Eyes on the Street: 8-Year Downtown Greenway Detour Finally Ends

greenway_free
Looking north on the newly reopened segment of the Hudson River Greenway by Brookfield Place. Photo: @DataVizier

Since 2007, people biking on the Hudson River Greenway in Lower Manhattan have had to take a circuitous detour into Battery Park City. Not anymore.

This weekend, the shuttered greenway segment reopened, providing a straight shot to and from the Battery. @DataVizier called our attention to these photos he took of the reconstructed greenway at night, and the Tribeca Citizen has more coverage.

Several agencies were involved in the eight-year process of rerouting and, after a very long wait, restoring the greenway. The detour began in 2007 to accommodate construction of an underground passageway beneath West Street, linking the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place to the World Trade Center PATH station. Originally slated to last until 2010, the detour dragged on for a full eight years, including two years after the PATH tunnel opened. The state DOT announced two months ago that the greenway would be back to normal by November.

Throughout all eight years of the greenway detour, motor vehicle capacity on West Street was barely affected.

But as of this weekend, convenient biking and walking access along West Street has been restored. Enjoy.

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Google Street View of the blocked greenway by Albany Street last year.
Looking north on the newly opened greenway segment by . Photo: @DataVizier
The view from Albany Street this weekend. Photo: @DataVizier
  • Nick Ober

    This is great news for sure, but that sentence about how road capacity was never affected really highlights how little the city takes utilitarian biking seriously. The multi year reroute for many cyclists (and pedestrians!) could have been resolved by taking a lane from southbound 9A and protecting it with cheap flexible bollards.

  • Matthias

    While a temporary path could have been provided easily, it would have needed to be protected with jersey barriers. I’ve seen how much drivers respect flexible bollards.

    The wayfinding could have been much better too. The waterfront detour was completely impractical for pedestrians trying to get anywhere, and it wasn’t even possible to cross the street. The first time I tried walking from Battery Park City to Chambers Street, I was wandering around getting honked at and yelled at until I found a cop who told me how to walk through the buildings. There was absolutely nothing indicating that you could do that.

  • SSkate

    They just made the November deadline that they announced a few months ago.

  • BBnet3000

    Serious question: what’s the cost premium for green pigmented asphalt?

  • Steven Leslie

    Yesterday I also noticed that the city finally reopened a reasonable greenway route through Battery Park between the SI ferry terminal to Pier A. I should have taken pictures. That whole area has been a giant mess for bikers and skaters for a decade, with terrible traffic, hordes of tourists, screwy design, construction fences and equipment. There are still serious pathway problems near the Governor’s Island ferry and running north to Brooklyn Bridge. We may have to endure an 8-year wait there as well.

  • Nick Ober

    That’s fair. The vehicle speed on West Street there is pretty high. Still, jersey barriers aren’t that expensive. They could have easily brought them in years ago and provided a safe route for pedestrians and bicyclists. Instead, have fun with a confusing, circuitous route through Battery Park City and the World Financial Center.

  • Drew Leigh

    While nice, welcome, and appreciated, pedestrians in the bike path continue to be a problem from the Staten Island Ferry terminal, through Battery Park, and up until about Chamber St.

  • Nick Ober

    Or red for bus lanes. The paint disappears quickly under the wheels of such heavy vehicles.

  • Drew Leigh

    There are still serious pathway problems near the Governor’s Island ferry and running north to Brooklyn Bridge.

    I think this is actually OK. Not great, but I’m able to make do. Of far greater interest to me would be to see the East River Greenway extend past 34th St, where it currently ends in a whimper.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    pedestrians need more space – west street should have a lane converted to bikes

  • SSkate

    The paths through Battery Park opened back up a month or three ago. Yes, it’s made it much easier to get through the area.

    But in that neighborhood, I’d settle for them repaving the road in front of the Governor’s Island ferry, and yes that dark area closer to the Brooklyn Bridge. The latter I won’t even try to skate but will instead use the street.

    And speaking of bad (and I mean really terrible) pavement, what I’d really like to see is that they fix the connection between where the bikepath stops at Montgomery St. and the south end of East River Park. I haven’t been into ERP at all this year because that segment has gotten so bad.

  • JudenChino

    I live in Battery Park City (south of Brookfield) so trust me, I’ve been waiting for this. But this is just nuts:

    by taking a lane from southbound 9A

    West St gets super jammed w/ car traffic. Furthermore, they really were doing a lot of construction with heavy trucks and the sort. Not sure we’d want to be mixing up with them.

    What they should’ve done is not shit all over the bicyclists who had to travel around Brookfield place. It was the bottleneck for the heaviest traversed greenway in the nation and they treated it as an after thought. Having to get off and walk your bike through concerts and the like. Or depositing you onto a bike lane on S. End Ave that was also blocked by a taxi stand half the time.

  • Boris

    West St gets jammed with traffic because it is wider than the streets it connects to, causing cars to back up. Taking a lane away from West St would actually make the congestion go away – cars would move slowly, perhaps, but in a much more ordered manner, since the number of lanes on 9A and its connecting streets would match up better.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Green asphalt costs less than adding paint paint to black asphalt , but paint is easily removed which some of the dinosaurs at the DOT clearly feel will happen if they stall long enough. Many in DOT believe cycling is a passing fad

  • Alexander Vucelic

    plus a bike lane would move more people than the converted traffic lane , Hudson Greenway carries ~10,000 riders a day

  • ahwr

    > Hudson Greenway carries ~10,000 riders a day

    http://ftp.dot.ny.gov/tdv/YR2011/R11/04_New%20York/04_0076.pdf

    8 lanes, 59k vehicles. NYMTC average of 1.6 people per auto gives close to 12k people per lane, not counting buses.

