Waterfront Plan Provides Timeline for Greenway Expansions

SBxGwayRICBridgeRendering_Slide.jpgThe Randall’s Island Connector, part of the South Bronx Greenway, would run underneath an Amtrak trestle and create a new link to bike or walk between the South Bronx and Manhattan. Image: NYCEDC

New York City’s greenway system will see steady growth in the next three years, according to city plans released earlier this week. As part of its plans to revitalize the waterfront, the city released a list of 14 funded greenway projects slated to move forward in the next three years.

The city’s comprehensive waterfront plan encompasses everything from protecting water quality to supporting the working waterfront. For a sense of the city’s ten-year vision for its more than 500 miles of waterfront, take a look back at Streetsblog’s coverage the draft plan from September.

Included with the final report is something new: an action plan consisting of 130 funded projects on track for the next three years. Many of these projects have been in the works for a long time, but the list provides a clear roadmap of where these essential pieces of cycling infrastructure are headed during the remaining years of the Bloomberg administration. The Hudson River Greenway is the most heavily used bike path in the country, evidence of the importance of these safe and scenic routes.

Here’s the list, with the lead agency and estimated date for the project in parentheses:

  • South Bronx: Complete improvements to the South Bronx Greenway. (EDC, 2012)
  • Complete Bronx River Greenway improvements. (DPR, 2013)
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park: Develop Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway, linking the Columbia Street Greenway to DUMBO. (DOT/BBP, 2012)
  • Brooklyn Navy Yard: Complete redesign of Flushing Avenue between Williamsburg Street West and Navy Street. (DOT, 2013)
  • Red Hook: Build a multi-use path to connect Atlantic Basin to the Brooklyn waterfront greenway. (DOT, 2011)
  • Sunset Park: Complete study of bicycle and pedestrian connection from Hamilton Avenue Bridge to 2nd Avenue and Sunset Park path. (DOT, 2011)
  • Release Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Master Plan, guiding creation of a 14-mile, multi-use waterfront path between Newtown Creek and the Shore Parkway Greenway. (DOT, 2011)
  • Lower Manhattan: Complete construction of 8.5 acres of East River Esplanade South between Battery Maritime Building and Pier 35, including Pier 15, to feature water uses, educational uses, and café. (EDC, 2012)
  • Randall’s Island: Complete waterfront pathways, including the Bronx Shore pathway, comfort stations, and seawall repairs. (EDC, 2013)
  • Sherman Creek: Complete the Sherman Creek Waterfront Esplanade Master Plan to reclaim the Harlem River waterfront from Sherman Creek Inlet to W. 208th St. (EDC, 2011)
  • Washington Heights: Restore the High Bridge over the Harlem River, and restore access paths within Highbridge Park to improve connectivity between Northern Manhattan and the Bronx. (DPR, 2011)
  • Complete Manhattan Waterfront Greenway improvements, including Battery Bikeway, Dyckman Ramp, and a segment of the Lighthouse Link. (DPR, 2013)
  • Fresh Kills: Construct portions of the new Greenway. (DPR, 2013)
  • Stapleton: Begin construction of 6-acre waterfront esplanade. (EDC, 2011)

Conspicuously absent from this list are any projects in the city’s largest borough, Queens. Even so, if all goes according to plan, then New Yorkers, especially residents of the Bronx, will have far better greenway options in three years than they do today.

  • Rob Conger

    What’s seriously missing is a pedestrian/bike route on the Outerbridge Crossing in Staten Island.

    It’s the difference between riding your bike to the beaches of Jersey or not. It’s the difference between riding from Philadelphia to New York or not. It’s the difference between a $40 round trip from Belford Ferry or not. That’s nuts.

  • tom

    Outerbridge Crossing property of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, named for their first chairman, Mr. Outerbridge. I think Gov. Chrystie is more than happy to give the go-ahead on this. After all, it’s a lot cheaper than the rail tunnel.

  • Richard

    Missing from this list: the Putnam Trail in Van Cortlandt Park (Bronx).

