Historic Greenway expansion includes 40 miles in five outer borough corridors

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New York Construction Report staff writer

A historic expansion of New York City’s greenways – will fill gaps in the outer-borough greenway network to create 60 miles of greenway corridors.

Through this expansion, the city will build more than 40 miles of new protected bike infrastructure and explore improvements to existing infrastructure along the corridors to expand safer, greener transportation options to Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

The five corridors together represent roughly 60 miles of new and existing greenways, and they will build upon ongoing planning for a seven-mile Harlem River Greenway in the Bronx. The development of each of these five additional greenway plans is supported by a competitive $7.25 million federal RAISE grant, won by the Adams administration in August 2022.

DOT, NYC Parks, and NYCEDC will work collaboratively to develop implementation plans for each corridor, with planning processes staggered over the coming several years. DOT will work to identify and implement short-term projects along the identified routes while developing plans for long-term projects. Short-term projects will include the installation of markings, signs, and limited concrete work on city streets, while subsequent long-term projects will include more complex improvements to be constructed with future capital funds.

Work has already begun to develop the Harlem River Greenway in the Bronx – the city has hosted multiple workshops and pop-up engagement events this year. Planning will begin on the Queens Waterfront Greenway in early 2024. Over the next two years, the city will kick off new implementation plans for other corridors roughly every six months.

While DOT will pursue short-term greenway projects with in-house resources, the implementation plans will serve as roadmaps for the city to define capital projects and identify additional funding opportunities. DOT has used similar implementation plans to initiate capital projects for the Manhattan Waterfront, Brooklyn Waterfront, and Jamaica Bay Greenways.

The identified corridors – chosen based on the merits of equity, park access, transportation utility, and economic development, among other factors – are:

Queens Waterfront, Gantry Plaza State Park to Little Bay Park (16 miles): This corridor will close gaps in cycling routes from Long Island City and Astoria to East Elmhurst and College Point, Queens. Running parallel to the Long Island Sound, this route will improve transportation options throughout New York City’s most diverse borough and enhance park access for Queens neighborhoods with limited green space. Connecting these neighborhoods with an active transportation network will particularly benefit Queens residents living within much of the planning area who are underserved by public transit access.

Historic Brooklyn, Coney Island to Highland Park (12 miles): This planning process will explore new connections to the United States’ oldest bike lanes on Ocean and Eastern Parkways, addressing gaps in the greenway network running from the southern tip of Brooklyn at Coney Island to the border of Brooklyn and Queens. The route will connect to Broadway Junction, giving commuters at one of Brooklyn’s busiest transit hubs new safe cycling access to some of the largest green spaces in the borough and complementing a nearly $500 million city-state investment in Broadway Junction, covering public realm improvements, station complex improvements, and accessibility upgrades. The implementation plan will also establish new design and maintenance standards for these historic greenway routes.

Staten Island Waterfront, Goethals Bridge to Verrazzano Bridge (10 miles): This greenway will provide a safe east-west cycling and walking route across the entire North Shore of Staten Island. It will provide major connections to forthcoming NYCEDC projects identified in Mayor Adams’ Staten Island North Shore Action Plan, including the Tompkinsville Esplanade and New Stapleton Waterfront, as well as existing destinations like the St. George Ferry Terminal, Goethals Bridge, and East Shore beachfront.

South Bronx, Randall’s Island Park to SUNY Maritime (15 miles): Due to decades of disinvestment, Bronxites have long lacked the kind of waterfront access that New Yorkers in other parts of the city enjoy. From Randall’s Island eastward, the greenway will simplify and improve safety for commutes to industrial job centers like Hunts Point, as identified in Mayor Adams’ “Hunts Point Forward” vision plan and improve the connections between waterfront parks in the Soundview and Throgs Neck neighborhoods.

Southern Queens, Spring Creek Park to Brookville Park (seven miles): The Southern Queens Greenway will transform access to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), complementing ongoing work by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The roughly 35,000 people who work at JFK will have access to a fast, environmentally friendly mode of transportation connecting the airport to the remainder of the borough. This corridor – located in an area with limited cycling infrastructure – will also directly connect to the existing Jamaica Bay Greenway and parks in Southeast Queens, providing an important bike network expansion in the area.

“This expansion will help to protect bikers and pedestrians alike, allowing for easier, greener transportation for New Yorkers,” said New York State Assemblymember Robert Carroll. “I am happy to see this kind of work being focused on in my district and across the city.

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