New York Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to spend $100 million to fill in one of the last gaps in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, a pedestrian promenade and bicycling path around the island.
In de Blasio's executive budget, to be announced Wednesday, the New York City Economic Development Corp. will get the funds to build a new esplanade in the East River between East 61st Street and East 53rd Street.
Design on the project will start this year and construction will begin in 2019, with completion expected in 2022. Once complete, the addition will remove one of the last interruptions to the 32-mile Greenway. The plan has received an initial OK from the U.S. Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and State Department of Environmental Conservation.
“We’re jumpstarting the completion of a Greenway linking the entire Manhattan waterfront,” de Blasio said in a press release Tuesday. “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 to bike, walk and play along the water.”
The budget also includes $5 million for a multi-agency study to pinpoint the remaining gaps in the Greenway. The study, which will completed this year, will also find ways to upgrade existing pinch points and complete gaps, and act as the basis for additional funding requests in the next update of the city’s capital plan.
“This is the first of many big investments we’ll make as we bring the full Greenway to reality,” de Blasio said.
Since its inception in 1993 under Mayor David Dinkins, each successive mayoral administration has made a contribution to the project.
“Because of the city's growing network of Greenways, cyclists and pedestrians have together come to appreciate New York City's breathtaking waterfront,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in the release.
“This allocation provides a much needed boost to our carefully planned and negotiated vision of a complete greenway around Manhattan,” said City Council member Dan Garodnick. “While we still have some considerable gaps, our plans just got a whole lot closer to reality.”
Trottenberg said that along with the city’s 1,100-mile bicycle network, a longer Greenway would help meet demand in daily cycling, which has grown 80% over the past five years.
“The waterfront Greenway along the East River is a gem, and is one of the most breathtaking spots in our city,” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “I am thrilled that the mayor has committed to narrowing the largest gap in the green necklace along the waterfront by creating a new stretch of open and usable space.”