Efforts to Close East River Greenway Gap Advance With Feasibility Study

Right now, cyclists riding the East River Esplanade are forced onto the wide and unsafe First Avenue for 22 blocks in Midtown. Photo: ##http://www.streetsblog.org/2010/09/28/the-dangers-and-indignities-of-riding-the-east-river-greenway/#more-245008##Kim Martineau##

New York took a step forward today in attempts to close the 22 block gap in the East River Esplanade, which forces cyclists into traffic in the ultra-congested heart of Midtown and deprives East Side communities of valuable riverfront open space. Thanks to state and federal funding, including an earmark from Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, the New York City Economic Development Corporation put out a request for a feasibility study looking at how to build a greenway along the East River between 38th and 60th Streets.

Building that continuous route would create a long-missing trunk for north-south bike travel along the East Side of Manhattan. The continuous greenway along the West Side is the busiest bike path in the country, and riders from the East Side will go out of their way to use it instead of biking on Manhattan’s wide avenues.

The study covers a variety of topics, from a broad conceptual design to the integration of the bikeway with the street network and from structural engineering to cost estimation. While the study moves the project forward, a completed greenway on the East Side remains years away. The RFP says that the contract for the feasibility study alone would last two years.

Today’s announcement won plaudits from every elected official in the area.

  • I am all for building the Greenway; however, I strongly oppose the selling of Robert Moses Park — an alienation of a public park to do so. The Greenway will not replace an inland, bicycle-free park. The Greenway, when built, will most likely be a narrow strip of asphalt — perfect for its intended use — that of a bike path.

  • Ian Turner

    I’m not generally an enthusiastic fan of either Carolyn Maloney or earmarks, but this is good news.

  • Daphna

    What happened to the plan that was reported on streetsblog on June 8, 2010 by Glenn McAnanama? The article was “Local Electeds Back Deal to Bridge East River Greenway Gap”.

    From his article: “The city would sell the western part of Robert Moses Playground, a rectangle of asphalt at the corner of 41st and First Avenue. An area that attracts occasional recreational use would be annexed. Space used for a dog run, handball and basketball courts would not be touched. In turn, the U.N. would pay the city $150 million, mainly for the right to construct a new building the same height as the current U.N. tower. The funding would be used to complete the East River waterfront esplanade and plug the greenway gap.” and “Benepe said the new greenway segment would be a no-frills affair, like the recently completed connector on the Hudson River near Riverside Park. He also emphasized that without funding from the U.N. land deal, the project could not move forward. In addition to closing the greenway gap, he identified a package of public space enhancements the city can provide to offset the loss of part of Robert Moses park:” Four were listed. http://www.streetsblog.org/2010/06/08/city-bigs-local-electeds-back-deal-to-bridge-east-river-greenway-gap/

    Is this going forward?

    As I understand it, this land swap has to happen otherwise the UN has the waterfront and there is no space to even put the “no-frills” greenway suggested.

  • vnm

    Does anyone know what ever happened to the cassions that were set into the river as a means to support the outboard FDR detour? These were supposed to be saved as a way to lower the costs and/or make it feasible to build the greenway.

  • carma

    the greenways along the riversides are the best bike paths you can possibly have. no traffic, and all the views in the world. if anything, all 5 boroughs need a bike greenway surrounding the borough.

  • Judge

    Fantastic news, but I hope they also plan to rehabilitate the existing sections, especially in the Harlem area.

  • Glenn McAnanama

    EDC was coordinating this effort, so this seems to have finally come to fruition.

  • Glenn McAnanama

    EDC was coordinating this effort, so this seems to have finally come to fruition.

  • They are still there in the water. There was emergency work done on pilings in that area. Hopefully they took care of those while they were there.

  • Nothing came of it as of yet. The politicos wanted to spend 500,000 so they created a feasibility study. They are also looking for an excuse to sell Robert Moses Park to the U.N. an alienation of parks — something that is against the public interest. This feasibility study, no doubt will rubber stamp this nonsense. It was probably part of the contract for the study. Study results were provided and the contract was for the report to back up the results.

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