    I don’t know traffic flow in the area, depending on where bottlenecks are the effect of removing a lane might not be much.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Hudson River greenway carries 10,000 people a day in 9′ width with children, dogs, tourists, wheelchairs blocking the way. West Street has 12′ lanes and at 7,500 cars a day, carry about 1/2 the traffic of the bike lane per foot of width.

    BTW that 1.6x number includes cabs and buses – so it’s inflated. reality is more akin to 1.0000002x

  • Joe R.

    Concrete colored green is a better alternative for bike lanes. I almost never see concrete roads with potholes but anything asphalt in NYC looks like the lunar landscape.

  • ahwr

    BTW that 1.6x number includes cabs and buses

    This is wrong. Auto occupancy discussion starts on page 151, 162 in the pdf. ‘Auto’ is defined on page 144, 155 in the pdf. Shared ride/taxi and bus were separate categories in the survey.

    The following tables are for those trips which were reported in the RHTS as “Auto”. “Auto” is defined as driver and passenger, motorcycle, moped, and motorized scooter

    http://www.nymtc.org/project/surveys/Travel%20survey/RHTS_FinalReport%2010.6.2014.pdf

    Hudson River greenway carries 10,000 people a day

    At 50th street it averages ~5600 cyclists in a 12 foot path and a sidewalk, much of the greenway has a separate path. Where is your 10k figure from?

  • ahwr

    I almost never see concrete roads with potholes

    Where are there old concrete roads in NYC?

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/10/25/a-look-at-the-safer-smoother-first-avenue-in-east-harlem/#comment-1096993741

  • Joe R.
  • ahwr

    How much of the damage to roads is from ripping them up to get at utilities which won’t apply to bridges? If you have to move utilities and completely rebuild the roadbed to build a bike path instead of a possibly colored asphalt overlay, how often will it still get built? And when it does, what would be the typical delay, maybe about five years?

    http://axeonsp.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/11.jpg

    It was supposed to last 40 years.

    http://www.concreteconstruction.net/Images/Three%20Miles%20of%20Pavement%20Makes%20History%20in%20New%20York_tcm45-346213.pdf

    It didn’t last 25 before it was in very poor condition. It was fortunately given a smoother asphalt surface before that 40 years was up.

  • Joe R.

    ConEd should be required to restore the road to brand new condition after digging it up, rather than just putting in patches. Better yet, the utilties should be put in covered trenches or tunnels so the street never needs to be dug up again. It’s an ongoing problem is NYC where newly paved streets look like crap a few years later on account of utility work. Also, how many f-ing times does ConEd need to do utility work on the same street? Do it once and do it right so you don’t need to do it again for the next 200 years. This sort of problem seems unique to NYC. Other places have underground utilities but their streets don’t look like this.

  • Matt

    The crosswalks are horrible though, so good luck. At liberty st and west st, the cross walk is angled so when people try to cross (they can only cross the north section of that cross walk to go east/west) they pile up into the bike lane, they also seem to use the bike lane as the actual cross walk. Maybe they’ll make better signage once allllll of the construction is done?

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Honestly – the 1.6 is infkated, any New Yorker can stand on a street corner for 15 minutes and see for themselves. Private Cars average close to one occupant.

    your figures are from 2010 and from the throughly discredited ‘Screenline’ style count which everyone knows undercounts. Even DOT as of 2012 said their screenline count for 18 hours had a peak demand of 8,000.

    demand has grown significantly in 3 1/2 years, plus demand is higher below 42nd street.

    10,000 per peak day is defensible

  • Alexander Vucelic

    who’d get the vig of the steeets weren’t torn up all the time ?

  • bolwerk

    If that is a cause of road damage, it would make more sense to put utilities in conduits with sections that can be lifted up.

    But, hey, NIH.

  • They’re aiming for a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • Wilfried84

    There’s a still a short stretch of Seaman in Inwood that’s concrete, and it’s awful. It may have potholes exactly, but it’s cracked and rutted, with lumpy asphalt patches. They repaved the rest of Seaman, but left the concrete washboard. 1st Ave uptown before they repaved the concrete with asphalt wasn’t much fun either.

  • ahwr

    >Honestly – the 1.6 is infkated,

    No. It’s not.

    >Private Cars average close to one occupant.

    Most are 1 person. Average is 1.6

    >Screenline’ style count which everyone knows undercounts.

    How does it undercount?

  • fdtutf

    Most are 1 person. Average is 1.6

    I’m trying to imagine a realistic data set in which both of these statements are true. It’s quite difficult. If “most are 1 person,” then either “most” means a bare majority, with the rest mostly 2 people, or “most” means what it normally means (much more than a bare majority) and the rest are clown cars. Note that if 50% are 1 person and 50% are 2 people (itself an unlikely scenario), the average is 1.5, so you’re saying there are quite a lot of people in cars who are not traveling alone.

    What’s the deal? And where are you getting your data from?

  • Walter Crunch

    8 years. Anyone want to point to a road project, other than a bridge or rail line that took 8 years?

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