SEEKING THE GREEN
De Blasio pledges $100 million for construction of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway along East 53rd and 61st streets.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is throwing $100 million into the East River — for use in constructing a bikeway and walkway that stretches for eight blocks above water.
The mayor announced Tuesday, a day ahead of his budget presentation, that he will earmark the money to jump-start construction of an esplanade to “close the gap” in the existing Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, between East 53rd and East 61st streets.
The construction will bring the city a step closer to a continuous 32mile pedestrian “loop” around the coast of Manhattan, which has been the pursuit of all mayors since David Dinkins in 1993.
The New York City Economic Development Corp. will begin to design the esplanade this year with construction slated to commence in 2019 and be completed by 2022.
“We’re jump-starting the completion of a greenway linking the entire Manhattan waterfront,” de Blasio said. “The Hudson River Greenway has vastly improved quality of life on the West Side, and we want families in every corner in the borough to have that same access
“We’re jump-starting the completion of a Greenway linking the entire Manhattan waterfront.” Mayor Bill de Blasio
to bike, walk and play along the water. This is the first of many big investments we’ll make as we bring the full greenway to reality.”
Councilman Ben Kallos, who co-chairs the East River Esplanade Taskforce, applauded the plan. “I will finally be able to run the full length of my district from Midtown East to East Harlem,” he said.
While the esplanade is being hailed by many officials, some New Yorkers believe that resources should not be diverted from maintenance of the existing pathways and parks along the East River.
“Above 70th, in the UES & Harlem, the Esplanade is not just unsightly, but dangerous. We’ve had enough. When will we see real improvements?” tweeted Dara Hunt to the Office of the Mayor on Tuesday morning.
Another $5 million will go toward studying the remaining gaps along the greenway, most notably between 119th and 154th streets, where “lowtraffic volume links” take pedestrians back through the city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to jump-start construction to close the major gap in the greenway “loop” around the coast of Manhattan.