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Staten Island Expressway: Wikis

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Homes along the Staten Island Expressway. Note: the Bus Lane (the bus lane shown is on the Eastbound part of the highway)

The Staten Island Expressway, or colloquially, SIE, is a 7.7 mile (12.39 km) long highway running through the New York City borough of Staten Island, New York in the United States. It is part of Interstate 278. Its western terminus is the Goethals Bridge linking the island to New Jersey over the Arthur Kill. The eastern terminus is the Verrazano Narrows Bridge linking to Brooklyn over the Narrows. Named the Clove Lakes Expressway when originally proposed, it opened under its actual name in November 1964, the same month the Verrazano Narrows Bridge was completed.

It connects to the West Shore Expressway, as well as to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway (formerly the Willowbrook Expressway), both of which are designated as segments of New York State Route 440. Including these two interchanges, the expressway has a total of 13 exits, six of which are one-directional.

In addition to local traffic on Staten Island, the expressway provides the most direct route from Brooklyn and Long Island to central or southern New Jersey. It is widely known throughout the New York area as one of the most congested roads in the city.

The Staten Island Expressway is widely regarded as an important demographic boundary since virtually all of the island's African-American population and the vast majority of its Hispanic population resides north of the expressway, which is an area approximately one-fourth of the island's total area. For most of the length of the expressway the neighborhoods on either side are predominantly Caucasian. The fact that it transverses the neighborhood of Concord is the one reason why it is sometimes seen as a racial divider as the north side of the expressway is mostly black and the south side of the expressway is mostly white in that area. In recent years Chinese-American families have moved into homes on the closest streets that border the expressway in Concord.

The portion of the island north of the highway is also coterminous with the territory served by the 120th Precinct of the NYPD, one of the three police precincts located on Staten Island, and also one of the island's three Community Board districts.

There is currently a "Buses Only" lane that runs in both directions between the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and the Todt Hill Road Exit. During construction many motorists assumed it would be an High-occupancy vehicle lane.

Contents

History

The Staten Island Expressway, westbound at Exit 10, from Woolley Avenue.

The creation of the Expressway was extremely controversial. It was designed by Robert Moses in 1946 as part of a comprehensive system of freeways and parkways for the borough. The plan received approval in stages through the mid 1950s and construction on the expressway began in 1959. Moses was notorious for pushing through his projects in spite of local opposition. Like many of Moses' projects in other boroughs, the freeway uprooted existing local neighborhoods without mercy.

The construction of the Staten Island Expressway was particularly noted for the massive movement of earth required to build the section of the highway between Clove Road and Price Street (now Narrows Road North, a service road of the expressway) between Grymes Hill and Emerson Hill. The earth removed from the cut in the hill was placed in a remote section of central Staten Island adjacent to Sea View Hospital and has since been nicknamed "Moses Mountain," as a backhanded compliment to the highway's builder. Originally Moses intended for a spur of the expressway to follow the central ridge of the island, to connect with the Outerbridge Crossing. But local opposition to this spur was tremendous, and unlike previous projects by Moses, it went down to defeat, largely due to the re-election of Nelson Rockefeller, a headstrong opponent of Moses, as governor of New York in 1966; the southern half of this proposed spur did get built, however, and was opened for traffic in the autumn of 1972 as the Richmond Parkway, which was to have been the name of the entire roadway.

The aborted section, from the Expressway to Richmond Avenue, has become part of the park system of New York City known as the Staten Island Greenbelt. A ramp stub of an interchange on the expressway still exists along a wooded section of Todt Hill. Part of the trail system of the Greenbelt uses the abandoned overpass bridge as pedestrian crossing of the Expressway.

The first link of the Staten Island Expressway opened in January, 1964, from the Goethals Bridge to Victory Boulevard. The remainder opened later that year.

The bus lane becomes an HOV 2+ lane running during weekday rush hour only (westbound: 3-7pm and eastbound: 6-10am). All other times it remains a bus lane.

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Future Plans

It was announced in July 2008 that a major project to improve the notoriously bad traffic conditions on the expressway is expected to commence in spring of 2010 at a cost of $50 million. Included in the project is the construction of six new on- and off-ramps, improvements to and relocations of existing on- and off-ramps, and other improvements to surrounding roads. This comes following numerous minor improvements to alleviate traffic, such as time/distance displays and designated bus lanes. [1]

Exit list

See Interstate 278#Exit list (Exits 3-15).

References


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