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Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito Announces Major Investments to Fill East Harlem Greenway Gap

December 18, 2017

$101 million investment is major step towards a contiguous 32-mile waterfront pedestrian promenade and bikeway around Manhattan


NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito today announced a major investment to advance construction of a brand new section of the Greenway, between East 125th and East 132nd streets. This investment would close one of the last remaining gaps in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, a major step towards completing a contiguous 32-mile waterfront pedestrian promenade and bicycle path around Manhattan.

As part of the recent rezoning of East Harlem, the City committed $83 million in capital towards the development of a new seven-block-long, seven-acre park, featuring bicycle and pedestrian paths. This commitment will provide new access for East Harlem residents that are currently disconnected from the Manhattan Greenway. The new investment comes on top of $18 million already committed to the project waterfront repair work between E125th and 132nd Streets. When this segment and the recently announced $100 million expansion in East Midtown are complete, there will be a contiguous waterfront esplanade and bikeway extending from East 51st Street to West 145th Street—nearly 100 blocks.

“This investment in the East Harlem Greenway gap means a brand new waterfront park for neighborhood kids and residents, and gets us closer to a decades-long goal of completing the amazing Manhattan Greenway. New York is a city of parks and communities, and our focus is improving both,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“The East River Esplanade is a major public open space asset that offers wonderful views and a chance to relax for New Yorkers up and down the east side of Manhattan,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “As El Barrio/East Harlem neighborhoods have witnessed, however, part of this greenway has been neglected for far too long. That’s why the Council prioritized investing in this important open space as part of the recent East Harlem Rezoning. We are proud to welcome this $101 million capital investment for the construction of a brand new waterfront promenade, in addition to $15 million allocated to repair the existing portion of the East River Esplanade. I especially want to thank the Mayor and Parks Commissioner Silver for always supporting our city's parks and green spaces."

New York City Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with the New York City Parks Department, will begin design, environmental review and permitting for the new Greenway segment in 2018. The Parks Department has already conducted a community engagement process to inform the project’s conceptual design.

Construction is expected to begin in 2020 when work is completed on the Harlem River Drive.  Construction will take approximately three years, and is expected to be complete in 2023.

In addition to the new segment of waterfront parkland, the City has committed another $15 million for long needed repairs to the existing portion of the East River Esplanade between 96th Street and 125th Streets. In recent years, Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito have contributed funding for repair work that is currently underway along this stretch. NYCEDC will re-inspect this portion of the Esplanade next year, which will inform the phasing of future repair work. The additional $15 million investment helps to ensure that the structural integrity and landscape of the existing Esplanade will provide a continuous path to the future waterfront park.

“Every step toward ‘closing the loop’ with the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is a reason to celebrate – and the East Harlem Greenway link is cause for some major cheering. This crucial seven-acre stretch of all-new parkland will give East Harlem residents a new place to exercise, play, and relax, and will bring all New Yorkers closer to their waterfront,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver.

“The Manhattan Greenway offers incredible opportunities for waterfront recreation, and connects communities across the borough,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President James Patchett. “But residents of neighborhoods like East Harlem remain cut off from this great resource. EDC is proud to be working with City Parks to construct this new stretch of Greenway, which will bring us one step closer to Mayor De Blasio’s goal of a contiguous 32-mile path around Manhattan.”

“Today's exciting announcement guarantees that pedestrians and cyclists will be able to enjoy even more of the City's growing network of Greenways that connect us to our breathtaking waterfront,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Coupled with the 1,150-mile bicycle network that this year includes a record 25 miles of new protected lanes, a longer Greenway will help us meet the surging demand in daily cycling, which has grown 80% in New York City over the last five years. We thank the Mayor and Speaker for their leadership – and look forward to working with EDC to give East Harlemites greater access to their waterfront.”

Local elected officials and civic organizations, including Borough President Gale Brewer, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Members Dan Quart and Brian Kavanagh, Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick, have pushed for a complete East River Greenway for decades, resulting in continuous progress at critical links along the route.

Since its inception in 1993 under Mayor David Dinkins, each administration has contributed to the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The last major section of the Greenway to open was a 10-block pile-supported Riverwalk built in Riverside Park on the West Side between West 81st and West 91st streets, completing a contiguous 11-mile Hudson River Greenway from the Battery to the George Washington Bridge. With more than 7,000 daily cyclists, it is the busiest bike path in the United States.

In April, the Mayor dedicated $100 million in City capital to significantly narrow the Greenway’s largest gap as part of an administration-wide push to complete a contiguous 32-mile waterfront pedestrian promenade and bicycling path around the whole of Manhattan.

The Mayor’s executive budget also included $5 million for a multi-agency study of the remaining gaps in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The study will identify solutions necessary to upgrade existing pinch points and complete gaps, as the basis for additional funding in the next update of the City’s capital plan.

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