May 19 2010

Rare 1930s Photos of Two Motor Parkway Bridge Accidents

The Motor Parkway bridges in Nassau County were built from 1908 to 1911. The significant growth of traffic in the 1920s and 1930s was not anticipated in the design of the bridges and the openings for roads below were very narrow, typically only 22 feet wide. As a result, multiple car accidents occurred at the Motor Parkway bridges. Photos of two of these accidents in the 1930s were documented by the omnipresent photographer John Drennan and were discovered in the archives of Nassau County Police Department.


This 1930s collision occurred below the Merrick Avenue Motor Parkway Bridge in East Meadow. This view was to the south with the entrance to the parkway and the Meadow Brook Lodge beyond the bridge and to the right. The severity of any injuries are unknown.


Note the copy promoting the parkway; "MOTOR PARKWAY ENTRANCE Admission 75 Cents; New York Bklyn Tri-Boro Bridge ". The abutment copy read; "AVOID CONGESTION Shortest Route to New York Admission 75 cents " and "WARNING BLOW HORN MOTOR PARKWAY ENTRANCE".


Another view of this accident (this time looking north from the other side of the bridge) was originally posted last year. The north and south views confirmed the Merrick Avenue location of the accident since railroad tracks would have been seen at a similar bridge and parkway entrance at Massapequa-Hicksville Road.


This collision occurred on December 19, 1935 at the narrow, and very confusing, center opening of the Clinton Road Motor Parkway Bridge in Garden City. This photo was originally discovered by Ron Ridolph when he was a Nassau County police officer.


Accidents were fairly common at the Clinton Road location. Motorists preferred to use the center opening of the roadway, as the outer openings were not paved. There were only two bridges with three openings in Nassau County; the other was over Westbury Avenue in Mineola to accommodate a trolley line.


May 31, 2010 Update: Al Velocci Question: "Howard, Didn't the bridges over Willis Avenue and Roslyn Road have three openings also?

Al, below are the only known images of these two bridges. Both bridges appear to have only one opening.


The Motor Parkway Bridge over Roslyn Road, East Williston


The Motor Parkway Bridge over Willis Avenue, Williston Park


May 23 2010 A Velocci 5:23 PM

Howard, Didn’t the bridges over Willis AV. and Roslyn Rd. have three openings also? Al

May 28 2010 Howard Kroplick 11:40 PM

Hi Al:

See images of these two bridges above.


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