De Blasio Announces Funding to Fill 8-Block Stretch of East River Greenway Gap

Work on the greenway segment between 53rd Street and 61st Street will start in 2019.

The greenway segment between 53rd and 61st Streets would be built on pylons over the East River. Image: NYC Mayor's Office
The greenway segment between 53rd and 61st Streets would be built on pylons over the East River. Image: NYC Mayor's Office

Construction is set to begin in 2019 to fill in a large chunk of the Midtown gap in the East River Greenway, Mayor de Blasio announced today.

While the Hudson River Greenway provides a trunk line for safe bicycling on the West Side without many traffic lights, the East River waterfront has no high-volume path for convenient bike travel. The East River Greenway is a patchwork of varying widths and quality, with a glaring mile-long gap in Midtown.

The project announced today will complete the Outer Detour Roadway (ODR) segment of the greenway. Image: Council Member Dan Garodnick
The project announced today will complete the Outer Detour Roadway (ODR) segment of the greenway. Image: Council Member Dan Garodnick

De Blasio’s revised Fiscal Year 2018 budget, set to be unveiled tomorrow, will dedicate $100 million in capital construction funds to build a walking and biking path between 61st Street and 53rd Street, narrowing the gap to 12 blocks.

“This is the first of many big investments we’ll make as we bring the full Greenway to reality,” de Blasio said in a statement.

The plan was first announced by the Bloomberg administration in 2013, when EDC proposed building the path over support beams that remain from a temporary roadway used during the 2004 reconstruction of the FDR Drive.

A three-block greenway extension from 38th Street to 41st Street, which repurposed a pier previously used by Con Edison, opened recently, so funding this eight-block segment will leave 12 blocks alongside the United Nations complex still to be completed. No timeline has been announced for the final segment, though EDC said in 2013 that all three projects would be finished by 2024.

In addition to the Midtown gap, there are large incomplete greenway segments along the Harlem River, between 125th Street and 135th Street and between 145th Street and 162nd Street.

  • Vooch

    $100 million would build 200 miles of PBLs. This would nearly quadruple the cycling network in NYC

    Imagine adding 200 miles to the existing 60 mile PBL network.

    Instead of 250,000 bike trips / day, you’d have over 1 million. Based on London’s results, you’d switch 220,000 car trips to cycling & switch 220,000 subway trips to cycling. That would represent a nice reduction in Subway crowding and a nice reduction in motor congestion.

    All for less than this ( highly desirable ) 8 block section of the East River ‘Greenway’ to be completed in 7 long years.

  • guest

    That’s s good start, I guess. However, in practice the gap will be 16 blocks, I think. Since there’s no access to the Greenway between 37th & 41st St, cyclists going north or south will still have to exit at 37th, and will have to use 1st / 2nd Aves until 53rd (16 blocks).

    And, as you noted, the quality of the East Side path is so varied, and often poor / super narrow, that it’s no use for commuters. Even if they closed this gap entirely, I’d still choose to use 1st/2nd Aves when riding for purposes other than solely recreation.

  • Jeff

    I just got a hilarious image of you at the grocery store: “Blueberries are $6 a pint… this would build approximately three feet of PBLs. Off-season fruit is bullshit.”

  • Vooch


    being raised by depression era parents makes one rather ‘frugal’

  • I’m imagining a world in which we had congestion pricing and were preparing for the increased use of ride-hailing apps and the eventual arrival of driverless cars. We wouldn’t need to spend so much on this project and could instead transform some of FDR Drive to complete the greenway. It’s great that this gap will be filled, but it’s hard not to wonder what it would be like if we had a little more forward-thinking planning in NYC.

  • Vooch

    indeed reallocating 1 motor lane of the FDR to cycling would go a long way towards reducing congestion.

    Ditto for the Henry Hudson, Bronx River, and so forth. Even Robert Moses originally included PBLs in his Parkways.

