The Clearview Expressway runs from the Throgs Neck Bridge south, terminating at Hillside Avenue (unusual for an expressway to terminate at a local-access thoroughfare). It was first proposed in 1955 and constructed between 1960 and 1963, mostly in an open cut featuring interchanges with the Long Island Expressway and Grand Central Parkway. It was built over community opposition, as many of the Robert Moses projects from the 1930s through 1960s were, and it necessitated the displacement of over 400 families.

I have taken the Long Island Rail Road past the Clearview for over 20 years, and noticed an unusual feature. The Clearview has a service road and walkway on both sides, and while the roadway is interrupted for the railroad crossing, the walkways aren’t.

The walkways on both sides are slung down toward the roadway and under the railroad, in an unusual arrangement. The usual method, I suppose, would have involved pedestrian bridges with steps up and down, or just forget the walkways and have people use the nearest streets that clear the railroad, Francis Lewis Boulevard or Corporal Kennedy Street. These were considered to be too far away, I suppose. The walkways feature both a steep downhill and uphill.

The walkways aren’t lit, except under the railroad overpass and where they meet the expressway service roads. Original Clearview expressway lampposts from 1960 still do the job here, and one post even has its Westinghouse incandescent “cuplight” still attached. Most of the other walkways have been updated to sodium lamps by now.

An interesting anomaly on the walkway is the presence of a state of New York Department of Works sign. The DPW was formed in 1876 as an amendment to the New York State constitution, and originally oversaw canal construction, though in later years it began to handle most construction in general. In 1967 it was merged with other departments into the NY State Department of Transportation.


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  1. Dan S. says:

    There are service roads that duck under the railroad too, The photo of the highway you posted shows that there are four carriageways (three are directly visible), the outer two are branches of the service roads. They just split from the service roads that do dead-end at the railroad a bit further from the tracks than the pedestrian walkways do.

  2. Bob Sklar says:

    The Clearview Expwy. is now I-295, but was originally I-78. The original intended path of I-78 was from the Holland Tunnel to the Williamsburg Bridge, then between Broadway and Bushwick Av to Broadway Junction, then, presumably alongside Fulton St and across to Conduit Blvd. I’m not sure of the Brooklyn portion (elevated, perhaps), but in Queens down the center area between North and South Conduit Avs, then the Nassau Expwy. Somewhere along the Nassau Expwy (I don’t know where), the route was to turn north and connect to the current Clearview Expwy. If anyone has more info, I’d like to hear about it.

  3. jamie says:

    The Clearview Expressway was originally planned to go to the South Shore and connect with the Nassau Expressway as a Commercial route to Nassau, JFK Airport and the South Shore. Rockaway Blvd East would have become the path and the present road to 5 Towns as well. This is the reason for the eressway ramps to nowhere or just local streets and Rockaway Blvd and whey the 4 lane road to 5 Towns was built but only connects to Rockaway at the North end.

    A local Lawyer by the name of Mario Cuomo represented the interests of the people of Jamaica Estates and fought the State until it became a moot issue when the State and City ran dry on money.

    There was a Haigstrom map of the late 60’s that showed the route in red dash lines that I remember clearly.

  4. Dale Koster says:

    I lived on 212th Place, between Hillside and 89th Avenues. I remember around 1967, there were
    plans on extending the Clearview all the way to the Belt Parkway. This would have destroyed Hollis Court Blvd and wiped out the neighborhood for two blocks on either side.

    My father, a cop, started looking at homes on Long Island as he didn’t want to live near this monstrosity
    if built. The homes would have been bought for pennies on the dollar or just condemned and torn down.

    Thankfully, this didn’t materialize, and we were able to stay in the area untill relocating to Florida in 1984.

    WIth the Clearview strating/terminating at Hillside, I got to hear the drag racing that took place on it and on nearby Union Tornpike on quiet Summer nights!

    • NY2AZ says:

      Re: Your last paragraph: Last year the Hemmings Classic Car blog posted photos of street racing on Union Turnpike & the Clearview Expressway circa 1970. It drew numerous responses over many months. We have become a generation rooted firmly in our past either because the present is disappointing, to say the least, or our only future will be “green banana” time (if you know what I mean).

  5. Andy says:

    Hillside Avenue was not the Clearview’s originally-designed ultimate south terminus. The information below is paraphrased from

    The Clearview Expressway extension was to form an arc through the southeast Queens communities of Hollis, St. Albans and Springfield Gardens, and terminate at the Nassau Expressway. Many different alignments were studied, including:

    * southeast along Francis Lewis Boulevard, then southwest along a general area bounded by Farmers Boulevard and Springfield Boulevard to Kennedy Airport;
    * southeast to the Cross Island Parkway either at EXITS 26 B-C (NY 24 / Hempstead Turnpike) or EXIT 25A (Southern State Parkway); then paralleling the Cross Island-Belt (Laurelton) Parkway south to Brookville Park.

    The 6.3-mile-long, Clearview Expressway extension was to have alleviated congestion on the Van Wyck Expressway (I-678) and the Belt Parkway by creating another north-south, controlled-access route to Kennedy Airport that was to be open to all traffic. However, by the late 1960’s, concerns over the lack of available funds and community opposition delayed this segment. On March 24, 1971, Governor Nelson Rockefeller officially killed the southern extension of the Clearview Expressway, along with several other Interstate highway projects in New York City.

    So that’s why the Clearview ends rather abruptly at Hillside Avenue, and will likely never be extended south.

  6. SteveG says:

    That young lawyer Cuomo also sided with the automobile chop shops surrounding Shea Stadium during the World’s Fair time. Moses wanted the shops torn down due to the ‘rundown’ look of the area and Cuomo was able to have large fences put around that area of Flushing to keep the shops in business, but out of sight of the fair. I learned of this watching an interview with Cuomo on TV years ago. Fascinating……

  7. SteveG says:

    The Van Wyck may not be the parking lot is currently is if the Clearview extension had been completed. The VWE was doomed from the start (from The Power Broker book). The lack of completion of several Moses road projects for the south shore of Brooklyn and Queens has resulted in future generations of congestion, with no relief valves attainable….notably the Broos Bkln Expwy, The REAL Nassau Expwy, the Clearview Extension…………….all of these would have carried traffic away from local congestion had they been built a 1/2 century ago………………

  8. sophie calabrez says:

    The Clearview Expressway was built by by using the public domain and destroying my family’s Bayside marina in the 1940s (I think) . I get upset everytime I drive by. That beautiful waterfront……..

  9. Steve says:

    Can someone answer me why there is no service on the northbound Clearview between 48th avenue and 46th avenue??? Was this a property fight, that the homeowners actually won???

  10. on the Clearview Expressway today and saw they were ripping the walkways under the railroadown says:

    I was on the Clearview Expressway today and saw they were ripping the walkways under the railroad bridge down

  11. ron says:

    I grew up in bayside from 1951 until 1973 on 33 ave and 202st I watched the building of the clearview expy and how homes were moved on flatbeds for families who did not want to sell their homes
    you can see these homes today they were relocated just west bayside high school athletic field on 204street between 32ave.and 26th ave. there easy to tell apart from the other more modern homes that were being built at that time in the 60’s

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