Skip to content

Posts from the Greenways Category

60 Comments

New Riverside Park Master Plan May Send Greenway Cyclists on Hilly Detours

The preliminary Riverside Park Master Plan reroutes cyclists away from the waterfront at 72nd Street. Image: NYC Parks

The preliminary Riverside Park Master Plan reroutes cyclists away from the waterfront at 72nd Street, along the hillier path marked by the bold dotted green line. Click to enlarge. Image: NYC Parks

The waterfront greenway in Riverside Park is one of New York’s most popular places to bike and walk. During the summer, it can get crowded — so crowded that the Parks Department is proposing new detour routes to divert cyclists away from the waterfront path. Those routes are hillier and poorly lit, however, and advocates are worried that the department will compel cyclists to use them at all times.

On Monday, the Parks Department presented parts of its preliminary Riverside Park Master Plan to the Manhattan Community Board 7 parks and environment committee. The plan includes bike detours along three segments of the greenway — between 72nd and 83rd streets, 93rd and 99th, and 145th and 155th.

The detour path between 72nd and 83rd received some funding courtesy of Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s 2015 participatory budget and will be built next year. It includes a particularly steep incline at 79th Street, where cyclists will have to climb up and around the 79th Street Rotunda. Lowering the grade of the rotunda’s access ramps is included in the long-term Riverside master plan, but is not part of the upcoming project and will likely be very expensive.

CB 7 member Ken Coughlin, speaking for himself and not the board, said that while the waterfront esplanade can get messy in the summer, most of the time it is fine. The greenway is the most heavily-biked route in the city, and for much of the year there are more cyclists than pedestrians using the waterfront path.

He warned that the detour paths could pose particular problems during the winter, when there is limited lighting and inclines may freeze over and become slippery. “The absence of notable conflicts on the current riverfront path during most days and times does not justify forcing [cyclists] to divert to a sub-optimal hilly, indirect and potentially unsafe route at all times,” he said in an email.

Rosenthal’s communications director Stephanie Buhle said rules regarding cyclists’ use of the waterfront path have yet to be determined. “[We are] trying to assess and make sense of what will work to make sure pedestrians and cyclists are using the space in a way that makes it possible for everyone,” she said.

Read more…

28 Comments

After 8 Years, DOT Finally Has a Bike Plan for Dyckman St. CB 12: Not So Fast.

DOT's plan would put painted bike lanes on Dyckman Street between Broadway and Nagle Avenue and a two protected lane between Nagle and 10th Avenue. Image: DOT

DOT’s plan calls for painted bike lanes on Dyckman Street between Broadway and Nagle Avenue and a two-way protected lane between Nagle and 10th Avenue. Image: DOT

Eight years after uptown advocates first called for a bike connection across Inwood, linking greenways along the Hudson River and the Harlem River, DOT has a bike lane plan for Dyckman Street.

Between Broadway and Nagle Avenue, the redesign would convert the current four-lane design into DOT’s standard road diet template — a general traffic lane and a five-foot-wide un-protected bike lane in each direction, plus a painted median and center turn lanes. Between Nagle Avenue and Tenth Avenue, where there are already buffered bike lanes, the project would add a nine-foot two-way protected bike lane with a three-foot buffer along the north side of Harlem River Park.

While the plan falls short of the fully-protected connection advocates wanted, it’s a big improvement on a street that currently lacks space for cycling.

Washington Heights resident Jonathan Rabinowitz, who has pushed for a bikeable Dyckman Street for several years, said the project will provide a useful link to other recent bike network improvements in the neighborhood. “For someone who is going typically [north-south] like myself, even this minimal on-street bike lane approach is a benefit because it creates a space on those two blocks to connect Fort George Hill with Sherman Avenue,” he said.

In addition to the road diet and bike lanes, the project includes new median islands at Vermilyea and Post Avenues and a large painted curb extension and new crosswalk at the intersection with Tenth Avenue.

On June 6, DOT presented the Dyckman Street project to the Manhattan Community Board 12 transportation committee [PDF]. Instead of supporting the plan, the committee asked DOT to hold a workshop on the proposal and the overall transportation needs of the area. But neighborhood residents have already waited eight years for safer cycling on Dyckman.

The Dyckman project has gone through an interminable public process. In 2008, after months of local advocacy, CB 12 passed a resolution requesting a DOT feasibility study of a Dyckman protected bike lane. Then, in 2011 and again in 2012, the board requested bike lane upgrades. But now that a DOT plan has finally materialized, the committee wants to delay implementation with more meetings.

