Hudson River Park Trust’s Pier 57 Will Add to Car/Bike Greenway Conflicts

Plans for Pier 57 include a two-lane driveway, in teal, separated from 11th Avenue by the Hudson River Greenway, in light green. Red arrows, added by Streetsblog, indicate crossings planned for 17th, 16th and 14th Streets. Image: ##http://www.hudsonriverpark.org/assets/content/general/11HRP001M_DEIS_14_Transportation.pdf##Philip Habib and Associates##

A plan from the Hudson River Park Trust to transform Pier 57 into a retail and food market will add 75 parking spaces and a two-lane driveway to the park between 17th and 14th Streets, creating new points of conflict where people biking on the Hudson River Greenway will have to contend with cars crossing the path.

The crossings will have traffic signals with separate phases for cyclists and drivers, and will include speed tables to bring crossing vehicles up to greenway level. Crossings at 14th Street, where traffic exits the driveway, and 16th Street, where southbound 11th Avenue drivers will use a dedicated turn lane to access the driveway, will both have speed tables.

The widest crossing, at 17th Street, where the Chelsea Piers driveway ends and the Pier 57 driveway will begin, will not have a speed table.

“At the end of the day, having any driveways crossing the greenway is a safety problem,” said Noah Budnick of Transportation Alternatives. As an alternative to adding new crossings on the Greenway, Budnick pointed to the Goldman Sachs driveway on West Street between Murray and Vesey Streets, where the bikeway and sidewalk run between the street-side driveway and the building entrance.

The Pier 57 project also includes 75 parking spaces on the basement level of the pier, with access from the driveway across the sidewalk. “There’s no need for parking there,” Budnick said, adding that it will only serve to generate traffic and “increase the number of people driving across the greenway.”

The Pier 57 spaces will not be open to the public and instead will be reserved for those with business at the pier, according to Christine Berthet, co-chair of Community Board 4’s transportation committee. “Contrast that with Chelsea Piers,” she said, with its large public parking garage.

The project has already received a supportive vote from CB 4 after developers adjusted plans to address earlier feedback from the board. The project is now before the City Planning Commission, which next meets on February 6.

Pier 57 was built originally as a passenger and cargo terminal for Grace Lines in the 1950s, later serving as an MTA bus depot from the late 1960s until 2004, at which point it became a temporary NYPD detention center during the Republican National Convention. Since then, it has remained unused. Along with other projects like Pier 40, the Hudson River Park Trust will use revenue from Pier 57 to help fund park maintenance.

Berthet said that the way the Hudson River Park Trust has used projects with on-site parking to support the park creates problems for park users. “The more you build, the more you’re going to need vehicular crossings,” she said. “The more we build on those piers, the more we are making the greenway and the park unusable.”

  • Mark Walker

    This is bad for pedestrian users of the greenway as well as cyclists. How many hundreds (if not thousands) of greenway users — per hour — will be inconvenienced (it not menaced) for the sake of 75 privileged drivers?!

  • Joe R.

    Brilliant! Four traffic signals in the space of 3 blocks! Is whoever came up with this idea kidding or what? Can’t cyclists in NYC have any space free of f-ing traffic signals? Parks, greenways, you name it, it seems like there’s nearly no place where you can ride more than a few blocks within encountering traffic signals. Why do we have to accommodate cars in this location anyway, much less accommodate them in a way which screws over the primary users of the greenway? How about this-if you must have traffic signals, then they will be designed so bikes have priority, always. Have bike detectors. So long as any bike traffic is within about 100 feet of the intersection, cars get a red light, even if it means they have to sit there an hour.

    If these changes go into effect, how long before there’s demand for parking at other locations, and the greenway is littered with traffic lights as much as the regular streets already are? Newsflash-traffic signals and frequent stopping are incompatible with human-powered vehicles. The rest of the world is already clued into this fact, but not NYC. 

  • Joe R.

    Brilliant! Four traffic signals in the space of 3 blocks! Is whoever came up with this idea kidding or what? Can’t cyclists in NYC have any space free of f-ing traffic signals? Parks, greenways, you name it, it seems like there’s nearly no place where you can ride more than a few blocks within encountering traffic signals. Why do we have to accommodate cars in this location anyway, much less accommodate them in a way which screws over the primary users of the greenway? How about this-if you must have traffic signals, then they will be designed so bikes have priority, always. Have bike detectors. So long as any bike traffic is within about 100 feet of the intersection, cars get a red light, even if it means they have to sit there an hour.

    If these changes go into effect, how long before there’s demand for parking at other locations, and the greenway is littered with traffic lights as much as the regular streets already are? Newsflash-traffic signals and frequent stopping are incompatible with human-powered vehicles. The rest of the world is already clued into this fact, but not NYC. 

  • Joe R.

    Brilliant! Four traffic signals in the space of 3 blocks! Is whoever came up with this idea kidding or what? Can’t cyclists in NYC have any space free of f-ing traffic signals? Parks, greenways, you name it, it seems like there’s nearly no place where you can ride more than a few blocks within encountering traffic signals. Why do we have to accommodate cars in this location anyway, much less accommodate them in a way which screws over the primary users of the greenway? How about this-if you must have traffic signals, then they will be designed so bikes have priority, always. Have bike detectors. So long as any bike traffic is within about 100 feet of the intersection, cars get a red light, even if it means they have to sit there an hour.

    If these changes go into effect, how long before there’s demand for parking at other locations, and the greenway is littered with traffic lights as much as the regular streets already are? Newsflash-traffic signals and frequent stopping are incompatible with human-powered vehicles. The rest of the world is already clued into this fact, but not NYC. 

