Another Interruption Planned for Hudson Greenway

gwaysign.jpgJust after the long-awaited off-road link from Inwood to Battery Park was completed, Streetsblog got word of a pending Hudson River Greenway detour due to planned work by the Port Authority on the Manhattan tower of the George Washington Bridge.

According to the signage plan [PDF], cyclists and ped traffic will be rerouted to Broadway and Ft. Washington Avenue between 158th and 181st Streets, in Washington Heights. As you can see from the signs, work was scheduled to begin in September. According to a notice from Community Board 12, as of last week the PA was set to get started on November 3, but has since postponed again.

Streetsblog has a message in with the PA to see what the latest projected dates are. Looks like the work is supposed to take anywhere from six to eight weeks.

  • Matt H

    Ewww. The access to Riverside Park North at 158th street is long, stairway-happy, and rather isolated.

  • Hannah

    I was wondering about that, as I hadn’t even known one could access the pathway at 158th. Thanks for the warning.

  • somebody

    actually, that access point has two ramps – one on road and another off road. the off road is a series of switchbacks which seems to have been modified to reduce the grade. both options are a piece of cake compared to the hill just before 181.

    i think the stair access you are considering is at 156th st.

  • LN

    I travel that route everyday, the only way it works is because there’s not that many others that do it. This is going to be chaos.

    You can either go up/down the zig zag ramp, contesting with everyone else on that ramp or just take the on/off ramp to the Henry Hudson up to 158th and go onto the greenway at 157. Then you have a recently paved but very steep hill to go up to/down from Broadway, passing through a confusing 6 way intersection.

    Then you can either cross broadway at 158th to the uptown side and then cross again one block north as the signs will tell you OR just ride one block north on the west sidewalk to Fort Washington. Everyone rides the sidewalk now.

    There are no bike lanes until you get to fort washington.

  • I used the access point at the end of 155th Street once and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. First I had to carry my bike down an awful lot of stairs. Then, despite the fact that I looked both ways before venturing into the crosswalk I nearly got hit by a car coming around the blind turn. I guess the trick is to first look north and then south.

    If DOT expects commuters to use this alternate route they probably should plan a specific detour and improve traffic signals. I think there may have been a flashing yellow light but if cars don’t expect to see pedestrians they’re not going to slow down.

  • Live Search shows what looks like an abandoned access to the greenway just south of the bridge at around 176th Street. In fact, it looks like there’s a huge chunk o’ park that was at one point a nice place to walk around in, but was simply commandeered for the parkway/bridge interchange.

    What if the Port Authority were interested in actually accommodating greenway users, rather than just keeping them away from the staging area? How much do you think it would cost to rebuild the greenway access? It would not only cut the detour down from thirty blocks to eleven, but it would also improve access to the waterfront for the lower-income people living in southern Washington Heights.

  • Actually, it’s funny that the access seems to show up on Google Maps as a path. It doesn’t exist any more, does it?

  • I’ve ridden past that access a jillion times but have never investigated it. It’s a staircase, I believe, so to make it bike-friendly it would need to be ramped. My higher priority would be to install lighting or (at least) reflectors and reflective paint along the stretch between 162nd and 165th streets (behind the courts and next to the Amtrak rails). It’s pitch dark in there after sunset and presents some real safety hazards.

  • I’ve used that “abandoned” access point twice. The last time was only a couple of weeks ago. It begins somewhere behind Columbia Presbyterian and looks like a well worn path running alongside some exit ramp. It’s unpaved, unmarked, and has a few steps but eventually it makes its way across that Amtrak bridge and leaves you right by the bathrooms.

  • Very interesting, Stacy! I wonder what it would take to pave it, put in a ramp and make it safer.

  • somebody

    indeed, it would be wonderful if they repaired the w176th st. access point.

    in the meantime, here, http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=west+158th+street+new+york+city&sll=40.852189,-73.937559&sspn=0.031487,0.077248&ie=UTF8&ll=40.83579,-73.948127&spn=0.001968,0.004828&t=h&z=18 w158th is a piece of cake.

    (hope the url works)

  • Cap’n Transit

    From what I remember there’s a bit of gravel/small stones in the path that could be swept aside but most of the path is rideable with 700×25 tires.