    Though there are almost 20,000 miles of rail trails in the US, this will be the first rails-to-trails conversion within NYC. Dept of Parks & Recreation is wrangling this project. North of the Bronx / Yonkers border, there’s a paved pedpath extending north to Brewster. This project will add a segment to the old Van Cortlandt station near the Van Cortlandt Golf Course clubhouse.

  • Mike

    Richard: I believe the Kissena Corridor in Queens is actually NYC’s first rail trail.

  • Steven F

    The waterfront portion of the Putanm Rail Trail, running south of W 225th street along the Harlem River, has not been programed yet. It’s still being used by Metro-North for construction staging areas. That appears to be why it’s not on the short list. What is funded and programed runs inland into Van Cortlandt Park to the Yonkers line, where there is a nearly complete off-road rail trial to Brewster, NY

  • Steven F

    Kissena Corridor was the Vanderbilt Motor Highway – similar to a rail corridor, but no, not a rail trail. And unfortunately, it went out of business around 1930, with too many sections lost or cut off.

  • Steven F

    Waterfront access to Staten Island has two more critical path items besides Outerbridge Crossing that should receive high city attention.
    The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was designed for a pair of bicycle/pedestrian paths, but Robert Moses refused to complete them in the last year of the bridge’s construction 1963-64. City Planning did a preliminary engineering study that confirms that the paths can easily be finished at low cost, under $50 million. The views of the NY Harbor are world class from the VNB. It would form a direct 2 mile connection between the Brooklyn and Staten Island waterfront paths. It’s time to complete the Verrazano.

    The northern alternative to Outerbridge is the Goethals Bridge, which still has its two narrow but complete walkway/bikeways. For whatever reason, Port Authority has been keeping those paths closed,despite promises to reopen one “soon.” Restoring access to the Goethals would be a possibly zero cost, to very low cost effort. There should not be any expensive structural work needed to open one path, just the will. Port has promised to include a bigger-better path when they build a new parallel span to the Goethals, but that will take years. Why the delay?

    The Outerbridge Crossing has two narrow paths until 1964, when the side approaches were widened by building over the paths. This was done in parallel with the VNB opening to handle more truck traffic. The path was not heavily used, because the nearby Tottenville to Perth Amboy ferry was a much easier crossing. Unfortunately, the Tottenville ferry was closed right after the VNB opened, along with the closing of the Brooklyn Staten Island Ferry in Nov 1964. They had been part of the B&O RR that owned and ran the Staten Island transit line.

    Any new Outerbridge path will have to be cantilevered out from the outside beams. While this is not an inexpensive process, it would produce a decent path in a relatively short time. Once built, there would be very low operating costs to a path, unlike the eternal operating costs of ferries. Maybe we really can get Gov. Chrystie to buy into the self reliant traveling under one’s own steam of cycling and walking to ask Port to fund a path. Maybe….

  • Mike

    The diagonal part of the Kissena Corridor was a railroad.

    The part that runs east-west was the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway.

  • Driver

    Yes Mike, It looks like part of the Kissena Corridor was the right of way of the Flushing Creedmore line.

  • I like the improvements suggested for Fort Washington Park very much. The proposed Dyckman Street ramp seems like a nice way to avoid the stairs at Riverside Drive and the steep, poor roadway conditions of Staff Street.

    Even more exciting would be for the “Lighthouse Link” to extend all the way from Dyckman to the existing greenway by the George Washington Bridge, so that Inwood-bound bicyclists could completely skip the killer hill. Perhaps that’s intended as a possible future extension, since I don’t see it in the current proposal.

    I wonder if the various “greenway improvements” would include improved lighting/visibility/path marking at the Grecian temple (near 181st St), the unlit portion by the Amtrak rails (before the bridge), and the Cherry Walk.

  • Mike

    If they’re really building all but the last half-mile to complete the water-level greenway, I’ll be very disappointed. Completing this stretch could save large numbers of cyclists ~200 feet of climb and descent.

  • Mike, completely agreed–why *not* complete it as part of the project?


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