First Look: Detour No More on the Hudson River Greenway

Greenway_detour_no_more.jpgPhoto: John Trotter

If you biked down the Hudson River Greenway from the upper parts of Manhattan this morning, we’ve got some good news for your ride home. Here you see the freshly opened stretch between 83rd and 91st Street, which debuted today, giving cyclists a straight route without having to detour up through the middle of Riverside Park. The grand opening was also something of a symbolic occasion. Up until today this was the last missing piece in the greenway below the George Washington Bridge.

  • Way uptown

    Depends what you define as “missing piece.” Personally, I think the ability to see while riding is important, and it’s still missing on parts of the greenway if you ride after dark / before sunrise. There’s either too much light shining right in your eyes from the highway (south of 125) or no light at all (next to tracks just south of the GWB).

    But this is good news.

  • Great news for pedestrians and joggers too. See you there!

  • J

    Also, this section appears to be well lit. They’ve had the lights on for a few days now, and it looks great! I can’t wait to ride it tonight.

  • Josh

    Cool! I saw that they were doing some work when I biked past there (up to and back down from the detour up into Riverside Park) on Saturday, great to see that it’s done!

  • What are those yellow diamonds for?

  • Jay

    This is a great addition!

    It’s rather bizarre that they failed to conform to MUTCD markings, though… A diamond is definitely not right.

  • Zmapper

    Jay: A diamond signifies a “special” lane, which, in this case, is bikes only.
    The only problem is that the diamond should be white. Also, the users allowed in the diamond lane hasn’t been clarified officially yet.

  • Wait, really? Why can’t they just mark it with bike symbols like every other bike path in the entire city? Strange.

  • LN

    Now that this path is open everyone will be encouraged to keep riding up the greenway after dark.

    And despite promises to fix the situation:

    Its dark with lights in your eyes right above this new portion.

    Can’t wait to ride it home tonight though!

  • Ken Coughlin

    One of the speakers, Parks Commissioner Benepe perhaps, specifically said the path would be used by skateboarders, bladers, among others, as well as cyclists, so I guess they wanted to keep the markings vague re: for whom the path is intended. Also, on the lighting, Benepe called attention to the great lighting on the new railing, which he said will not only illuminate the path well at night but “will look like Coney Island” from the river.

  • The same diamond markings have been applied to both ends of the Manhattan Bridge bike path this week.


    Hm, looks a bit narrow for my carpool van, but I guess we’ll try and fit. Thats what I understand diamonds are for anyway.

  • Ben, I think the markings on the Manhattan Bridge are to mark the danger zone for the bollards that are about to be installed — they just happen to be diamond-shaped.

  • flp

    yeah. this path is GREAT! so far. let’s see how it goes. if there are going to be a lot of joggers and walkers, then that’s going to be a problem unless they bear right behind the white line which i believe is what the markings should indicate. without the separation it will be mo better than the detour even if its minus the hill.

  • Shannon

    Just rode home on it – crowded, but smooth!

  • vnm

    Yay! This is excellent. Now we just need to fix the segment by the U.N. over on the other side of the island.

  • What a gorgeous day for a gorgeous new path! Since I live at the tippy top of Hamilton Heights (with two big hills up from the river) I won’t miss the bonus hill that the Riverside Park detour included in my ride home from work.

    I love this path, but now that it’s built I have a thought…for future pedestrian paths that are bike + pedestrian, can we build a bit wider? There were many couples holding hands or parents with strollers who didn’t quite fit in their striped portion of the path. But this is but a small qualm.

    And no one mentioned what a beautiful view! You can see the Hudson River the whole time you’re riding!

    Who can we thank for this great project? I think when we all like an improved amenity, it builds good will and political capital to thank those who did the work before we start asking for the next thing.

  • Kelley

    For cyclists checking out this new connection tomorrow, don’t forget that Transportation Alternatives will have a rest station and snacks near the southern end. Give yourself a few extra minutes in the morning to stop by!

  • Jay

    Zmapper – per the 2009 MUTCD, the diamond symbol is reserved exclusively for HOV lanes.

    As Mike Epstein suggested, the “diamond” markings at the Manhattan Bridge are obstruction pavement markings.

    Unfortunately, it looks like Parks painted out these markings, instead of relying on their greenway partners at DOT who have the proper expertise.

  • Zmapper

    Jay: I just checked and you’re right! I must have been thinking of the 2003 MUTCD. Maybe NYCDOT’s plan for the future is to make that lane a bike-HOV only lane.

  • JK

    The width is a problem. T.A. got the ball rolling on this connector in the late 1990’s, but —like Chelsea Piers — couldn’t get it widened to a reasonable width due to Giuliani era constraints in the Parks budget. The quote below is from TA Magazine from Summer 2001. Incidentally, many of the issues in the article will be familiar to Hudson Path users. Note the six year delay on path construction! That was mainly thanks to asinine obstructionism by State DEC. (

    “The gap and detour between 83rd and 91st will remain until a path cantilevered over the river is constructed sometime in 2004. T.A. and friends have petitioned the governor and mayor to widen the planned path from 14 feet to 20 feet at this critical link. Unfortunately, given the environmental permitting process and construction time, T.A. is unable to hasten completion of this much needed section. In the interim, use the detour through Riverside Park at 83rd St. and descend back onto the water side path at 91st street or continue to 96th and use Riverside Drive…”

  • Jay

    JK – I suspect the narrow width is due in part to national engineering standards that are not targeted to the level of traffic that can materialize on urban paths.

