March/April 1998, p.9

Riverside Parking Lot Would Pinch Greenway

Read the latest news about this issue.

It is 2005 and you are strolling or riding your bike on one of New York City's most spectacular open space attractions - the Hudson River Valley Greenway. Imagine the sights as you head uptown: majestic Hudson views, the awesome Intrepid, peaceful marinas and…a supermarket parking lot? Suddenly, the path narrows and you're stuck between the river and sea of parked cars. That's precisely what could happen if the NYC Economic Development Corporation grants a 10-year lease for waterside parking to Harlem's Fairway market. Fairway's parking lot, located on Marginal Street from 131st to 133rd Street, lies on a 4.5 mile stretch of waterfront from 72nd Street to 153rd Street that is designated for a portion of the NYC Greenway known as Riverwalk and that is being planned by the NYC Department of Parks.

Since its arrival in Harlem a few years ago, Fairway has temporarily leased the lot from the EDC for parking. But now the store wants a ten-year lease and has promised to construct a two-block waterfront promenade at the site in exchange. The promenade would directly abut the heavily used parking lot and probably could not be built to meet even minimum greenway standards that recommend a 12-foot width for bike/ped paths in urban areas.

Insiders say EDC is likely to grant the lease, but community residents object. Funds for Riverwalk have already been secured from federal transportation moneys and the City Parks Department. A long-term lease for Fairway's parking lot would set back years of work to make the Hudson shoreline an open space resource for New Yorkers. Tell your city councilmember you don't want a parking lot on NYC's Greenway. Urge him or her to reject the 10-year lease for Fairway's parking lot. Call T.A. if you don't know your council representative.