  • Joe R.

    Brilliant! Four traffic signals in the space of 3 blocks! Is whoever came up with this idea kidding or what? Can’t cyclists in NYC have any space free of f-ing traffic signals? Parks, greenways, you name it, it seems like there’s nearly no place where you can ride more than a few blocks within encountering traffic signals. Why do we have to accommodate cars in this location anyway, much less accommodate them in a way which screws over the primary users of the greenway? How about this-if you must have traffic signals, then they will be designed so bikes have priority, always. Have bike detectors. So long as any bike traffic is within about 100 feet of the intersection, cars get a red light, even if it means they have to sit there an hour.

    If these changes go into effect, how long before there’s demand for parking at other locations, and the greenway is littered with traffic lights as much as the regular streets already are? Newsflash-traffic signals and frequent stopping are incompatible with human-powered vehicles. The rest of the world is already clued into this fact, but not NYC. 

  • WTF?
    This appears to trash the pedestrian – runner path, as well as putting cyclists into multiple conflicts with the crossing car traffic.  The foot path is taken over by the two car lanes, so walkers and runners will be “sharing” the bike path, even more conflicts for everyone.

    This is an unneeded extension of the Chelsea Piers driveway that already narrows the path to just a single “shared” path squeezing bikes and pedestrians.  This plan will just extend the Greenway path squeeze another 3 blocks.  If car space is such a good idea, why don’t they take the space from the Rt 9A roadway?

    Four Letter Words:  Park, Walk, Bike, Path
    Not For Letter Words:  Parking, Drive, Car, Roadway

  • WTF?
    This appears to trash the pedestrian – runner path, as well as putting cyclists into multiple conflicts with the crossing car traffic.  The foot path is taken over by the two car lanes, so walkers and runners will be “sharing” the bike path, even more conflicts for everyone.

    This is an unneeded extension of the Chelsea Piers driveway that already narrows the path to just a single “shared” path squeezing bikes and pedestrians.  This plan will just extend the Greenway path squeeze another 3 blocks.  If car space is such a good idea, why don’t they take the space from the Rt 9A roadway?

    Four Letter Words:  Park, Walk, Bike, Path
    Not For Letter Words:  Parking, Drive, Car, Roadway

  • Anonymous

    The pedestrian path has been widened not restricted. The entrance at 17th street is also signalized to prevent any conflict. 
    AS discussed above, as long as the River Park Trust continues to develop properties on the Piers, there will be more and more conflicts with the greenway. 
    There are hearings underway to create a Business Improvement District for the Park. You you may want to attend and voice your concerns for the direction the Park is taking . 
    A meeting for Village residents is set for Monday,  Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Little Red School House, 272 Sixth Ave.Hell’s Kitchen residents can also attend a presentation at the Hartley House, at 413 West 46th St., on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m.Finally, residents in TriBeCa and Hudson Square can have their say on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center, 120 Warren St.

  • JK

    From looking at this atrocious plan you wouldn’t know that the Hudson River Greenway is one of the busiest bike paths in the country. This plan shows profound contempt for the well being of greenway users — which I bike everyday. It aggravates the existing danger and  crowding. The plan makes you wonder if the HRPT or the architects have ever been on the greenway.

    The plans needs to be changed so that there is an  eight foot wide pedestrian/jogger strip adjancent to the 14 ft bikeway. The sidewalk next to the building doesnt need to be 24 to 14 feet wide — and if that’s impossible that screw the 22ft for two motor vehicle lanes. None of the joggers using the park and few of the pedestrians are going to walk next to the building. They will walk on the bikepath, as they do elsewhere, including at the ongoing mistake that is Chelsea Piers.

    On a personal level, I find it disappointing that New York is going backwards here. The Hudson greenway is the backbone of everyday cycling in New York City. It’s a  marvel: a car-free route that spans the densest residential neighborhoods and the densest employment centers in the U.S.  It’s stunning that the HRPT, the architect and City Hall — are so obtuse, and CB 4 should definitely have objected to the bikeway/walkway element.

    When the Hudson greenway was originally designed in the 1990s advocates lost a big battle to make the path wider at Chelsea Piers. It was straight up politics. Roland Betts, the owner of Chelsea Piers, was a friend of George Pataki and George Bush. Reasoned arguments about projected future greenway use, user conflict, crowding, danger, design guidelines didn’t matter a whit. We should not be going backwards here.

  • Ian Turner

    @77dd00db93265cc480eeb02d3429821a:disqus : Did you read the document? It does recognize that the greenway is one of the most used in the united states. They collected detailed pedestrian, bicycle, and auto counts. Part of the problem are the SEQR guidelines themselves, which view additional parking as a “mitigating factor”.

  • Joe R.

    @chekpeds:disqus It would make more sense to elevate the greenway (on the developer’s dime) for these four blocks so cyclists can bypass any conflicts. We both know the majority of cyclists won’t be stopping at red signals, particularly if they are dumb, timed signals which go red when nothing is crossing, so there will still be conflicts.
    In fact, it might be a good policy going forward to tell any potential developers that if they wish to have motor vehicles going across the greenway, they’ll need to either elevate the greenway, or the motor vehicle road, to avoid conflicts at their expense. Putting a lot of traffic signals on what is a major bike trunk route would effectively destroy its utility as such.

  • Ian Turner

    Is the parking garage underground? Maybe the garage entrance could just be on the East side of the greenway.

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