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Posts from the Greenways Category


Randall’s Island Connector to Open This Weekend

The Randall’s Island Connector, in the works for decades, will provide a direct link between the island and the South Bronx. Photo: Stephen Miller

The Randall’s Island Connector is set to open this weekend.

A greenway link between the island and the South Bronx, the connector has been on the agenda of advocates and electeds since the early 1990s. The project will provide a grade-level crossing over Bronx Kill from E. 132nd Street in Port Morris, under an Amtrak bridge, allowing people to get to the island on foot and by bike without having to contend with the Triboro Bridge.

The connector was built by the city’s Economic Development Corporation. According to South Bronx Unite and the web site Welcome 2 the Bronx a grand opening with a ribbon-cutting is scheduled for Saturday.

There will be a celebratory ride starting at 10 a.m. and the ceremony is set for 11. Details here.

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Bronx River Greenway Gets a $10 Million Boost From TIGER

A critical link in the Bronx River Greenway is getting a funding boost from the feds that should help put an end to years of bureaucratic delays.

Phase two of Starlight Park (the red part) includes the missing link in the Bronx River Greenway that will be getting a $10 million TIGER grant. Map: Bronx River Alliance

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded New York City a $10 million TIGER grant to build out walking and biking paths and bridges connecting two parks along the Bronx River. The project will fill a gap in the greenway so people can avoid a dangerous highway ramp.

The project consists of three bridges and .75 miles of paths directly linking Concrete Plant Park to the south and Starlight Park to the north. Without this link, the only route along the river between the two parks involves crossing a Sheridan Expressway access ramp.

The state DOT had years ago committed funds to the project, estimated in 2008 to cost $35.7 million, but that funding expired in 2009 after the department could not reach an agreement about one of the greenway bridges with Amtrak, whose Acela Express runs along the river between the two parks. In 2013, the first segment of Starlight Park opened, and the Bronx River Alliance called on the state and city to get the greenway project done as part of the second segment.

With the $10 million from the feds announced Monday, a $7 to $10 million funding shortfall remains, according to Claudia Ibaven of the Bronx River Alliance. In addition to the TIGER grant, the project has a commitment of $12 million from the city and additional funding from various state, federal, and non-profit agencies.

The project does have the attention of major elected officials. In a statement announcing the TIGER award, Senators Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Congressman Jose Serrano all lauded the grant as an important step in the pursuit of better pedestrian and bicycle routes in the Bronx.

“This link is essential to making the Bronx River Greenway a truly viable non-motorized transportation network that promotes sustainability and healthy transportation options for South Bronx neighborhoods, which have historically been deprived of open space, bicycle and pedestrian trails, and waterfront access,” Gillibrand said in the statement.


Temporary Red Hook Greenway Plan Looks Better Than the Permanent One


Currently, plans call for ditching an interim on-street two-way bike lane in Red Hook once a waterfront greenway is built, but there’s no reason DOT couldn’t keep the interim design. Image: NYC DOT

Eventually, New York City intends to build a biking and walking path along the Red Hook waterfront, one link in the longer Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. It’s going to be several years before that project gets built, so in the meantime DOT plans to make streets a few blocks inland safer for biking and walking. The question is, why not keep the safer, multi-modal surface streets after the permanent project wraps up?

Last night, DOT presented the interim plan [PDF] to the Brooklyn Community Board 6 transportation committee, which voted for it unanimously. The plan would reconstruct bumpy Ferris Street and Beard Street and make room for a two-way curbside bike lane and green infrastructure features. But the long-term plan for the greenway currently calls for moving the bikeway to the waterfront and putting a parking lane back on the street.

Currently, Ferris and Beard are in such poor condition that there is no sidewalk on large sections of each street, which impedes walking. The shoddy pavement and lack of bike lanes also prevent cyclists from comfortably accessing nearby Valentino Pier. The interim treatment will address both problems, and some people at the meeting last night questioned why the on-street bikeway is slated to be removed once the permanent greenway is built.

“I think that having an interim design is an appeasement to people who are worried about parking,” said committee member Bahij Chancey.

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Eyes on the Street: Randall’s Island Connector to Open in “Coming Weeks”

The Randall’s Island Connector is still fenced off, but not for long. EDC says an opening date will be scheduled “in the coming weeks.” Photo: Stephen Miller

The Randall’s Island Connector, a greenway link between the South Bronx and Randall’s Island, is almost complete. Bronxites are anticipating a ribbon-cutting any day now from the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which is building the project.

