Efforts to Close East River Greenway Gap Advance With Feasibility Study

Right now, cyclists riding the East River Esplanade are forced onto the wide and unsafe First Avenue for 22 blocks in Midtown. Photo: Kim Martineau

New York took a step forward today in attempts to close the 22 block gap in the East River Esplanade, which forces cyclists into traffic in the ultra-congested heart of Midtown and deprives East Side communities of valuable riverfront open space. Thanks to state and federal funding, including an earmark from Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, the New York City Economic Development Corporation put out a request for a feasibility study looking at how to build a greenway along the East River between 38th and 60th Streets.

Building that continuous route would create a long-missing trunk for north-south bike travel along the East Side of Manhattan. The continuous greenway along the West Side is the busiest bike path in the country, and riders from the East Side will go out of their way to use it instead of biking on Manhattan’s wide avenues.

The study covers a variety of topics, from a broad conceptual design to the integration of the bikeway with the street network and from structural engineering to cost estimation. While the study moves the project forward, a completed greenway on the East Side remains years away. The RFP says that the contract for the feasibility study alone would last two years.

Today’s announcement won plaudits from every elected official in the area.