A number of stumbling blocks have held up developing the Hudson River’s Bronx shore for years. One of the greatest difficulties centers around how to accommodate train tracks running along the water.
Authorities inched a few steps closer to a solution on June 10, when Community Board (CB) 8 passed a resolution calling on the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) to commission a new study focusing on the train tracks and other challenges.
CB 8 made the vote following consultations between board members and officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Association (MTA) and from Metro-North — the bodies that oversee the tracks.
A previous NYMTC study led to a proposal for a multi-stage — and multi-million dollar — approach to developing the shore. In that plan, authorities would first create a path running along the Henry Hudson Bridge, cutting through Spuyten Duyvil and then cutting through Riverdale streets dozens of feet away from the river before joining with a trail in Yonkers. Years down the road, that plan calls for the shore to be expanded to allow a lower Manhattan-style path.
With Metro-North tracks taking up much of the narrow Bronx shore, planners have struggled to envision how to develop it. This spring, train officials told CB 8 members that flooding from storms like Hurricane Sandy endanger the tracks, let alone a possible riverside path. A Metro-North spokesman also said personnel use heavy equipment on a service road adjacent to the tracks to access signal boxes and an electrical substation.
“Such maintenance activity cannot be co-located with a functioning Greenway,” Aaron Donovan said.
Still, the new CB 8 resolution asks NYMTC to undertake engineering and feasibility studies to see if those challenges can be surmounted. The board called on NYMTC to do the studies before starting to implement its original plan.
Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman Bob Bender said officials such as Sen. Chuck Schumer, who previously secured $1 million for NYMTC’s previous study, would have to allocate federal transportation funds for the new studies.