The Jackie Robinson Parkway starts where Jamaica and Pennsylvania Avenues intersect in the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York. Exit 1, Bushwick Avenue via Highland Boulevard, is a westbound-only exit. The highway enters Queens and passes Mount Judah Cemetery before exit 2 at Vermont Place and Cypress Avenue, which lead to Highland Park and the Hungarian Cemetery. Exit 3, Cypress Hills Street, leads to Cypress Cemetery, where Jackie Robinson is buried. Here the parkway narrows and makes sharp turns. At exit 4, Forest Park Drive, the parkway enters Forest Park. Exit 5 is at Myrtle Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. At exit 6, Metropolitan Avenue, Union Turnpike straddles the parkway, but there is no access to or from Union Turnpike. The parkway and Union Turnpike then exit the Forest Park neighborhood, and go under Queens Boulevard (NY 25). Union Turnpike shares a diamond interchange with Queens Boulevard, but there is no access from the parkway. Exit 7, an eastbound-only exit, goes to the Van Wyck Expressway (I-678) northbound (no access southbound). Exit 8 (eastbound only) is the Grand Central Parkway, where the Jackie Robinson Parkway ends.
Part of the original parkway contract included the construction of a pair of service stations just west of exit 6 (Metropolitan Avenue) in Forest Park. The stone-faced gas stations, which were located along the eastbound and westbound lanes of the parkway, were torn down in the late 1970s.
The parkway's name was changed to honor Jackie Robinson in May 1997, as part of 50th anniversary activities marking his breaking of the baseball color line. In addition to playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson was known to live and own property in the area along the parkway, and his gravesite is located in Cypress Hills Cemetery, located adjacent to Exit 3.
A juncture at the eastern end of the parkway was placed on the list of New York State's most dangerous roads in 2007, based on accident data from 2004–2006.