Parks Dept: Timeline and Detour Route Uncertain for Greenway Bridge Rehab

Photo: ## Used with permission.

A city Parks Department official says plans are not yet finalized for work on a bridge that connects the Hudson River Greenway to Washington Heights and the George Washington Bridge.

“The bridge is being reconstructed,” wrote Jennifer Hoppa, administrator of parks for Northern Manhattan, in an email. According to Hoppa, the department is still hammering out legalities with Amtrak. “Therefore I don’t anticipate that construction will begin in the fall,” she wrote.

The bridge rehab is one of a number of PlaNYC improvements slated for Washington Heights and Inwood. While it’s unclear at this point how long the project will take, Streetsblog reader and Heights resident Lars Klove told Streetsblog that recent discussions among members of Community Board 12 suggested a timeline of 18 months to two years.

As for commuters and other users who rely on the bridge, wrote Hoppa, “An alternate route will need to be identified for the construction duration.”

Hoppa is looking into user counts for the bridge. We’ll post those numbers here when we get them.

  • If this work really will take up to 2 years, Parks really needs to deliver a realistic alternate route for the thousands of cyclists, joggers, peds, dog walkers, and families who use this for recreation and commuting, seven days a week. For cyclists and the handicapped, that means no stairways (I’m told there is a ped path that allows you to access lower Ft. Washington Park, but it involves using a staircase). They also need to communicate well in advance and make sure there is adequate notice and detour signage, which does not always happen, especially on the upper sections of the greenway. 

  • J

    For a 2 year closure, the Parks Department needs to more than just IDENTIFY an alternate route, they need to make sure that it maintains most of the quality of the exiting route. That is, it needs to be off-street, lit, well-paved, as direct as possible, and not requiring cyclist to go up and down stairs. Automotive detours follow similar guidelines for safety, directness, and accessibility, and bicycle detours should be no different.

  • JamesR

    2 years is nuts. I realize that infrastructure needs to be maintained, but the Greenway really is the only route through that area that doesn’t involve taking your life into your hands. If NYSDOT can reconstruct a huge bridge over the Taconic in Westchester in less than a year, why would work on a simple bike/ped crossing by City Parks take 2 years?

  • Stacy

    This bridge is In terrible condition but a shabby bridge is better than none. 177th st could make for an alternate route – if it was lit, paved, and park goers didn’t have to cross approach/exit ramps to the Henry Hudson to access it. Truth is, the greenway needs more access points above 155th street so it isn’t a major hassle whenever construction in that area takes place.

  • Stacy, you are right, but State Assemblyman Denny Farrell told me that a new pedestrian bridge over the Amtrak rails would cost $10 million (he has plans for one down by 148th St). Where is all that money coming from?

  • Stacy

    Either the City or the State spent $15.7 million on Riverwalk so that Riverside Park goers wouldn’t have to go up and down hill between 83rd and 91st street. By comparison $10 million for a much needed access point in Fort Washington Park seems like a bargain.

  • Ben Kintisch

    It will be really interesting to see the latest numbers for how many people are using the greenway all the way north. Down in midtown and lower Manhattan, it’s astounding how many cyclists are out there, and more still when it’s nice weather. How many continue to pedal all the way up the island?

  • Joshgo

    I like this idea of closing the bridge. But why not close the bridge for ten years! In the meantime, that’ll give us enough time to raise the money, and design and build an ever better route along the Hudson River, adjacent to the tracks. Sorry, DoT, Amtrak, but the will of the people speaks — and they want access to the waterfront!

    Right now, with a hybrid bike, you can pretty much go all the way from Dyckman and join the Greenway just north of the GW. And it’s flat, and no tracks to cross or highways to under, over pass. And there’s a clear view of the river.


  • Joshgo

    And the Parks Department.

  • Anonymous

    Joshgo mentions the broad water level path south from Dykman/200th St. 

    This path runs between the river and the train tracks to within a few hundred yards of the Little Red Light House. It ends where the tracks enter the rock cut; you can actually see the overpass bridge from the end of the river path.  A bedrock outcropping extends out into the river, too steeply to walk or bike on. You can see the other end of the rock from north side of the GWB tower near the light house.  A really short section of path could be built at the edge of the river to complete this path and allow a water level bypass of the climb up to Riverside Drive. Not zero dollars, but not very expensive for the benefit either. 
    This idea does not seem to have entered Park’s planning at all.

    This water level path would be a great way to get to Dykman St without the steep climb at the GWB, but it won’t provide any access “AT” the GWB if the RR overpass bridge is closed.  Getting on and off the path at the GWB during this reconstruction project will still require a functional detour around the overpass bridge and any path reconstruction leading to it.  From the two Streetsblog articles, it’s not clear if the bridge work involves just the bridge, or includes large sections of the path on either side of it.  If the work is only at the bridge, it should not take two years, and it should be possible to install a temporary bypass next to it.  If all the path is being rebuilt too, it would be hard to get access to a temporary bridge,  but is still does not seem reasonable to need two years to complete the work.

  • heightscycle

    The bridge is in terrible shape — I fear for my tires every time I ride over it — but 2 years to rebuild it?  It’s a short footbridge, not a major highway span.  Why, oh, why does it take Parks forever to build anything?  And, yes, if it’s to be closed for two years we damm well better get a comparable detour route.  This is the only access point to Ft. Washington Park that I’m aware of that doesn’t include stairs.

  • Scott

    Interesting that, this week, the Parks Department is paving new asphalt along the river, west of the current greenway, from about 158th to 177th… Interesting to put down a new path that people won’t get to for 2 years…

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know if this bridge is open now?


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