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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Board sends Greenway scheme back to drawing board

By Maya Rajamani
Posted

After heated debate over the wording of a resolution on the Hudson River Greenway at the Parks  and Recreation Committee meeting on March 27, 16 committee members passed an amended resolution, with four opposing votes and one abstention. 

Parks Committee Chairman Bob Bender drafted the resolution after a Feb. 25 meeting where the audience appeared to be unanimous in its opposition to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s (NYMTC) three-stage plan for what could ultimately become a scenic hiking and biking trail stretching from northern Manhattan to the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail in Yonkers.

At the last meeting, NYMTC’s planning director Jerry Bogacz presented a plan that would implement a temporary greenway route until NYMTC is able to work out an agreement with the Metro-North Railroad, private landowners and Amtrak, who all currently hold parts of the right-of-way that would be needed to create a path directly along the Hudson River.  

Proposals for temporary routing proved to be contentious.

In the proposed plan’s first phase, bikers could cross the Henry Hudson Bridge on a cantilevered bike lane on the western side of the bridge, after which they would proceed up Independence and Palisade avenues, pass through Riverdale Park’s “right of way” and then cruise back onto Palisade Avenue and up 261st Street to Riverdale Avenue. 

In a later stage, when they reach 254th Street, they could cross the Metro-North railroad tracks to the waterfront and continue up into Yonkers. 

While the board voiced its support for the waterfront access a greenway would provide, it objected to many aspects of the plan, which would include over $75 million in spending for bridge and road improvements. 

High on the list of objections were the widening of country roads west of Henry Hudson Parkway, which would result in tree removal and lost traffic and parking lanes, and the use of Riverdale Park as a thoroughfare for the greenway. 

“I think it’s fair to say nobody supported that plan as it was presented,” said Mr. Bender. 

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