in Hillcrest, the western sub-neighborhood of Fresh Meadows. It then passes St. John's University, crossing Utopia Parkway, goes through Utopia, and proceeds into the broader neighborhood of Fresh Meadows when it crosses 188th Street and enters Cunningham Park at an intersection with Francis Lewis Boulevard. Just after Francis Lewis Boulevard is Oakland Gardens in the southern region of Bayside, where it shares a full diamond interchange with I-295, or the Clearview Expressway (Exit 2 on the Clearview).[2]

It then crosses Hollis Court Boulevard before leaving the park going into the north part of the district of Jamaica. It passes through Hollis Hills in Queens Village, crossing Bell Boulevard and Springfield Boulevard. Just after Springfield Boulevard is a full interchange with the Grand Central Parkway (along the Grand Central, Exit 22 eastbound, and exit 23 westbound). After the Grand Central, Union Turnpike goes back into the neighborhood of Bayside, the eastern section of the Flushing district, where it becomes the southern boundary of Alley Pond Park until it intersects with Winchester Boulevard. It then passes the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, and then shares a full interchange with the Cross Island Parkway (Exit 28B on the Cross Island).

Past here, Union Turnpike crosses Commonwealth Boulevard just after the Cross Island Parkway interchange before passing over Little Neck Parkway into Bellerose, then it passes through the neighborhood of Glen Oaks.[2] It crosses the highest-numbered street in New York City, 271st Street, and then passes the city's easternmost point, at Langdale Street. Just past here, Union Turnpike enters Nassau County, where it intersects with Lakeville Road. It passes a shopping center in Lake Success, crosses New Hyde Park Road, and ends a block east at Marcus Avenue.

With the exception of a section in Glendale, most of Union Turnpike consists of four traffic lanes divided by a narrow concrete median. The Glendale section contains a wide mall with trees, and in Kew Gardens, the turnpike flanks the Jackie Robinson Parkway crossing over the Main Line of the Long Island Rail Road, before dipping below Queens Boulevard. Though it appears to be a service road for the parkway, it does not function as such. There is no direct access to the parkway, though there is partial access to the Grand Central Parkway. This section has its own full diamond interchange with Queens Boulevard.[3][4][5]

Due to how roads (and houses) are numbered in Queens, Union Turnpike between its western end in Glendale and 250th Street in Glen Oaks can be considered the equivalent of 80th Avenue. Regular 80th Avenue branches off of Union Turnpike at 251st Street.

The section of Union Turnpike between Queens Boulevard and Marcus Avenue was New York State Route 25C from the mid-1930s to 1970.[6][7][8]

Transportation[edit]

A Q46 RTS-06 bus at Union Turnpike and Parsons Boulevard.

Between Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens and the city line, the Q46 bus line travels along Union Turnpike. The Union Turnpike express buses, comprising eight routes, also run along this section. The Q23 and QM12 terminate on Union Turnpike just east of Woodhaven Boulevard in Glendale. In addition, the New York City Subway's Kew Gardens–Union Turnpike station, served by the E, ​F, and <F> trains, is located at Queens Boulevard.[2][3]

Points of interest[edit]

Among the landmarks found along the turnpike are Forest Park, Queens Borough Hall,[3] St. John's University,[2] and Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.[2]

History[edit]

Union Turnpike was originally a dirt road,[9] initially designed as a toll road. At the time, Union Turnpike traveled through relatively undeveloped areas, serving as a border between the towns of Flushing and Jamaica. It started at Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills and ended at Utopia Parkway near Jamaica.[10]

Prior to the construction of Grand Central Parkway and Interboro Parkway (now the Jackie Robinson Parkway) in the 1930s,[11] Union Turnpike was heavily used, and developed businesses throughout its length. The section of Union Turnpike from Kew Gardens to the Nassau County line had been converted from a narrow unpaved road to a paved multi-lane highway in the late 1930s ahead of the 1939 New York World's Fair.[12] Around the same time, the turnpike was depressed below Queens Boulevard in conjunction with the construction of the Queens Boulevard Subway, and extended eastward from Fresh Meadows towards Marcus Avenue in Nassau County.[4][13]

Prior to 1970, the section of Union Turnpike to the east of Queens Boulevard was designated as New York State Route 25C. Since then, only the section of Union Turnpike within Nassau County still carries this numerical designation.

Major intersections[edit]

CountyLocationmi[1]kmDestinationsNotes
QueensGlendale0.00.0Myrtle Avenue / Forest Park Drive to Jackie Robinson Parkway
0.30.48Woodhaven Boulevard
Kew Gardens
(Kew Gardens Interchange)
1.93.1 NY 25 (Queens Boulevard)Grade-separated interchange; no westbound access to NY 25 east
2.13.4 I-678 north (Van Wyck Expressway) – Whitestone BridgeEastbound exit and westbound entrance; exit 8 on I-678
2.43.9 Grand Central Parkway – Eastern Long Island, RFK BridgeEastbound access to westbound Parkway via u-turn; exits 14-15 on G.C. Parkway
Cunningham Park5.38.5Francis Lewis Boulevard
5.58.9 I-295 (Clearview Expressway) to NY 25 (Hillside Avenue) – Throgs Neck BridgeExit 2 on I-295
Hollis Hills6.610.6Springfield BoulevardFormer routing of NY 25; former western terminus of NY 25C
Oakland Gardens6.810.9 Grand Central Parkway – Eastern Long Island, RFK BridgeExit 22 on Grand Central Parkway
Bellerose7.712.4 Cross Island Parkway – Verrazano Bridge, Whitestone BridgeExit 28B on Cross Island Parkway
NassauNorth New Hyde Park9.214.8Lakeville Road (CR 11)Western terminus of unsigned NY 900F
10.016.1New Hyde Park Road (CR 5B) / Marcus Avenue east (CR 25C)Former NY 25C continued east via Marcus Avenue to NY 25B
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Google (June 7, 2019). "Union Turnpike" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Queens Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. December 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Kew Gardens" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Highway Program Aids Long Island Growth" (PDF). nytimes.com. The New York Times. April 27, 1930. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  5. ^ From Bus to Subway in Kew Gardens
  6. ^ New York Info-Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally and Company. Gulf Oil Company. 1940.
  7. ^ Official Highway Map of New York State (Map) (1947–48 ed.). Cartography by General Drafting. State of New York Department of Public Works.
  8. ^ Now you "C" it (Forgotten-NY)
  9. ^ "At Union Turnpike". oldkewgardens.com. Kew Gardens Civic Association. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Would Extend Turnpike: Flushlng-Hillcrest Association Wants Traffic Relieved". The New York Times. September 5, 1926. p. RE21.
  11. ^ "Work is Started on Motor Parkway: Section Near Creedmoor Hospital Will Be Moved 1,800 Feet to the North: Road Widening Program: Extensive Traffic Improvements Are Planned for Central and Southern Queens: Connect With All Bridges". The New York Times. June 22, 1930. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  12. ^ "Union Turnpike Extension To Be Ready When Fair Opens" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. Long Island City, New York. February 14, 1939. p. 3. Retrieved February 23, 2019 – via fultonhistory.com.
  13. ^ "SHOWS QUEENS NEED OF TRAFFIC RELIEF: Commerce Chamber Urges Quick Action on Connecting Route to Brooklyn". The New York Times. December 2, 1928. Retrieved 1 September 2015.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°43′55.7″N 73°46′4.7″W / 40.732139°N 73.767972°W / 40.732139; -73.767972