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Posts from the "Hudson River Greenway" Category

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Ten Months Later, Parks Department Fills in Hudson River Greenway Hole

Greenway users need this like a hole in the head. Will the Parks Department fix it? Photo: BornAgainBikist/Twitter

Greenway users need this like a hole in the head. The Parks Department says it filled the cave-in today. Photo: BornAgainBikist/Twitter

Last June, we reported on a sinkhole in the Hudson River Greenway just north of 181st Street in Washington Heights. The Parks Department, which manages the path, said it had cordoned off the hole and was assessing the situation. As of yesterday, nothing much had changed in ten months — except the hole has filled with leaves and grown slightly larger, swallowing more of the greenway path along with it. Now, the Parks Department says it has filled in the hole as a temporary measure.

With the weather warming up, more and more people are using the greenway, which is a vital connection for bike commuters in Upper Manhattan. Streetsblog readers have contacted us to express their concern and frustration. “It’s so large at this point that you have to either dismount and walk through or ride through very carefully to avoid falling in,” wrote reader James Rather. “It’s a huge hazard.”

Streetsblog asked the Parks Department today if it has done anything to fix the hole since it first surfaced, or if it has plans for repair. This afternoon the agency said the hole is being filled in as a temporary fix:

While a long-term solution for this situation is being determined, on Monday we filled in the holes with gravel and dirt to allow users of the greenway to pass safely. Cyclists will have to dismount for a few yards. This work should be complete by Monday evening.

We’ve asked the Parks Department whether the dismount zone is just for today or will be in place indefinitely until a permanent fix is installed. Update: Parks says cyclists will “likely” have to continue to dismount after the hole is filled in.

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Mapping Out a Route for the Hudson River Greenway in the Bronx

The plan for the Hudson River Greenway in the Bronx includes improvements in the next three years in blue, the next decade in purple, and the years beyond in red. Image: NYMTC

The plan for the Hudson River Greenway in the Bronx: Improvements for the next three years are in blue, the next decade in purple, and the years beyond in red. Click to enlarge. Image: NYMTC

In 1991, Governor Mario Cuomo signed the Hudson River Valley Greenway Act, setting in motion the design and construction of a continuous walking and biking route along the river, from Manhattan to Saratoga County. More than two decades later, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council — the NYC-area regional planning agency — has come up with a preferred route for the greenway through the Bronx and parts of Yonkers, which would fill the gap between the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway and the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail in Westchester County.

The study, funded by a $1 million earmark from Senator Charles Schumer in the 2005 federal transportation bill, involved years of workshops, meetings, and analysis by NYMTC and lead consultant The RBA Group to identify a route. Tweaks are still being considered, and NYMTC anticipates ironing out the final details by the middle of next year. This study, while comprehensive, simply outlines a preferred route and provides cost estimates. Bronxites looking to walk and bike on their section of the greenway are still a long way from seeing shovels in the ground.

Some residents of Palisade Avenue are worried that the greenway plans could ruin the bucolic nature of their street. Image: NYMTC

Some residents of Palisade Avenue are worried that the greenway plans could ruin the bucolic nature of their street — by adding sidewalks. Image: NYMTC

The route, running from the Henry Hudson Bridge to Yonkers, is broken into three phases, covering the next three years, the next decade, and beyond.

The first phase creates a physically-separated greenway path along Palisade Avenue and in Riverdale Park between 232nd and 254th Streets. North of 254th, it would create an on-street route along Palisade Avenue, 261st Street, and Riverdale Avenue to Yonkers. South of 232nd, an on-street route is planned along Palisade Avenue and Kappock Street to the Henry Hudson Bridge.

At last month’s Community Board 8 parks committee meeting, residents of Palisade Avenue raised concerns about the potential changes. Currently, the street, which carries two-way traffic and has on-street parking on its east side, does not have any lane markings. The report recommends building a sidewalk along the west side, striping a yellow centerline and adding shared lane markings for cyclists, while maintaining on-street parking.

Residents at the meeting were worried that sidewalk construction would require land takings and alter the wooded, alpine nature of the area. NYMTC is considering other options, including a painted area on the street that designates pedestrian space instead of a sidewalk. “We understand the residents’ concerns about the bucolic nature of the roadway,” said Gerry Bogacz, NYMTC’s planning director. Some residents requested that the plan relocate the greenway’s on-street route one block east to Independence Avenue, but Bogacz was less receptive to that idea.

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Hudson River Greenway Detour, Set to End This Week, Extended Until March

Before and after. Photo: BornAgainBicyclist/Twitter

Before and after. Photo: BornAgainBicyclist/Twitter

Since May, Hudson River Greenway users have been detoured from the waterside route between 133rd and 135th Streets to 12th Avenue, which is often full of trucks unloading at the Fairway supermarket. The closure, which signs on the greenway said would end at the end of last month, has been extended through the end of February without explanation.

