This Hudson River Greenway Detour Has Lasted Five Months Longer Than Planned

The 11-block detour between 59th Street and 70th Street began in late November and was supposed to wrap up in a few weeks. It's still in place.

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

In November, the Parks Department closed off 11 blocks of the Hudson River Greenway bike path between 59th Street and 70th Street for construction with little public notice. Cyclists were directed to take the nearby pedestrian path. At the time, agency reps told Streetsblog the detour would wrap up in “the next few weeks.”

Six months later, as greenway usage swells with the arrival of warm weather, the detour is still in effect. It is expected to last until the end of the month, according to a Parks Department spokesperson.

Construction actually paused in December with the onset of winter temperatures, but the Parks Department opted to keep the detour in place.

“So not to open and close the bike lane between phases, we determined keeping it closed through full completion of this phase was the safest and most efficient way to proceed,” the agency said in an email.

The construction work necessitating the closure is part of the fifth phase of the city’s capital reconstruction of Riverside Park South, which began in 2016. Although the current round of work is scheduled to wrap up at the end of this month, more closures are expected in the fall for minor “punch list items,” including lighting and lane markings, the Parks Department said.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Gee, that never happens in New York.

    I NEVER have non-emergency work done in my house, except in a recession.

    Now is the time for planning and saving up money, not doing. Do this sort of work when you are doing them a favor, not the other way around. But be prepared to take action immediately, or you miss the window.

  • JL

    It was a s***show last night during the evening rush. I was heading south @6PM with most of the bike traffic heading north. All you need is a couple of guys who refuse to slow down and wildly passing among runners, dogs and baby strollers to piss everyone off. There were no one in green to calm people down. It won’t be long before they make bikes take that detour north of the basketball courts at 72nd.

    W29th between 9th and 10th is a total mess and more dangerous than usual.

  • Maggie

    I’m choking on the Parks explanation. They shut the segment down in mid November, without advance notice, to get some work done. Then in December, the onset of winter temperatures surprised them and precluded doing the work they had planned? And then without consulting with any stakeholders who are impacted, they decided it was safest and most efficient to keep it closed through June?!

    WTFingF. This is a sh*tshow. Take those fences down tomorrow or dedicate a lane on 12th Ave for biking, but this is untenable. NFW.

    Given the overlapping jurisdictions and Parks’ inability to handle this, I wish NYC had a bike mayor to pay attention to this stuff when de Blasio doesn’t. As a city, I wish we didn’t keep waiting for inevitable tragedies to occur before doing the right thing.

  • Omykiss

    Thanks for doing an article about this – total mess. My cynical side sees an enforced dismount rule coming rather than an accelerated construction timeline as the short term fix.

  • MatthewEH

    Heh, I went up Madison into Central Park yesterday to avoid the farkakte greenway. No regrets.

    On the plus side, the segment of Riverside Boulevard that connects through to W 59th Street between 11th Ave and West Street looks nearly ready to go. They just need to eliminate some construction fencing and it’d be passable.

  • Fool

    It takes five months for the city the paint lanes in Northern Blvd after repaving a section.

    The city is just universally incompetent, not negligent.

  • Joe R.

    What about when they cut streets in preparation for repaving, and then the repaving takes place weeks or months later?

    On top of that, resurfacing jobs are generally substandard, with wavy pavement, non-flush manhole covers, plus general inattention to the underlying conditions which cause potholes. On some streets in my area the same potholes have been reappearing for 40 years. It’s not rocket science to keep streets in good repair, but NYC seems to be incapable of doing it.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    It seems like an awful lot of work to basically redo the status quo, but worse (now with added pavement seam in the middle of the northbound bike lane). Would have been better to have a much wider path that Amtrak vehicles can use at low speed with flashers on. How many Amtrak vehicles use the haul road per day/month?

  • KeNYC2030

    Parks officials told me last week that the work would be inspected May 11 and that if all is well, the path would reopen “soon after.” I’m now checking on that.

  • JL

    Don’t know why they don’t just open the gates at both ends at 4:30PM when the path is busiest and the construction people have long stopped working.

  • Maggie

    Thank you so much Ken, but like JL says, this is a dangerous condition already. I know you know the urgency. I don’t think this can wait even another eight days before getting fixed. For parks and the mayor, this should absolutely be a today agenda item.

    To put the importance of this corridor in perspective (since maybe the mayor didn’t realize), the October 2016 traveler counts had 4150 inbound cyclists on the path and 4186 outbound. So total ridership on this path from October 2016 was 8336 cyclists a day and with 100% confidence, the May 2018 ridership demand is higher. The number of people on bikes who are therefore being ignored and inconvenienced at best, every day, for more than five months already on the Hudson River Greenway, is commensurate with the entire daily ridership for the mayor’s heavily subsidized NYC ferry system.

    Also I know you are well aware (!), this five month closure and delay is completely unfair to residents of the neighborhood who have to share the park in unsafe conditions. They need to open the bike path this afternoon.

  • Jeff

    Because accommodating peak demand is how you manage a transportation facility, and Parks does not see it as such.

  • J

    The Parks Department doesn’t care about bike people

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain

    de Balsio just responded:

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    I was thinking that before but yesterday they went and milled the path, so now we’re going to have to wait for it to be repaved. Of course, I’d rather ride on a milled path than on the pedestrian path…

  • Edwin V

    Is this a bad time to ask about the permanent solution to the concrete blocks on the path from 59th south?

  • BruceWillisThrowsACar@You

    It has been a while since I’ve went that far north on the Hudson Greenway — how crowded does it get on the ped walkway?


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