Parks Dept Closes Hudson River Greenway Segment With Little Public Notice

The agency says this detour will be over sometime in the next few weeks.

Thou shalt not pass. Photo: Tipster
Thou shalt not pass. Photo: Tipster

Since November 22, the Hudson River Greenway bike path has been closed between 59th Street and 70th Street. A reader who bikes the greenway daily said there was no advance notice about the detour, which directs cyclists to a pedestrian path that’s crowded with joggers and dog walkers. No signs indicate when the closure will end.

We contacted the Parks Department, which says the segment will reopen in “the next few weeks.” It remains unclear if more closures will follow as Riverside Park South undergoes a $17.5 million makeover set to wrap up next fall.

People using the busiest bike route in the city have been left to guess why they’re getting routed along a cramped alternative path, and how long it will last. Our tipster said there have been no visible signs of construction activity the four times he’s passed by this week.

In an email, Parks Department spokesperson Crystal Howard said the path is currently closed because of “fine grading and paving to the haul road” as part of the fifth phase of the city’s capital reconstruction of the park, which began in 2016. The project also includes the repaving of the bike path, which has yet to commence.

Pressed on when the closure and detour period would end, Howard said “this specific closure” will end “next week.”

After we sent a third query about whether and when greenway users can expect the path to be closed again during the next year of construction, the department said that “so not to open and close” the segment will “stay closed, with the detour, for the next few weeks until completed.”

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    There was notice for this, though admittedly not in person, just through social media, etc. (it was on Transalt’s Morning Bike Forecast like a month ago?) While not the nice separated, smooth and straight (and wind sheltered!) route you normally get, I wouldn’t call it hilly. It slopes gently up and down by a few feet maybe.

    It does have some big bumps at the every single pavement boundary though, such as at the ends of the several short bridges. There’s also some bad pavement at the southern end right before rejoining the normal bike path. It’s too bad anyone with mobility impairments not on a bike has to deal with this normally! They changed the detour after the first few days, which did make it worse. At first it went along the shoreline the whole way shared, but then the northern part got switched back to the normal path with a weird Z (paved with belgian block) just south of the basketball courts. Staying on the shoreline the whole way made more sense.

    IMO the most important thing is holding Parks to a set and not ridiculous timeline for this. No BS like the 5 sets of stairs on the northern side of the GWB until the end of the year!

  • Guest

    Hilly? Nope. Cyclists aren’t directed inland (THAT is hilly), but closer to the water, which is flat as a pancake. Not as smooth and not direct like the path that’s currently closed but come on, definitely not hilly. There’s a lot of valid criticism in this piece but no need to
    exaggerate / make things up, if cycling advocates are to be taken
    seriously. I hope you remove the mention of “hilliness”, because it’s
    just not true, and may even detract some from riding there for no reason. It actually also isn’t that “crowded with joggers and dog walkers” most of the time in colder months. Doesn’t make the detour acceptable but again, hope we can avoid exaggerating.

    There’s a sharp, nearly hairpin turn right at the entrance to the detour (if you’re going south), which I did OK with because I know to slow down in such places, but for someone not taking appropriate precautions, this might be a danger in the dark. Be careful there, and hopefully we get the direct route back soon.

  • Guest

    I’d also known this was coming, through the usual bike-interest social media. Not arguing that they couldn’t have done more to publicize it; they probably could have, but there’s a reasonable detour in place. They’re not making us walk our bikes, as they did last time there was a detour here. I don’t believe for a second their stated timeline, but the detour, especially in colder months when fewer people walk/run in the park, isn’t that of a huge deal, imo. Agree on pressing for repairs to be done in a reasonable time, but I’m holding my outrage for other, much worse cycling detours we get subjected to in this city every day.

  • redbike

    Thanks for the fact-based report.

  • Elizabeth F

    This is belly-aching over nothing: DOT did close the path, but they provided a detour right there, with only minor inconvenience.

    Why not focus on times when DOT closes stuff and doesn’t post any detours until you’re right there, forcing you to backtrack? For example, last week they summarily closed the new bridge off the Greenway at 155 St.

  • KeNYC2030

    This was supposed to happen in early November and got delayed. There was a Parks Dept. press release at that time and I think CB7 tweeted about it. In any case, it’s a minor inconvenience at this time of year, and I actually am enjoying the change of scenery and the opportunity for a legal ride along the water there. The Parks Dept. is to be congratulated for realizing that cyclists and pedestrians can coexist, and the signs they’ve put up are a major advance: “Warning Slow Down. Temporary Detour Ahead. Peds Share Path With Cyclists. Bikers Go Slow, Be Considerate.”

  • MatthewEH

    +1 to this, certainly. When construction in this area has prompted shorter detours of this sort directing the route to the water in the past, they’ve posted “no cycling” signs and sometimes posted Parks Enforcement or other Parks employees to harangue passing riders to dismount.

    “Go slow, be considerate” signage is a much more humane approach, and quite frankly what a judicious cyclist would decide to do even if the signage insisted otherwise. Best that the signs agree with likely behavior.

  • JK

    Parks should post a sign at each end of the detour with the completion date — it can be handwritten in magic marker and zip tied to the chain link. This is a really basic expectation and ensures that the traveling public — and other people at Parks or the contractor — know what to expect. There is no universal bike route detour app, and it is completely unrealistic to expect everyone to be on community board lists or check some obscure website. The people doing the closing are responsible to let the public know what is going on. There have been endless unannounced closings on the greenway and Parks needs to do better.

  • Can we do a follow up on this?

    The bike path is still closed 4 months later and with the weather getting nicer the path is getting fairly crowded.

  • Fantome_NR

    Still not open SIX MONTHS later. I tried to submit a complaint on their maintenance site and it couldn’t be submitted due to a website error. I am FURIOUS.

  • Fantome_NR

    Nonsense, it’s dangerous, not to mention shameful that they can’t get a straight, flat stretch of road less than a mile long open after SIX MONTHS.

  • Fantome_NR

    It’s been six months now, and the paths are crowded and it’s dangerous.

  • Fantome_NR

    IT’s been SIX MONTHS now, and it is in fact dangerous. The elderly, children and people with dogs are made to share paths with cyclists who use this router to commute. IT put everyone at risk. It is absurd that they can’t get this stretch of road open after six months. It’s not even a mile long. Shame on you for enabling this kind of lazy irresponsible behavior. You can be sure that whatever construction company it is they awarded the job to has been billing us for non existent work, too.

  • KeNYC2030

    I agree. It’s been way too long.

  • Maggie

    Is there an update on this? Now that it’s May and bike month, this is a huge cluster. Parks said they needed a few weeks – this is completely unacceptable. It really needs to open tomorrow.


Parks Dept. Implements Hudson River Greenway Detour, Then Explains It

Hudson River Greenway traffic will be disrupted for the next two weeks to allow for construction work around 59th Street, the Parks Department said today. Yesterday greenway users were surprised to find the path fenced off from 59th Street to around 63rd Street, with all bike and foot traffic detoured onto a path approximately eight feet wide. A […]

Hudson River Greenway Closure Forces Cyclists Onto Unmarked Detour

The Hudson River Greenway is the most heavily used bike path in the United States, carrying roughly one-seventh of all cyclists entering Manhattan below 50th Street. In Upper Manhattan, where there are fewer bike lanes and much less on-street protection for cyclists than further south, it is truly the backbone of the bike network. Despite […]