The new path crosses the Bronx Kill, a narrow waterway separating Randall’s Island from the Bronx. Without it, the only way to bike or walk from the Bronx to Randall’s Island is over narrow paths on the Triborough Bridge that include stairs, sharp curves, and a steep ascent to bridge level.

In contrast, the connector will provide a flat, direct crossing from E. 132nd Street in Port Morris to 330 acres of public parks and greenways on Randall’s Island.

Construction crews are currently finishing up handrail installations and minor fencing work, EDC says, before the city schedules a grand opening.

EDC wouldn’t give an exact opening date — but it should be soon. “As we put the finishing touches on the Randall’s Island Connector and schedule a grand opening event in the coming weeks, we are excited for the many opportunities that this neighborhood asset will provide for the community,” an agency spokesperson said.


Downtown Greenway Segment Closed Since 2007 to Reopen in November

Looking south from Vesey Street. Construction on this section of the Hudson River Greenway, detoured since 2007, is set to reopen in mid-November. Photo: Stephen Miller

This section of the Hudson River Greenway, closed since 2007, is set to reopen in mid-November. Photo: Stephen Miller

An eight-year Hudson River Greenway detour is set to conclude in less than two months, restoring a direct bike route along West Street near the World Trade Center site.

Since 2007, the greenway has been closed near Brookfield Place, the office and retail complex on the west side of West Street formerly known as the World Financial Center. For eight years, cyclists (and on many blocks, pedestrians) have been detoured to the streets and waterfront promenades of Battery Park City.

The area covered by the greenway closure has varied over the years. As of today, the greenway remains closed between Vesey and Thames streets.

The detour was put in place while Brookfield and the Port Authority built an underground passageway connecting the winter garden at Brookfield Place with the World Trade Center PATH station. The detour was originally supposed to end in spring 2010, according to a NYC DOT announcement, but delays ensued: the PATH tunnel didn’t open until 2013. When Downtown Express checked in on the situation last year, state DOT said the detour would end sometime late this year.

It seems that timetable will hold. Work is almost done on rebuilding the separated bicycle and pedestrian paths between Vesey and Albany streets, and construction equipment stored on the greenway between Albany and Thames streets should eventually be cleared out.

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Construction Begins on New 151st Street Bridge to Hudson River Greenway

The view from what will be the eastern landing of a new bike/ped bridge linking 151st Street to the Hudson River Greenway. Photo: Delphine Taylor

The state broke ground this month on a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge linking West Harlem with the Hudson River Greenway.

For cyclists, the bridge will provide stair-free access between the greenway and the intersection of 151st Street and Riverside Drive, spanning the Henry Hudson Parkway and the Amtrak line that runs along the Hudson. Right now the nearest access points, at 148th and 155th streets, have stairs and no ramps. The nearest crossings with ramps are at 135th Street, south of Riverbank State Park, and 158th Street.

The 158th Street connection received a $2 million staircase and ramp from the state Department of Transportation in 2006. Earlier this summer, NYC DOT installed a two-way bike lane on 158th Street as part of a larger package of bikeway improvements linking the Hudson River Greenway to the High Bridge.

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South Bronx Greenway Takes Shape on Food Center Drive

Planting is underway on the latest segment of the South Bronx Greenway on Food Center Drive. Photo: Angela Tovar/Sustainable South Bronx

Crews tend planter beds on the latest segment of the South Bronx Greenway on Food Center Drive, set to open this fall. Photo: Angela Tovar/Sustainable South Bronx

A decade in the making, the South Bronx Greenway segment along Food Center Drive in Hunts Point is almost complete. The loop, which will provide a protected path along a busy truck route past some of the region’s largest food and beverage distributors, is set to open this fall.

First proposed by the city in the 2005 Hunts Point Vision Plan, the greenway along Food Center Drive will provide a safe link between residential areas of Hunts Point and the neighborhood’s waterfront parks.

Currently, Food Center Drive has three lanes in each direction divided by a concrete median. A 2004 traffic study by the city found that 70 percent of truck traffic on the loop moves counter-clockwise, so the street will become one-way under the new design, with both sides of the median carrying counter-clockwise traffic. The project also removes one car lane on the outer loop to make way for the greenway.


The bikeway on Food Center Drive will help link the residential areas of Hunts Point to its waterfront parks. Map: EDC

One-way operation enables the elimination of left turns across the greenway. The change, which has been under discussion for years, entailed mapping Food Center Drive as a city street and receiving approvals through the city’s land use review process, including from the borough president and the local community board.

Some businesses along Food Center Drive, however, launched a last-ditch effort to stop the one-way change at last week’s Bronx Community Board 2 economic development committee meeting.

