For 33 blocks in Midtown, Manhattan’s East River Greenway disappears, forcing cyclists to detour onto some of the most traffic-choked and dangerous streets in the city. That’s a major deterrent to cycling on the East Side. While bike lanes planned for First and Second Avenues will help, there are no protected lanes slated for several blocks in Midtown.
Change may be on the way, however. Over the next week, New Yorkers who want safer cycling conditions have a chance to close the greenway gap. This Sunday, the public is invited to an open house about the Midtown East waterfront, hosted by every elected official representing the area. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, who’s responsible for the city’s greenways, and NYCEDC executive vice president Madelyn Wils will both make presentations at the event, and a big announcement is expected. On the agenda: an interconnected set of proposals, including closing the greenway gap and expanding the United Nations into the Robert Moses Playground.
If you want a complete East River Greenway, this open house is the place to make your voice heard. It’s this Sunday, June 6, from 2:00 to 4:00 at the Schottenstein Cultural Center (239 East 34th Street, between Second and Third Avenues).
Just a few days later, Community Board 6 will be taking up the issue at its full board meeting, which will be held next Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Baruch College (17 Lexington Ave, between 22nd and 23rd).
According to a reliable source, the board is expected to put forward a resolution that imposes so many conditions on any greenway expansion that it would amount to a vote against the project. While Sunday is the higher-profile, public event, greenway supporters will also want to attend the community board meeting and help prevent poison pills from being attached to closing the greenway gap. The board’s aggressive schedule suggests it could be a controversial meeting.