Given a mandate by the Governor and notice to all and sundry that this crossing must be built without stultifying delays, it can be finished in 1971 before congestion of roads leading to the East River bridges becomes intolerable.
"The First Long Island Sound Bypass"
Newsday editorial (January 4, 1969)
When the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority opened the Throgs Neck Bridge, our third major arterial East River crossing from Queens to the Bronx, on January 11, 1961, we proved to prudent investors that such a bridge would pay out, but the need of additional crossings was little comprehended by the public.
The handwriting was already on the wall, but the prophets were ignored. Today, every Johnny-come-lately kibitzer and overnight critic remarks sarcastically how stupid we were, how lacking in imagination, and how all this planning should have been done long ago.
The obvious solution of bridge congestion lies in building a Sound Crossing from Oyster Bay to Rye, later a second crossing from Port Jefferson to Bridgeport, and then a third crossing from Greenport to Old Saybrook. Cars, trucks and buses from eastern Long Island not bound for New York City but for Westchester, New England and points north, east and west must be kept out of western Nassau, Queens, the Bronx and southern Westchester, and diverted across the Sound.
The precedence of Sound crossings has been the subject of the usual, understandable controversy. There are opponents who want no crossing at all in the Oyster Bay-Rye area. They have raised money to fight, and they bring personal, political and other familiar pressures to bear. There are also those who would like the second crossing built first, and those who want the first two built together and at once.
Manifestly, the only plausible argument against immediate adoption of the Oyster Bay-Rye route is based on the hope of getting two crossings at once. The answers to proponents are simple and incontrovertible.
The Port Jefferson-Bridgeport crossing will not be needed as a traffic aid, and therefore will not be financially practical for ten to fifteen years. The need of the crossing in the Oyster Bay-Rye area to stop the overloading of parkways and bridges is immediate and obvious.
Any attempt to finance two crossings at once by combining the Oyster Bay-Rye and Port Jefferson-Bridgeport routes will kill both.
The Port Jefferson-Bridgeport crossing requires a bi-state treaty with Connecticut, approved by Congress, and the agency to plan, finance and build it will have to be bi-state in nature.
$150 million would be the limit of a salable, self-supporting Oyster Bay-Rye crossing authority bond issue without state credit, and at a fare of $1.00 per car. Incidental recreation, landscaping and other improvements would be included.
Studies of a second and ultimate third crossing further east on Long Island, involving a treaty with Connecticut, should be pursued diligently, but no haste is required except in acquisition of rights-of-way.
Every church, village green, wharf and old home on the east end of Long Island bears the birthmark of the Connecticut Colony. A third Sound Crossing from Greenport or East Marion to Old Saybrook would revive a great tradition, and eastern Long Island would become not merely a New York City suburb, but part and parcel of New England.
Those who want to rush new residents of small means out into agricultural and marine exurbia by vast industrial expansion and local employment give little thought to the question of whether the newcomers will be able to pay local taxes, and if not, what will become of the county economy.
The Oyster Bay-Rye Bridge gets down finally to approaches. Such approaches should ideally be determined with due regard to neighborhood growth, appearance and landscaping. The Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway, which is planned to run from Jones Beach to Oyster Bay, ends in a barren field and must go somewhere. A connecting route to the Cross Westchester Expressway and the New England Thruway is missing. These belong on the Federal-state highway program and are not chargeable to the new crossing. Perfectionists rarely achieve complete victories. They are compelled to accept compromises or invite a stalemate. If no major principle is involved, conceding something is not tragic. I see no major principle jeopardized in this instance.
To sum up, the Oyster Bay-Rye Bridge is not an imposition, an intrusion, or an unexpected catastrophe flashed on uninformed homeowners. This crossing constitutes the only practical means of bypassing the overloaded parkways, expressways and East River crossings. It is no eyesore to destroy the Sound. The metropolitan bridges we have built in recent years, including the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, are our finest works of architecture and engineering.
History repeats itself. Before long, as has happened over and over again, the opponents will calm down and claim they were always in favor of the improvement.