  • walks bikes drives

    Yes, but imagine if the east side Greenway was as well structured as the west side? These “bike highways” could have an even greater effect than the joke protected bike lane designs. Call me a VC, but I feel safer taking a lane on 3rd Avenue than navigating mixing zones on 1st.

  • walks bikes drives

    You get a tax break on commuting to work by car or public transportation. What if you were given an even bigger break for walking and cycling? Purchase of bikes for commuting are pretax dollars, as are repairs, upgrades, and accessories. Then, for the health benefit, $0.50 for each mile of bicycle commute and $0.75 for each walking commute mile to lower your AGI.

  • walks bikes drives

    $20 for a movie in 3D? 10 feet of bike lane!

  • Vooch

    Actually I find it rather polite for the faster cyclists to take the ‘express’ land especially where PBLs exist.

    There is enough traffic ( bike that is ) on the Avenue PBLs during rush hour to fully justify using the ‘express’ lane

    You are most correct that a ideal world would have a true limited access fully protected bike lane along the east river from the ferry to the broadway bridge. Such a highway already exists but it is presently hogged by hulking death machines 🙂

  • walks bikes drives

    The East Side Greenway just simply sucks. If I am purely riding for milage inside the city, I prefer to just go up and down the west side Greenway a couple times. I do a circuit around the island once a year, just to remind myself how much I hate the east side path. I mean, some of the premier path in the 80s is paved with hexagonal paver that make riding on them feel like milled pavement. And the narrow path next to the ConEd gas plant around 14th? It isn’t comfortable for two pedestrians to cross shoulder to shoulder, let alone a cyclist and anyone else.

  • Vooch

    complicated and intrusive

    I prefer the solution of removing all subsidies for mass motoring and privatizing all Interstates. Of course charge replacement cost Tolls on all bridges

    VMT would plummet.

  • walks bikes drives

    If by express you mean a regular lane, then you get all the loud mouth complainers, (read: drivers) complaining about bike riders not using bike lanes.

  • walks bikes drives

    But think about the health benefits of pushing such a thing. And are citibike memberships available with pretax dollars?

  • glori30175

    When their was a Noreaster in 1990-91 that con ed pier where we parked our cars was flooded because the high tide and the storm was to much…

  • qrt145

    It’s not perfect, but there is such a thing as a bicycle commuting benefit:

    I suspect it’s not widely available or known, though. It has a limit of $240 per year, but note that these are not pretax dollars, but a reimbursement (basically free money from the employee’s point of view).

  • Vooch

    drivers ?

    pity their plative cries for more roadway.

    they realize their days are numbered.

    Everyday drivers see more and more cyclists zipping blissfully past as they sit trapped inside their hulking death machines.

  • AnoNYC

    Is the E 81st St bridge open yet?

  • van_vlissingen

    We could easily do what Paris just did with the Pompidou expressway and convert the FDR Drive to a park.

  • Vooch

    better to use the FDR for free parking

    don’t ja think ?


  • Flakker

    Imagine idiot cops forcing bicyclists off the greenway whenever the UN does anything. EXCITING

  • MatthewEH

    Not as of Wednesday last week, no.

  • Vooch

    does FDR close during UN week ?

  • Vooch

    but we’d need a Mayor with balls and vision like Paris has – what’s her name ?

  • AnoNYC

    Terrible. It’s been that way forever now.

  • 8FH

    We really can’t do that without massively improving transit capacity. The subways and surface roads do not meet current traffic needs, let alone future requirements.

  • Tyson White

    “…building the path over support beams that remain from a temporary roadway used during the 2004 reconstruction of the FDR Drive.”

    The things we do to not inconvenience motorists even temporarily.?

  • Christopher Mederos

    quite the opposite… you have to pay sales tax on the bike membership

  • walks bikes drives

    OK. That’s annoying too. But is it legal to use pretax transit dollars on Citibike?

  • walks bikes drives

    Only when POTUS is there.

  • walks bikes drives

    And then see the article in Gotham about bike lanes and tickets.


This Sunday: Help Close the East River Greenway’s Midtown Gap

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