    The stairs around the bridge are no worse than other steps on the Greenway but it would be safer to have some signage there warning cyclists that they need to dismount. I think there’s also a short tunnel before the bridge. Maybe wooden ramps, like those used around the 79th Street Rotunda, would be a quick fix but the last time I was there I happened across a guy with a moped who had no problem getting it down the steps. Pushing it up might be a bit more challenging.

    Probably the biggest drawback is that it looks more like an invitation to a mugging than a waterfront access point. The first time I used it I just followed some joggers who said they were going down to the river. Marking the trail with Greenway signs would make a big difference.

    It could probably be restored for less money than DOT and the Parks Dept spends when they want to temporarily reroute the bike path through Riverside South, or between Chelsea Piers and the Gansvoort Street Sanitation facility.

  • Probably the biggest drawback is that it looks more like an invitation to a mugging than a waterfront access point. The first time I used it I just followed some joggers who said they were going down to the river. Marking the trail with Greenway signs would make a big difference.

    True, you want people going through there on a regular basis to get those “eyes on the street.” But if any brave individuals would measure the amount of time it takes to detour that way vs. the Port Authority’s planned detour, that could bolster the case for restoring it. Thanks again for the info.

  • John Deere

    Gee, thanks Port Authority. Now we get to take a long climb up 181st St. so we can descend back to the path at 158th (or a long climb up 158th so we can descend back to the path at 181st). I’m sure if something needed to be done on the Manhattan anchorage of the GW Bridge, y’all wouldn’t close down the Henry Hudson Parkway for 6 – 8 weeks, would you? But since cyclists are 2nd class citizens in your mind, it’s not a big deal. Don’t think so? How about that ongoing night time closure of the GW Bridge bike path for “security reasons”. Don’t see y’all closing down the whole bridge to all those potential truck & car bombs overnight.

    As for access to 158th–just go through the gate near 158th, turn left up the ramp. Not a big deal. Same for coming down. Just go down the hill on 158th to the end, turn left, go down the ramp. The ramp has two-way traffic, and not that much of it.

  • PayingItNow

    This time of year, on the way home I exit the path at 96th St. and take Riverside Drive all the way up to 165, then head up Ft. Washington (I live in the 180s). Cherry Walk is suicide because of the headlights, and the Greenway above 135th is too desolate and creepy in the dark for me (a generally pretty fearless male, fwiw). I guess I’ll just have to do the same thing in the mornings.

  • PayingItNow, I think you’re depriving yourself of some of the most magnificent night views in New York by leaving the Greenway at 96th Street. The approach to the GWB at night along the water is worth the trip alone. I have never worried about being attacked, but I agree 100% that the Cherry Walk and the 162nd-165th stretch present numerous safety hazards due to inadequate/non-existent lighting.

  • Re: John Deere’s comment, is there any documented case of an act of terrorism being committed on a bicycle? Whereas we know of numerous acts of terrorism being committed via cars. And yet, cyclists are prevented from using the GWB between midnight and 6 a.m., while car traffic continues unimpeded, nor can one even bring a bicycles outside of City Hall because it “might” be used as a weapon.

  • PayngItNow

    “PayingItNow, I think you’re depriving yourself of some of the most magnificent night views in New York by leaving the Greenway at 96th Street. The approach to the GWB at night along the water is worth the trip alone.”
    Maybe, but given that I won’t ride on Cherry walk after dark, it’s too much hassle getting to and from the path. Once up on RSD, might as well stay there. I’m not sightseeing; I’m trying to get home.

    ” I have never worried about being attacked,”
    There were a few reports of muggings last year, as well as the “tack attacks”. The section that runs next to the Sewage treatment plant is like a cattle chute — no way out once you’re in. After dark, no thanks.

    ” but I agree 100% that the Cherry Walk”
    At Cherry walk, I don’t think lighting would even help. The path is just too close to the oncoming traffic, and there are too many places where you’re just staring directly into headlight glare.

    “and the 162nd-165th stretch present numerous safety hazards due to inadequate/non-existent lighting.”
    That section actually doesn’t bother me that much. I know where all the holes are.

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