Spring 2002, p.6-7

Bloomberg Calls For Completing Manhattan Greenway

Hudson River Park segment of the much-loved Hudson River Greenway. Read the latest news on this issue.

And today, I want to announce that we will complete a multi-use recreational path around the entire edge of Manhattan. The success of the Hudson River Park demonstrates the need to make our entire waterfront accessible to walkers and cyclists." Mayor Bloomberg, State of the City Address, January 30, 2002.

Kudos to Mayor Mike for recognizing that greenways are precious recreational space for New Yorkers and crucial thoroughfares for everyday cyclists. The State Departments of Transportation and Environmental Conservation; the City's departments of Planning, Parks, Economic Development and Transportation; and private groups like T.A., the Battery Park Conservancy, Hudson River Park Trust and Riverside Park Fund have worked together to develop the City's existing greenways. T.A. urges Mayor Bloomberg to push his agencies to continue their work to develop a safe and continuous Manhattan Greenway.

T.A.'s Recommendations for the Manhattan Greenway

The Department of City Planning has started work on the Circum-Manhattan Greenway by surveying the state of paths around the island's 30 mile shoreline. Nearly two-thirds of Manhattan's waterfront already has some sort of off-street bicycle and pedestrian path.

Redesign the many outdated paths. They must be completely separated from the street and wide enough to safely carry large volumes of people to be considered true greenways.

Keep paths open and maintain them. The four month closure of parts of the Hudson River Greenway forced path users to take dangerous detours around the closed section of the path, and after the path was reopened debris and barriers remained on it. Off-street paths, such as greenways and bridge paths, must be open and passable during citywide emergencies and alerts.

Guarantee safe access between the on- and off-street bike networks. Currently, there is very little signage directing people to New York's greenways. It is especially dangerous and difficult to find the greenways from the City's bridges. The Sunset Park Connector is an example of how the on- and off-street cycling networks can be connected. Greenways are useless, and may as well be closed, if pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, families and dog walkers cannot safely reach them. T.A. insists that the City put bicycle and pedestrian safety first in all aspects of greenway design, especially in getting people to and from them.

"greenway" - a multi-use path that is physically separated from on-street vehicular traffic; i.e. not a striped on-street bike lane

(A) - Hudson River Park/Route 9A (Battery Park to 59th Street) - Built by the New York State Department of Transportation and maintained by the Hudson River Park Trust. In final stages of completion.

(B) - Riverside South (59th to 72nd Street) - Built by the State DOT and maintained by the NYC Parks Department. Completed.

(C) - Riverside Park (72nd to 125th Street, 145th to 155th Street) - Built by the State DOT and the NYC Parks Department and maintained by the NYC Parks Department. Completed, with additional projects funded by the Riverside Park Fund. The cantilevered section from 82nd to 91st Street will be completed by 2003.

(D) - Riverbank State Park (125th to 145th Street) - Built by the NYS Department of Environmental Protection. Completed. This is not a through route for cyclists; path users must leave the greenway and follow a signed on-street route from 125th to 135th Street.

(E) - Fort Washington Park (155th to George Washington Bridge) - Built and maintained by the NYC Parks Department. Completed.

(F) - George Washington Bridge to Inwood Hill Park There is a dangerous unfinished path along the Henry Hudson Parkway. Amtrak owns the rail right-of-way along the Hudson River, and the NYC Parks Department owns the land between the racks and the highway. The City and the State must clarify who will develop this section.

(G) - Harlem River Greenway (Broadway Bridge to 145th Street) - NYC Department of City Planning is studying the implementation of a greenway that could connect with Inwood Park.

(H) - Harlem River Greenway (145th to 142nd Street) - Built by the NYSDOT. Completed.

(I) - Harlem River Greenway (142nd to 125th Street) - NYC Parks and City Planning Departments are collecting data and creating new designs for this segment.

(J) - Bobby Wagner Walk (125th to 63rd Street) - Built by the State DOT and maintained by the NYC Parks Department. Completed. Needs widening to accommodate cyclists, pedestrians, skaters, dog walkers, families and other users.

(K) - 63rd to 25th Street There are two major challenges here: the ConEd plant and the United Nations. A cantilevered path may be necessary to connect a through off-street route. The UN has loosened its firm stance against the East River Greenway passing through its property, originally citing concerns with snipers (but not truck bombs on the FDR, which tunnels directly under it).

(L) - Stuyvesant Cove (25th to14th Street) - Built by the NYC Economic Development Corp. Completed.

(M) - East River Park (14th to Montgomery Street) - Built and maintained by the NYC Parks Department. Completed. The waterfront esplanade is rotting and needs to be rebuilt.

(N) - East River Bikeway and Esplanade (Montgomery Street to Fulton Fish Market) - Built by the NYC Economic Development Corp. Completed.

(O) - Southern Manhattan Connector
Fulton Fish Market to Battery Park City - The keystone of the Circum-Manhattan Greenway, it will link the southern ends of the East and West side paths. Because of the masses of tourists wandering around downtown, the thousands of ferry-born commuters that walk to buses and subways, the crunch for space downtown, the myriad of players (National Park Service, State DOT, City DOT and Parks Depts., T.A., Battery Park Conservancy, the Downtown Alliance-just to name a few), this will be one of the most complicated sections of the greenway to design. Building the off-street path to connect the East and West side paths will complete Mayor Bloomberg's promise.

Read the latest news on this issue.