An deserted Manhattan park path might develop into an alternate bike commuter route that avoids the steep climb on the Hudson River Greenway on the George Washington Bridge. All it wants is slightly love and a few contemporary pavement.
Higher Manhattan’s greenway paths have an extended historical past of poor stewardship. What’s now the Harlem River Esplanade, a two-mile waterfront path from Dyckman Avenue southward, was deserted by the town for almost 40 years — with one finish cut off by a highway ramp. Within the Nineteen Nineties, what’s now the Hudson River Greenway north of 181st Avenue was sabotaged by a freeway mission that narrowed components of the trail and left behind jackhammered pavement and harmful holes. It took until 2003 for the town to reinvest in these paths and make them bikeable once more.
However there’s nonetheless one Higher Manhattan greenway path that’s rotting prefer it’s 1999. This path runs by Fort Washington Park, connecting from the Hudson River Greenway path close to West 181st Avenue to Riverside Drive close to West 172nd Avenue. It neatly weaves by the spaghetti of freeway ramps that infest the world, permitting cyclists to journey instantly between the greenway and Riverside Drive with out climbing steep hills.
Back in 2003, utilizing this path required a little bit of risk-taking. Its north aspect, subsequent to Riverside Drive below the George Washington Bridge, was walled off with concrete barriers, requiring southbound vacationers to briefly scurry into freeway site visitors and clamber again over a guard rail. The intrepid explorer was then met with dead trees and a makeshift berm laying throughout the trail. Fortunately, these obstacles had been eliminated by 2018, when the close by Hudson River Greenway path bridge over the Amtrak tracks was quickly closed and a few greenway customers took this path as a detour.
You’ll be able to go to the trail by going to the Hudson River Greenway, simply south of the 181st Street pedestrian bridge. The greenway path curves off to the appropriate, however in entrance of you is a moldering sidewalk that heads instantly south, alongside the northbound Riverside Drive.
Comply with that sidewalk south: You’ll must navigate round a delivery container blocking a lot of the path (see above picture) after which rigorously cross a little-used street that permits “licensed customers” make a U-turn to the southbound Henry Hudson Parkway. Comply with the sidewalk southward, under the GWB overpass, and it quickly enters a grove of bushes.
The trail has two forks: Take the right-hand fork every time.
When you get additional alongside on the trail, the pavement crumbles away. Should you’re on a bicycle it’ll be a tough journey for the subsequent hundred yards or so.
The trail weaves by the woods, alongside a freeway ramp, the pavement comes again, and we find yourself at an intersection of Riverside Drive and freeway exits from the Henry Hudson Parkway and I-95, just a few blocks north of one hundred and sixty fifth Avenue.
Though there’s no apparent path to maintain going southward, a more in-depth take a look at the site visitors islands exhibits gaps within the guard rail and bits of pavement that present the intersection was initially designed with a crosswalk and a route throughout the ramps. The exits all have STOP indicators defending them. Cross right here and proceed south on the sidewalk on the west side of Riverside Drive. In a block or so, you’ll be at one other freeway ramp, again with no crosswalk, then you definately get to a site visitors gentle by the New York State Psychiatric Institute constructing. That is the spot the place Riverside Drive modifications character from ugly freeway to normal-looking metropolis road. Because of the site visitors sign, that is additionally the spot the place northbound cyclists on Riverside Drive can cross over and attain the trail.
This route may very well be made bike-friendly with a minimal funding — repair the pavement, restore the crosswalk stripes, designate the little-used sidewalk north of the institute as a shared bike/ped path, add some indicators to assist individuals discover their method, and possibly regulate the site visitors gentle. This path doesn’t must be only a backup route for cyclists avoiding the greenway hill — it might let future throngs of Riverside Drive cyclists connect with the north path of the George Washington Bridge with out having to compete with drivers on Fort Washington Avenue or cross the site visitors sewers of West 178th and 179th Streets. Though it’s now closed, the GWB north path will finally re-open for bicyclists as a part of Port Authority upgrades to the bridge. Similar to motorists, bicyclists additionally want secondary routes, particularly ones that keep away from steep hills.
So how will we maintain this park path from rotting for one more 40 years? How will we notice its potential as a helpful greenway route? Write, name or tweet at Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Metropolis Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. Ask them to search out some capital funding to repair this place up. Letting items of our park system go to seed is a Twentieth-century development that we will do with out.
Ed Ravin (@VeloTraveler), a long-time bicycling and livable-streets advocate, is a previous board member of the 5 Borough Bicycle Membership and Transportation Alternate options.