Henry Hudson Bridge Walkway Set to Re-Open After Three Years

Pedestrians and cyclists should again have access to the Henry Hudson Bridge walkway this summer, almost three years after it was closed for construction.

A spokesperson with MTA Bridges and Tunnels told Streetsblog Monday that, barring further weather delays, work started on the lower deck of the bridge in 2007 should be complete by the middle to end of June. This will be welcome news for commuters and recreational users who were re-routed to the Broadway Bridge to cross the Harlem River between the Bronx and Manhattan.

"The Inwood Hill Runners are planning a celebratory crossing to Riverdale on the first Saturday of its re-opening," says Tamara Ewoldt, a running group organizer and Inwood resident who first alerted Streetsblog to the bridge closure two-and-a-half years ago. "The availability of this route will improve our safety because it will allow us to avoid running through traffic elsewhere. We have waited a long time for this and look forward to a modernized pathway."

Tangentially, when researching potential links for this post we found a 2003 New York Times article that recalls how the tolled Henry Hudson Bridge, constructed in the 1930s, came to divide Manhattan’s last remaining natural woodland in the first place. In light of Pedro Espada’s proposal to toll East River bridges but put no price on "free" Harlem River crossings, it’s a story that still resonates:

Robert Caro’s biography ”The Power Broker,” published in 1975, outlines the characteristic [Robert] Moses ingenuity at getting things done. Moses was allowed to use free federal labor on ”park access roads,” which is how he designated his highway through Inwood Hill Park. The park site also provided land at no cost.

Furthermore, the bankers who issued bonds looked skeptically on the prospect of a toll bridge built close to an existing free bridge, the Broadway Bridge. Thus, he was bound to the Inwood Hill Park route, even though it would destroy the ancient silence of the place, as well as despoil the sleepy neighborhood of Spuyten Duyvil.

  • Great. So, can anyone tell me how to get to the bike path on this bridge from the greenway (or from nearby streets, if that’s easier)?

  • Go west on Dyckman Street to the end and turn right. Follow the path past the ball fields and then go up and over the Amtrack Bridge. Once on the other side turn left. I believe it’s the second right turn up an unmarked (unmaintained) path. Once you reach the top of the hill you should be able to see the toll plaza.

  • JamesR

    This is fantastic news. The Broadway Bridge is the only crossing in this area at the moment and it’s terrible for cyclists. The signage on the bridge’s heavily used pedestrian walkway commands cyclists to dismount and walk bikes across the bridge. Riding in the roadway just gets you honked at by impatient and aggressive motorists. IIRC, however, cyclists are forbidden from riding on the paths in Inwood Hill Park, so can we expect to be able to use the Henry Hudson Bridge path as a hassle-free connector between Riverdale and Inwood?

  • iSkyscraper

    You left out the part where, after the bridge was built, it turned out that there was very little toll shopping, surprising the bankers and leading to quick financing for the second level. I wonder if that is as true today; it’s not entirely obvious to me, and I live right nearby. One needs to fire RFID tags onto cars exiting at Dyckman to see where they go and if they could have taken the HH were the costs equivalent.

    As for the placement of the HH Parkway, I have mixed feelings about this. I’m no Moses fan, but let’s not forget that the rail line despoiled the park long before the highway, and it remains a tougher barrier to cross than the highway with its multiple underpasses. The highway sits on the west side of the ridge, and I would much rather have it there than sitting on the Indian Road alignment, as was debated at the time. Were that the case, Inwood residential blocks would be filled with noise and exhaust and residents would be truly cut off from the park. As it is now most of the park is free of the highway and you can barely notice it even when standing on the ridge summit, buried into the slope as it is. The final alignment was certainly not so kind to Spuyten Duyvil, but it worked out rather well for Inwood.

  • iSkyscraper

    And yes, the community around IHP needs to wake up to the fact that cyclists are good for the area (especially in terms of safety — eyes on the street and so on) and let Parks lift the ban on bikes in the Park. I have a toddler, so I have as much an interest in keeping the pathways free of speeding bikes as anyone, but the ban is wrong.

    There are limits here — only a single route, the old Bolton Road, should be used by bikes as it alone is wide enough and paved well enough to ensure bike/pedestrian safety on the grades — but the rules need to be altered to allow bikes to seamlessly cross the bridge, enter IHP and skirt the perimeter east to 218th or south to Dyckman.

  • Matt H

    Hi Mike,

    I could have told you how to find this path. The Manhattan-side approach is… (does a mental inventory)… the most obscure in the 5 boroughs. :-/

    The Bronx side is a lot more obvious, fwiw.

  • Mike R

    This is a great news. I wish they would start maintaining that “unmaintained path” though 🙂 I wounder what is worst the Broadway bridge or the unmaintained part. I had a bad fall once because some piece of wood got caught up in my chain on the way home from work(it was really dark)

  • revmouse

    Believe me,you do not want to go into Inwood park especially thatsection on the manhatten side of the HH bridge.people,including myself have been attacked and even murder along that pathway.i was attacked from behind.hit in the back of my head,robbed of my property and left for dead.use the broadway bridge you may have to walk across but you’ll be alot safer.if you insist on going into inwood park bring PROTECTION!

  • Aryeh

    Is the bridge scheduled to open next week?

  • It seems to already be open, Aryeh. My husband walked over it yesterday!

  • The Henry Hudson Bridge Pedestrian Walkway has REOPENED!!!!!!!!

    I walked my bike across it on Sunday! Here’s my blog post about it:

    http://www.railfanwindow.com/blog/2010/06/henry-hudson-bridge-pedestrian-walkway-has-reopened

  • Norris Ogard

    I just traversed the bridge,
    Southbound sign says “No Bicycle Riding Permitted on Bridge”
    Northbound says “Bicycle Traffic Prohibited” along with a couple of signs forbidding taking movies or pictures.

  • Aryeh

    Can I get to the northbound entrance if I am going straight up the Henry Hudson greenway? Or do I need to go around somehow through the streets?

  • Norris Ogard

    You get off greenway where it ends, take first left, I think that’s Shaft St, go down the hill one block. Dykeman is at the bottom of the hill. Turn left, go to baseball fields turn right, follow path to metal steps, up the steps, cross tracks, turn left and up the hill to HH Bridge.

  • Judyannacan

    So, it is now July 2nd is the bike path open on the bridge yet?
    And can anyone tell me how to get to the bike path from Riverdale

  • Norris Ogard

    Judyannacan,
    Head south on the Henry Hudson Pky frontage road, past the highway entrance, 227th St, and the highway exit for Kappock St… BEWARE, drivers on your left will be going fast as they exit! On the left, between that exit and the curve is a short staircase. That is your entrance.
    If you go down the hill curving to the right you have gone too far.

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