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Will the Parks Department Let Another Sinkhole Swallow the Greenway?

Photos: Ed Boyak

Photos: Ed Boyak

Remember the sinkhole in the Hudson River Greenway that took almost a year for the Parks Department to fix? Now there’s another one.

Streetsblog reader Ed Boyak alerted us and Parks to the new hole, located a few hundred yards south of Dyckman Street. Boyak said it opened up last week.

“There has been a wide depression collecting dirt in this spot for the past few years,” Boyak said in an email. “The now open hole is four to five inches in diameter and appears to be hollow underneath.”

The new hole is nowhere near the size of the Washington Heights crater that formed in 2013, but there is a discernible outline of how it could spread if it isn’t repaired.

Jennifer Hoppa, administrator for parks in Upper Manhattan, said in an email Wednesday that Parks Department staff were on their way inspect the hole. But there was no commitment to fix it.

“One of the many challenges to the site of course is mobilization given that there are stairs to that area and for full repair at a minimum we would need to arrange for a highway lane closure,” wrote Hoppa.

The Hudson River Greenway is the trunk line for bike commuting on the west side of Manhattan. In May the Parks Department and DOT closed sections of the greenway without notice — a routine practice that lengthens commutes and can force cyclists and other users onto streets that aren’t as safe for biking and walking.

The Parks Department didn’t repair the Washington Heights sinkhole for at least 11 months, allowing it to spread most of the width of the greenway.

“I fear the thought of dealing with another six-foot wide hole for the next year or two,” said Boyak.

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Eyes on the Street: State DOT Squeezes Van Cortlandt Park Greenway

Car drivers get two spacious lanes on the left. Golf carts get a full lane on the right. In between, cyclists and pedestrians get squeezed into a four-foot-wide path thanks to the state DOT. Photo: Urban Residue

Car drivers get two spacious lanes on the left. Golf carts get a full lane on the right. In between, cyclists and pedestrians get squeezed into a four-foot-wide path thanks to the state DOT. Photo: Urban Residue

The walls are closing in on people who walk or bike on the Van Cortlandt Park greenway in the Bronx. A state Department of Transportation highway construction project has narrowed the shared bicycle and pedestrian path to just four feet, while leaving adjacent car lanes and a golf cart path almost entirely untouched.

The cause of the greenway pinch point is the $27.8 million reconstruction of the Major Deegan Expressway bridge above Mosholu Parkway, which began in May 2014 and isn’t expected to be complete until spring 2017, according to state DOT [PDF].

The golf cart path adjacent to the greenway was narrowed slightly, but remains wide enough to accommodate larger maintenance vehicles, state DOT says. The greenway path, however, narrows immediately after southbound cyclists descend a curved incline. The space that used to be for biking is now a staging area for construction vehicles.

“Temporarily reducing the widths and alignments of both the golf path and pedestrian walkway is necessary to safely reconstruct the south bridge abutment,” said state DOT spokesperson Diane Park. “Throughout the three-year project, access to the pedestrian walkway will be maintained.”

There's about as much space dedicated to storing Jersey barriers as there is to the safe passage of cyclists and pedestrians. Photo: Urban Residue/Twitter

There’s about as much space dedicated to storing Jersey barriers as there is to people walking and biking. Photo: Urban Residue/Twitter

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Manhattan CB 6 Backs East River Greenway Connector on 37th Street

Compromise: Image: DOT

The East River Greenway, on the other side of FDR Drive to the right, will have a safer connection to the First and Second Avenue bike lanes after DOT moved parking zones closer to a condominium tower. Image: DOT [PDF]

It’s going to become safer and easier to access the East River Greenway, thanks to a vote last night by Manhattan Community Board 6. In a surprisingly drama-free meeting, the board backed the recommendation of DOT and its own transportation committee for a two-way bike path on a single block of 37th Street, connecting the greenway to First Avenue.

The plan had been modified slightly to accommodate the concerns of residents in the Horizon condominium tower, many of whom stormed CB meetings in June over concerns that the bike lane would block curbside car access to their building. Responding to their opposition, the board requested at its June meeting that DOT relocate the path to the south side of the street.

After that meeting, Council Member Dan Garodnick hosted a tour of the site. According to board members, DOT said a southerly alignment would force cyclists to cross two legs of intersections at the FDR Drive service road and First Avenue and put cyclists in the path of turning drivers, posing an unnecessary traffic safety risk. Despite this, many Horizon residents stood firm in their opposition to the plan.

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