The detour was put in place to accommodate a project to rebuild and increase the capacity of a natural gas regulator station on the river at 134th Street. The project, which connects to the 10,200-mile Transco gas pipeline network from southern Texas, operated by Williams Energy, raised some concerns among elected officials and members of Community Board 9 early this year, but work began in May.

Earlier this week, the revised date was written on permanent marker duct-taped to the old signs. The signs have since been upgraded with new, more legible dates.

The Parks Department says it was notified by Williams Energy last week of the delay, which adds three months to what was supposed to be a seven-month detour. Williams Energy has not responded to Streetsblog’s inquiries about the cause of the delay in reopening the greenway and the late notification to greenway users.

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City Lays an Old Board Over Upper Manhattan Greenway Pit

The Parks Department doesn’t know when a hole that opened up two months ago on the Hudson River Greenway will be repaired.

A tipster sent us photos of the pit, located just north of 181st Street in Washington Heights, in June. These pictures were taken by the same reader about a week and a half ago, on July 26. Compared to the June pics, it looks like part of the hole has been filled with dirt, and some of it covered with a wooden board. The metal barriers have been shifted, so there’s more room for people to pass. Other than some yellow tape, there is no warning signage. You can also see a crack forming around the existing hole, stretching almost the width of the greenway.

In June, a Parks spokesperson said the department was “assessing the damage.” Parks told us Tuesday that the Department of Environmental Protection inspected the hole, and “found a broken pipe in the roadway drainage system.”

“State DOT is reviewing the findings to determine the next steps,” a Parks spokesperson said, in an email. We’ve asked New York State DOT when the hole will be repaired, and whether the work might entail a detour for greenway users. We’ll update here.

In the meantime, one of the most heavily trafficked bike and pedestrian paths in New York City is patched with an old board.

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Eyes on the Street: Hole in the Hudson River Greenway in Washington Heights

A tipster sent us photos of what looks like a sinkhole in the Hudson River Greenway just north of 181st Street, in Washington Heights. These shots were taken Sunday morning.

We asked the Parks Department when the hole might be repaired, and whether repair work would necessitate a detour. “We are aware of the situation and we have the area cordoned off for public safety while we assess the damage,” said a spokesperson, via email.

Greenway users, let us know what you’re seeing in the area of 181st Street.

Though it’s prime cycling weather, Parks has closed another uptown stretch of the greenway — from 133rd Street to 135th Street — until December, directing users to detour onto 12th Avenue. Parks told Streetsblog in May that the Harlem greenway segment was blocked so that a utility company could stage construction equipment.

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Eyes on the Street: Watch Drivers on 158th Street Run Reds With Impunity

Drivers going to and from the Henry Hudson Parkway at 158th Street pass a traffic signal at a crosswalk that cyclists and pedestrians use to access the Hudson River Greenway. The light flashes yellow until a crosswalk user requests a signal, at which point it turns red and drivers must stop at the crosswalk.

The problem? Drivers often don’t stop for the red.

Anna Zivarts, 29, is a video producer from Red Hook who uses the crosswalk on her rides up the greenway every week, where she connects to 158th Street. She noticed that drivers weren’t stopping for her when she had the signal. “I was going to make a video to show DOT that the light was broken,” she said, before realizing that the light wasn’t malfunctioning. Drivers were simply ignoring it.

“Recently, I’ve seen it every time I’ve crossed,” Zivarts told Streetsblog. “You see people running red lights all the time in the city, but not with such repetition in the same spot. It’s just crazy.”

Streetsblog has inquired with DOT and NYPD about whether either agency would be performing red light enforcement at the intersection, with automated cameras or officers. We also have a request in with Council Member Robert Jackson’s office about the issue. We’ll let you know if we hear anything back.

The intersection sits on the boundaries of the 30th and 33rd Precincts. The next 30th Precinct community council meeting, where residents can express concerns to the precinct about traffic enforcement, is scheduled for June 27 at 7:30 p.m.; the next 33rd precinct community council meeting will take place on June 26 at 6:30 p.m.

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Parks Department Detours Hudson River Greenway in Harlem Until December

The closed section of the path, looking north from 133rd Street.

The Hudson River Greenway between 133rd Street and 135th Street in West Harlem is closed until December, with users instructed to use 12th Avenue as a detour during the greenway’s busiest warm-weather months.

Detour signage instructs greenway users to travel via 12th Avenue.

Detour signage has been placed on the greenway as users approach the closed section, though our tipsters said there was no warning signage in advance of the closure.

The closed section is along a seawall bulkhead, while nearby sections are not immediately adjacent to the riverfront. It also passes a Department of Sanitation facility and a natural gas facility, both of which are located on the river and connected to the path by pier structures.

This isn’t the first time the Parks Department, which manages the Hudson River Greenway, has shut down sections of this key cycling artery to Upper Manhattan. A few years ago, Parks banned biking on greenway access paths linking to Riverside Park, but later reversed the decision. Last year, rehabilitation of a bridge over the Amtrak corridor threatened to shut the path entirely north of the George Washington Bridge. After a nor’easter last November, the the department decided to shut the path altogether.