Read more…

7 Comments

Peds, Cyclists Fend for Themselves While Parks Department Fixes Bronx Paths

The Pelham Parkway Malls, which are used for walking and biking, are set for resurfacing and reconstruction work that's expected to last for two years.

The fenced-off Pelham Parkway malls at White Plains Road, by the entrance to the Pelham Parkway 2/5 station. Photo: Robert Wright

The Parks Department is making much-needed repairs to the Pelham Parkway malls, but the city has failed to provide good detours for walking and biking paths that are now blocked, creating hazards for pedestrians and cyclists.

The Bronx Times reports that both the north and south sections of the malls are closed off east of White Plains Road, where some people now walk in the roadbed.

The construction project is slated to take at least two years. While the work will improve conditions on paths that were falling apart, it looks like the Parks Department has failed to consider how people walking and biking will get around in the meantime.

Rehabilitating the Pelham Parkway malls, which run east-west from Bronx Park to Stillwell Avenue, has been a priority of Bronx Community Board 11 for many years. The current $1.35 million capital project, between Boston Road and Wallace Avenue, is the first of three phases of reconstruction expected to cost around $8 million.

“The intent for this project is to reconstruct the Malls providing a safe, attractive recreational space for pedestrians, cyclists and runners,” a Parks Department spokesperson told Streetsblog.

Construction began last month and is slated to finish in March 2018. Barebones information on the project is on the department’s website, and “signs are clearly posted to inform the public of this closure,” according to the Parks spokesperson.

Signs marking the closure don’t seem to be enough, though. Joe Menta of the Pelham Parkway Preservation Alliance told the Bronx Times that people are walking in the roadbeds next to the malls, where many drivers are coming or going from the high-speed Bronx River Parkway. Without a clearly delineated construction detour, there’s also one less decent option for east-west cycling in the central Bronx.

Read more…

10 Comments

When Will DDC Build the Brooklyn Greenway on Flushing Ave and West Street?

A preliminary rendering of the two-way bikeway and planted buffer slated for West Street in Greenpoint. Image: DDC

A preliminary rendering of the two-way bikeway slated for West Street in Greenpoint. Image: DDC

It’s been more than three years since NYC DOT announced its full implementation plan for the 14-mile Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a series of 23 capital projects that would build out the biking and walking path in high-quality, permanent materials. At the time, DOT said that construction would begin soon on the Flushing Avenue and West Street segments of the greenway, but with 2015 drawing to a close there’s still no sign of progress. What gives?

Both segments have gone through the community board review process. The Brooklyn CB 1 transportation committee voted for the proposal for West Street in 2012, and in 2013 CB 2 voted in favor of the Flushing Avenue segment, which was supposed to reach the construction phase last fall. As is often the case with capital construction projects, however, the Department of Design and Construction hasn’t implemented the greenway segments according to schedule.

DDC only furnished a vague progress report on the greenway projects, without a timetable, so we turned to Brooklyn Greenway Initiative co-founder Milton Puryear, who says that both the Flushing Avenue and West Street segments of the greenway are fully funded, designed, and ready to go.

Puryear pins the delays on Flushing Avenue and West Street on subsurface infrastructure improvements that must precede greenway construction. The West Street portion, for instance, includes bioswales and high-level sewers that will prevent stormwater from overloading the sewage system and from mixing with raw sewage before it goes into the river.

Read more…

32 Comments

Eyes on the Street: 8-Year Downtown Greenway Detour Finally Ends

greenway_free

Looking north on the newly reopened segment of the Hudson River Greenway by Brookfield Place. Photo: @DataVizier

Since 2007, people biking on the Hudson River Greenway in Lower Manhattan have had to take a circuitous detour into Battery Park City. Not anymore.

This weekend, the shuttered greenway segment reopened, providing a straight shot to and from the Battery. @DataVizier called our attention to these photos he took of the reconstructed greenway at night, and the Tribeca Citizen has more coverage.

Several agencies were involved in the eight-year process of rerouting and, after a very long wait, restoring the greenway. The detour began in 2007 to accommodate construction of an underground passageway beneath West Street, linking the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place to the World Trade Center PATH station. Originally slated to last until 2010, the detour dragged on for a full eight years, including two years after the PATH tunnel opened. The state DOT announced two months ago that the greenway would be back to normal by November.

Throughout all eight years of the greenway detour, motor vehicle capacity on West Street was barely affected.

But as of this weekend, convenient biking and walking access along West Street has been restored. Enjoy.

Read more…

18 Comments

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.

1 Comment

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.

12 Comments

Temporary Red Hook Greenway Plan Looks Better Than the Permanent One

dafs

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.

Read more…

32 Comments

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.

15 Comments

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.

Read more…