    Last I checked (don’t have it handy), I believe AASHTO required a 10 foot effective width for shared-use paths, with a two-foot buffer on each side, for a total width of 14 feet. It can be very, very difficult to persuade bean counters at cash-strapped agencies to do things like construct an “extra” 6 feet in excess of “engineering standards.”

    Perhaps New York City needs some explicit standards of its own to address greenway widths at high-use locations.

  • Brooklyn

    This will be an absolute cluster-f–k anytime after 10a on sunny Saturdays. I’ll stick to Riverside Drive, thanks much.

  • Just got back. It’s beautiful!! Can’t wait to ride it at night.

    The yellow diamonds look like the kind of markings used around bollards. It certainly would make sense to construct some kind of barrier to keep those cars and small trucks and garbage trucks manage to lost in RIverside Park.

  • vnm

    There are also two other new sections of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway that have opened recently.

    1) The Harlem River between 138th St. and 145th St. This section is accessible from the pedestrian bridge at 142nd St. & Fifth Av. It is also connected to a short already-built stretch of the greenway south of 138th St. that is itself accessible at 139th St. and Fifth Av. or 135th St. & Madison. Once this two-part segment is connected to the main East Side Greenway, it will be great.

    2) It seems like the main East Side Greenway has been extended southward by three blocks. You used to have to enter/exit via the ped bridge at 63rd Street. Now you can go all the way to 60th Street.

  • There are similar yellow diamonds underneath the bollards where the Greenway intersects with 134th Street. Perhaps Parks has already planted the bollards in the new section and is just waiting for them to sprout.

  • Andrew

    So where are pedestrians expected to go? Or is this intended as a bicycle-only highway along the waterfront, with pedestrians (who might actually want to stop and enjoy the view!) banished eight lanes (six automotive plus two bicycle) inland? Seems somewhat reminiscent of Moses.

    Is there enough room here for three equally wide lanes (northbound bicycle, southbound bicycle, bidirectional pedestrian)?

  • Now that I’ve been out there, I do find the pedestrian lanes a bit narrow. I walk much of the time with one foot on the white line. Other peds ignore the striping altogether. Perhaps they don’t even recognize the space outside the white line as a walking lane. One wonders why the Parks Dept. didn’t follow its own precedent above 91st, where there are four equal lanes for bidirectional bike and ped traffic.

  • Woody

    Hoocoodanode that biking would become so popular? I recall that it was a pet project of Bloomie’s longtime and powerful Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, a bike rider himself. He should be thanked, and not blamed that this very costly bikeway, a sort of bridge over the Hudson for much of the way, was already over capacity on the day it opened. Ten years ago this must have seemed both adequate and extravagant to most officials.

    Hey, I can remember, not that long ago, when people were afraid to go into Riverside Park, period. Others would think twice about going there on an expensive bike. If you did go into the Park, you couldn’t always find your way around easily. Now we’ve got a visionary addition to the city’s bikeways that’s six feet narrower than what we really need because it’s too damn popular. Life is like that.

  • Urban Biker

    Interesting as I had read the date of completion as 2018! It’s wonderful, if too narrow… and therein lies some serious issues. I have no real issue with pedestrians as long as they show some common MUT courtesy. “Ain’t” happening. 2 across, 3 across, 4 across, most seem to think they own the ENTIRE roadway, both lanes. How about those pushing baby carriages even those huge double wide ones? Or dog walkers taking 4-5 dogs on those long leases so again, both lanes impassable. This all from exactly 2 trips down it.

    Didn’t this get funded AS a bike path? So why should we, who expect some courtesy, HAVE to jump on ad off out bikes to accommodate these totally rude people?

    Is the city going to put up some signage at each end of this pathway detailing who is supposed to be doing what? Somebody is going to get hurt… and like someone said, do NOT take a bike here on a weekend!

  • JamesR

    This is a nice piece of infrastructure, but I have to echo the comments about it being useless on weekends. I took a ride down to the new segment on Saturday and it was basically impassible. I had to unclip and push myself along at about 5mph as the way through was blocked by throngs of pedestrians. This problem isn’t isolated to this segment of the Greenway; it’s just as bad if not worse up in Washington Heights, where families have barbecues literally ON the pathway itself. I can’t hold any animosity toward them, as the huge amount of roadway space allocated to vehicles in this city means that bikes and peds are just left to fight over the remaining scraps, this included.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    obvious solution is to copy a page from the Central Park playbook.

    First step – on weekends open up 2 lanes of West Side Highway & Hudson Parkway to bikes.


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