7. Highway design innovations were pioneered on the Belt Parkway

Traffic on Belt Parkway

Construction of the 36-mile-long Belt Parkway also involved the installation of a few highway design advances that had been tested on the Long Island parkways. This included dark-colored main roadways and light-colored entrance and exit ramps. Additionally, new sodium vapor light fixtures were installed on top of traditional timber light posts. The New York Times even called the $30 million Belt Parkway “the greatest municipal highway venture ever attempted in an urban setting.”

The parkway was built on a more grassy terrain than most highways of the time, surrounded by trees and other greenery. The parkway was also closed to commercial traffic when it first opened, banning station wagons and commercial trucks of any size. Additionally, to build sections between exits 7 and 8, parts of Coney Island Creek were filled in, finishing the process of turning Coney Island from an island into a peninsula.