Downtown Greenway Segment Closed Since 2007 to Reopen in November

Looking south from Vesey Street. Construction on this section of the Hudson River Greenway, detoured since 2007, is set to reopen in mid-November. Photo: Stephen Miller
This section of the Hudson River Greenway, closed since 2007, is set to reopen in mid-November. Photo: Stephen Miller

An eight-year Hudson River Greenway detour is set to conclude in less than two months, restoring a direct bike route along West Street near the World Trade Center site.

Since 2007, the greenway has been closed near Brookfield Place, the office and retail complex on the west side of West Street formerly known as the World Financial Center. For eight years, cyclists (and on many blocks, pedestrians) have been detoured to the streets and waterfront promenades of Battery Park City.

The area covered by the greenway closure has varied over the years. As of today, the greenway remains closed between Vesey and Thames streets.

The detour was put in place while Brookfield and the Port Authority built an underground passageway connecting the winter garden at Brookfield Place with the World Trade Center PATH station. The detour was originally supposed to end in spring 2010, according to a NYC DOT announcement, but delays ensued: the PATH tunnel didn’t open until 2013. When Downtown Express checked in on the situation last year, state DOT said the detour would end sometime late this year.

It seems that timetable will hold. Work is almost done on rebuilding the separated bicycle and pedestrian paths between Vesey and Albany streets, and construction equipment stored on the greenway between Albany and Thames streets should eventually be cleared out.

Work on the southern end of the closure, seen here looking north from Liberty Street, is almost complete. Photo: Stephen Miller
The southern end of the closure, looking north from Liberty Street. Photo: Stephen Miller

The entire greenway will reopen in mid-November, according to state DOT spokesperson Diane Park. The finished greenway will include an extra-wide curb cut just north of Liberty Street for garage access to Brookfield Place.

“The area near the World Trade Center site is very dense with visitors, workers and residents, so every sidewalk and bike path that is turned back to the community relieves congestion elsewhere,” Community Board 1 chair Catherine McVay Hughes said in a statement.

Hughes added that CB 1 is anticipating the reopening of sidewalks on the east side of West Street between Albany and Liberty, which are closed for construction of the pedestrian bridge between Battery Park City and Liberty Park. The bridge is set for completion in spring 2016, she said.

The greenway closure has long rankled path users, and for good reason: While pedestrians and cyclists on the nation’s busiest greenway had to navigate eight years of detours, car and truck traffic on West Street next to the greenway was never seriously affected.

  • BBnet3000
  • Jonathan R

    Will the alternate path through the plaza on the west side of the building remain, symbolized by friendly bike-path dots?

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Time to consider expanding the Greenway. Peak Rider Traffic is over 8,000 daily on a too narrow path. Pedestrians are also too crowded.

    Suggest opening the West most lane of West Street/Highway from Battery to 57th street to cyclists all weekend, every weekend during Summer.

    Simple and effective to do with jersey barriers and cones. Safety for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers would improve dramatically at little cost.

  • KeNYC2030

    This eight-year blockage has stood as a depressing symbol of officialdom’s failure to take cycling seriously as a form of transportation. How many cyclists and pedestrians have been injured during that time as cyclists were forced to navigate a dangerous and congested detour? Who knows and who cares?

  • bggb

    This detour has been pretty miserable, it will be great if/when it’s done.

  • NYCyclist

    Finally! Somehow, they were able to build the underground passageway without closing the car lanes though. Wonder why?…

  • Jonathan R

    But you can’t measure the flip side either. How many extra years of life has the Greenway as a whole been responsible for adding, just as a westernmost reminder of the possibility of active transportation?

  • Or another factor: how many cyclists detoured into BPC, sharing limited space with pedestrians. Many of the paths back there were never meant for cyclists. Just another example of how people on foot and on bike are an afterthought during most construction projects, if they’re thought of at all.

  • Matthias

    Great news! This will make it much easier (and faster) to reach the Battery. It will also improve pedestrian safety in the immediate vicinity after being for years a very hostile street atmosphere. I tried walking up to Chambers St one time, only to discover that sidewalks ended abruptly on BOTH sides of West St. After minutes of standing there on a hellish corner, trying to figure out what to do, and getting yelled at through bullhorns that YOU CANNOT CROSS HERE, I found a cop who told me how to walk through the WFC building (not marked anywhere).

  • JudenChino

    Suggest opening the West most lane of West Street/Highway from Battery to 57th street to cyclists all weekend, every weekend during Summer.

    If you’re going to dream . . .

  • JudenChino

    I live in BPC and I moved here primarily because of its proximity to the Greenway (and I freaking pay over $200/month to keep my bikes in the garage in my building — bleh). I fucking hate the detour. The interchange at Liberty and South End Ave (which is how you get on to the Greenway detour) is a complete and total fucking utter shit show. The South End Ave door zone bike lane that goes along a cab stand and a bus stop, is not safe at all. The bike lane there is always blocked. I got a fuckin red light tix for Idaho stopping (“This is for your own safety”) at South End and Albany. I just can’t believe that they’re “close” to finishing it. I mean, it looks closer. But damn — it’s been a huge pain in the ass. Going along the Pier and being wedged in along all the peds on weekends isn’t pleasant nor safe.

    Next place you should focus, and seriously, please do. is the x-walk at West Thames and West St including the mouth of the Brooklyn Battery, which makes a complete mockery of any notions of Vision Zero. Cars zooming out of the Battery routinely run reds. You have a huge number of peds/bikes crossing there every day (including going to the 9/11 memorial). It’s really unsafe and is just insulting to any notion that the City gives a F about ped/bike safety by letting the state of affairs continue to pester.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    that’s what they thought when;

    car Free Central Park was first proposed

    Robert Moses Insane scheme to run a 4 Lane highway through Washington Square was locked in city planning

    the SF embarcaxero freeway was First proposed to be removed

    the Dutch demanded no more superhighways

    it can happen Here also

  • walks bikes drives

    I feel like the connection to the east side is about as good as it will get. In theory, there is a bike path that connects all the way over there. It is mobbed by pedestrians, though. And I think it is expected to be so. I mean, the delineation of the bike path is not so clear. It took me along time to figure out not was there, as I always used the street from the end of the paved path until the path right in front of the ferry. But signage is lacking, and I honestly think it is by design. Tough when going through an area so packed with tourists. But to be honest, I’d rather push for better infrastructure on the east side than make that connection easier. The east side simple just sucks.

  • st.james

    I bet one of BPCA’s executives was getting kickbacks for this project

  • st.james

    BPCA has screwed up everything it touches


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