Months After Opening, Denny Farrell Greenway Bridge Closed 3 Weeks for Construction

It looks like the bridge was rushed to open to the public last year so the ribbon-cutting could coincide with Farrell's retirement.

The pedestrian and bicycle bridge connecting 151st Street to the Hudson River Greenway has been temporarily shuttered multiple times since opening in September.
The pedestrian and bicycle bridge connecting 151st Street to the Hudson River Greenway has been temporarily shuttered multiple times since opening in September.

In September, Governor Cuomo and other Albany luminaries held a ribbon-cutting for the $24.4 million structure connecting 151st Street to the Hudson River Greenway over the Henry Hudson Parkway. The event was timed to coincide with the retirement of longtime Assembly Ways and Means Chair Herman “Denny” Farrell, for whom the greenway bridge is named. And apparently it was premature.

Last week, state DOT closed off access to the bridge to “complete some finishing work as the project’s contract draws to a close,” according to an agency spokesperson. The closure is expected to last “approximately three weeks.”

It’s strange, to say the least, that three weeks’ worth of construction work has been scheduled after the bridge opened. Instead of getting this done before people started using the bridge and incorporating it into their routines, the closure is happening as bicycling starts to peak.

Nothing is ever straightforward in the world of New York City infrastructure construction, and the Denny Farrell Pedestrian Bridge is no exception. Originally set to wrap up in late 2016, the project was delayed a year because the bridge abutments failed a quality-control inspection and contractors had to start over.

The current closure isn’t the first time the bridge has been shuttered since its opening, either. On October 3, the bridge was closed off for most of the day, also for finishing work.

  • A Cyclist

    October 3? That’s quite a random date. The Denny Farrell Bridge was closed for many days and weeks over the last three months of 2017 and first three of 2018. No signage or notice on a website. Really random. Even on open days there were occasionally workers grinding/buffing and putting new fasteners on the railings.

  • So, it’s not done yet. And it’s even later than it was supposed to be.

    I guess the citizens of New York don’t care for accountability on capital construction work anywhere? Just flush all their money down the drain, no one cares.

  • crazytrainmatt

    In a similar situation on the other side of town, there have been several workers grinding and cutting the railings on the 81st St bridge on the east river greenway that officially opened a few months ago. These are the railings that added a year to the project schedule. Today they had half the path blocked off.

    The recent work on the east river greenway is certainly an improvement, but now that the weather is nice you see how poorly the design handles high usage. It is admittedly a narrow ROW and New Yorkers will be New Yorkers, but there are still a lot of silly design choices, like the water fountain placed right at the foot of the 71st street bridge inviting people congregate right in the middle of a tight intersection rather than slightly offset at a wider point in the path. Or the various places they could have eked out more path width but instead left dead planter strips. Or those two iron gates on the John Finley walk that funnel everyone into each others’ path for no apparent reason. Benches sometimes on the water, sometimes on the FDR side — the former is probably better as it invites lingerers out of the main thoroughfare.

  • vnm

    Separate from issues about whether the money could have been used better, or whether the job was rushed for the ribbon-cutting, which are legitimate in their own rights, I’ll just jump in here to say that this physical bridge by itself is an excellent piece of ped/cyclist infrastructure. The ramps are easy to navigate and the bridge seems well-designed and solidly built. It is the best way to overcome the huge grade differential between the greenway and the heights of the West 150’s. I really appreciate the new route into the Greenway from uptown. It’s definitely a lot better than the closest entrance to the south, which is a stairway at 148th Street, which are only stairs and no ramps.

    My problem with this bridge is that it is totally disconnected from the bike lane network. Unlike the High Bridge or the Randalls Island Connector, both of which have great bike lane approaches, there are no bike lanes on the approach streets to this bridge. So I think DOT should stripe some!

  • vnm

    To add more clarity to what I’m saying, heading in the eastbound direction, it’s hard to find the entrance from the greenway to the bridge. You have to squeeze through the endpoints of two nondescript metal barriers to reach the bridge. Then when you exit the bridge, it’s hard to find a cross-street. 152nd Street goes eastbound, but to reach it from the bridge you have to salmon along a short (but steep!) stretch of the Riverside Drive service road. Either that or ride all the way down to 150th Street then hang a U-turn in traffic, which is probably riskier than the brief salmoning. A two-way protected lane would be great for cross-town travel.

  • HamTech87

    I still can’t get over the $24 million price tag. I know, I know, other transportation infrastructure is ridiculously expensive, but it just makes it harder to get anything done in the active transport realm.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    I’d prefer if it were a bit wider and had separate bike/ped spaces:

  • JK

    It’s true, from the greenway, there is no signage or markings showing the way to the bridge, which is far enough away to be easily missed. On the Riverside Drive side, the entrance is also not signed or marked. Per Crazytrainmatt and the East Side Greenway, the current management at the Parks Department seems to know zero about bike planning and care even less. In a distant galaxy, long, long ago, Parks had knowledgeable, motivated greenway planners. Now that cycling is booming, the agency seems either totally incompetent or actively hostile to cycling.

  • pfrishauf

    October 3 seems ridiculous, and I agree with others that while they are at it, perhaps they will add a few signs at Amsterdam Avenue, Broadway, and Riverside, so when the bridge reopens people can find it without the assistance of Ace Ventura Pet Detective. Complaints aside, this bridge is changing the character of the section of park it serves for the better, from one that seemed to be largely accessed by cars driving off the Henry Hudson Parkway, to walkers and bicyclists from the surrounding Manhattan neighborhood, who now have pleasant, welcoming access to the river from 153rd Street. It’s a nice bridge and much more visually pleasing than the mediocre atrocities that provide access to Riverbank State Park. It’s a park entrance: how things look matter.

  • cjstephens

    What could be a more appropriate monument to that crook, Denny Farrell? The bloated budget, the incompetent execution, the complete repudiation of the people who live in the neighborhood? A project that has a fancy name and an elaborate ribbon cutting but that also can’t be used by anyone? And given how long the voters in his district kept this lowlife in office, it serves them right that they don’t get a functioning bridge. You couldn’t come up with a better symbol if you tried.

  • It’s the date we could verify.

  • Uptown Commuter

    Business as usual uptown. Rev. Al Taylor has nothing to say about the incomplete bridge project. When we speak of crooks let’s all be reminded that the public didn’t get to vote for the current Assembly Member who replaced Farrell. Taylor has no transportation plan for the district.