Parks Dept. Implements Hudson River Greenway Detour, Then Explains It

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Hudson River Greenway traffic will be disrupted for the next two weeks to allow for construction work around 59th Street, the Parks Department said today.

Yesterday greenway users were surprised to find the path fenced off from 59th Street to around 63rd Street, with all bike and foot traffic detoured onto a path approximately eight feet wide. A sign on the site seemed to indicate the detour would be in place for two years while Parks works on a capital project, including a playground and bikeway, in Riverside Park South.

As it turns out, construction work that affects the greenway is scheduled to be completed in two weeks, according to the Parks Department. During that time the greenway will be closed from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with bike traffic rerouted by Parks officers. Yesterday, however, the detour was in effect in the evening, long after 3:30.

“The Riverside South Greenway will not be closed for two years — rather, it will be closed during certain times of day for a period of two weeks, during which time crews will be at work improving 59th Street entrance and the greenway,” said the Parks Department in an emailed statement. “NYC Parks appreciates cyclists’ patience and cooperation during this brief construction project.”

The explanation is better late than never, but the lack of any organized communication before the detour went into effect highlights how the Parks Department repeatedly fails to treat the greenway as the major transportation corridor that it is. We’re talking about the busiest bike route in the U.S., and the agencies that oversee it don’t even give people any advance notice when the path is disrupted.

“There is no question that there must be a safe and comparable alternative route provided to cyclists given that this is the most traveled bike path in the country,” Transportation Alternatives Deputy Director Caroline Samponaro told Streetsblog via email. “Cyclists of all ages and abilities depend on this path for daily commutes and this is a benefit to the city. We wouldn’t shut down a major roadway, for even a day, without clear and adequate detour plans for drivers. In 2016 we need the same standard for bikes.”

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    The East River Greenway was also closed this morning at the old Fulton Fish Market.

  • JK

    Is the NYC Parks Department simply incompetent? As the article points out, this is one of the busiest bike paths in the United States, and this is probably the third or fourth time in as many years that Parks has closed it with zero advance notice for “planned” work. Do they not have the phone # for T.A., the bike groups or CB 7 or Helen Rosenthal or the MBPO or anyone who could spread the word? Also, Monday night was Rosh Hashanah and many celebrants were congregating along the waterfront sidewalk. This led to homeward bound cyclists being detoured into throngs of pedestrians. Really just an unnecessary, tense, mess that calls into question whether there is intelligent life at Riverside Park administration, Parks Enforcement or whomever is supposed to be able to read a calendar. I have a lot of sympathy for government folks who have to deal with unforeseeable events and the endless oddball crises that NYC serves up, but this is a simple test of management and Parks keeps failing.

  • walks bikes drives

    Honestly, I don’t care much if they close that section of the Greenway. I usually use South Street through that section anyway because it is in such bad shape with ridiculous twists and turns.

  • walks bikes drives

    I’m not sure how much of this is really Parks. While they administer the Greenway, I think a lot of times these sections are closed, they are just being told right before by DOT or DDC or whichever agency or contractor is running the show. In this case, it does sound like Parks had a hand in it because the construction closure sounds like it is park improvements.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    I still find it to be the lesser of evils considering the very poor pavement of South Street further south (there’s actually no pavement at all) and the inconvenience of switching back and forth between the street and the path.

  • KeNYC2030

    Yes, it is park improvements that they have known about for a long time.

  • SSkate

    Pavement on the bike path between the old fish market and the Brooklyn Bridge sncks, and has for some time. Since it’s also not well lit, I will not skate there but switch out onto South St for that couple blocks. — South St further south is currently a mess because it’s been milled for repaving (I think that’s what’s going on.) When that gets repaved, I may consider using the roadway there because the tourists are so thick and the bikeway essentially unmarked.

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