Streetsblog has asked the Parks Department why the path is closed and what kind of work will be taking place there. We’ll let you know if we hear anything back. Update: A utility company will be performing construction work at the site, according to Parks Department spokesperson Phil Abramson. “The work is not happening on parks property but they need room for construction staging,” he wrote in an e-mail.

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Car-Free Parks? Not During This Hudson River Greenway Drive-In Picnic

Driving over a mile on a car-free greenway for that perfect picnic spot? No problem. Photo: Katty Van Itallie

New York City’s parks are supposed to be a respite from the noise and stress of the city. It seems a few people haven’t got the message — and are using the Hudson River Greenway bicycle and pedestrian path as their personal driveway to the Upper Manhattan waterfront.

Reader Katty Van Itallie tells Streetsblog that she was biking on the greenway at about 6:30 p.m. yesterday when she came across a couple of SUVs parked on the grass near the Little Red Lighthouse in Fort Washington Park. The drivers and passengers had set up a sunset picnic nearby. When she snapped some photos, one of the members of the group approached her, telling her not to take pictures of their cars and that they had a permit for the drive-in.

“There would certainly be a permit for a picnic. I can’t speak to the driving,” said Parks Department spokesperson Phil Abramson. UPDATE: ”No permits were issued for any kind of event at this park,” Abramson said in an e-mail to Streetsblog.

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NYPD Ticketing Cyclists for Late-Night Hudson River Greenway Commutes

NYPD is ticketing cyclists riding on the Hudson River Greenway after 1:00 a.m., which is the Parks Department’s citywide closing time, according to a reader who was stopped by police on the greenway last night.

NYPD shut down the Hudson River Greenway as a functional transportation route last night after 1:00 a.m. Photo: Ed Yourdon/Flickr

A Streetsblog reader who gave her name as Ellen says she was commuting home at around 1:30 a.m. early this morning when she saw a police cruiser blocking the path near 72nd Street. She had heard that officers were ticketing cyclists for using the greenway after 1:00 a.m., so the encounter wasn’t entirely unexpected.

“He didn’t ticket me, but gave me a warning,” Ellen writes. However, she says the officer’s partner gave tickets to other riders that passed by during that time. The officer told Ellen that riders are putting themselves at risk of attack by riding in the park after 1:00 a.m. ”I told him we are commuting home on the safest route possible,” Ellen said. “I said I would rather take my chances in the park than on the street with the drunk drivers.”

Calling the rationale of getting cyclists off the greenway in the name of safety “just plain nuts,” Ken Coughlin, who serves on the transportation committee of Community Board 7, which covers the Upper West Side, noted that the greenway is “the cyclists’ equivalent of the Henry Hudson Parkway.”

“Sharing streets with motor vehicles is more dangerous for cyclists in any case, but it is far more dangerous late at night when drivers tend to go faster and are more likely to be impaired,” he said.

It’s hardly the first time that Parks Department policy has conflicted with the greenway’s role as a transportation artery. A few years ago, the department banned biking on greenway access paths linking to Riverside Park, but later reversed the decision. After a nor’easter last November, for instance, the Parks Department decided to shut the path entirely. Now, police enforcement of the 1:00 a.m. curfew is diminishing the benefits of improved lighting on the greenway between 59th and 72nd Streets, which NYC DOT installed in February, encouraging evening and nighttime cycling.

South of 59th Street, the greenway is owned by the New York State Department of Transportation, and remains open 24 hours a day.

Parks Department spokesperson Philip Abramson confirmed that Riverside Park and Riverside Park South, including the greenway, close at 1:00 a.m., but referred other questions to NYPD. Streetsblog has inquired about the ticketing with NYPD via phone and email, but has not received a reply.

UPDATE:  CB 7 chair Mark Diller told Streetsblog, ”It’s of concern that the greenway is not open at all hours, if only for the reason that streets get more dangerous after dark.” Because the path is a major route for cyclists north of 59th Street, Diller would like to reach some kind of agreement with the Parks Department, and will be meeting soon with the parks administrator to address this and other park issues.

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Let There Be Light: Notorious Dark Patch of West Side Greenway Gets Bright

New lights on the Hudson River Greenway between 59th and 72nd Streets. Photo: Sebastian Delmont/Flickr

New lights appeared earlier this week on the Hudson River Greenway between 59th and 72nd Streets, on a notoriously dark stretch beneath an elevated section of the West Side Highway.

Although a few patches remain dark, sources tell us it’s a vast improvement. Word is that DOT is responsible for installing these lights, which are a temporary solution until the Parks Department redesigns this area of the park next year. Repeated appeals from local cyclists to the Parks Department to provide this simple safety upgrade were met with surprising apathy in the past. Parks first promised lighting on this stretch of the greenway in 2010, but didn’t deliver anything until last year. The new lights seem to be a big step up compared to the old ones.

Streetsblog has checked with DOT and the Parks Department for more information. We’ll let you know if we hear an update.