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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chuck Schumer vows funding for greenway

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Paul Elston, center, representing Friends of the Hudson River Greenway, and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, right foreground, and other government officials at the JFK Marina and Park in Yonkers announced a push for funding to build the leg of the trail that runs through Riverdale on Jan. 17.

Senator Chuck Schumer has vowed to seek federal funding for the first phase of the Hudson River greenway project to link the riverside path in Manhattan to the Old Croton Aqueduct Trailway in Yonkers. He put the cost of that phase at $10-to-$20 million.

“Walking or biking down the greenway is recreational, it’s healthy and it’s an economic shot in the arm,” Mr. Schumer said at a Jan. 17 speech at Yonkers’ John F. Kennedy Marina and Park along the Hudson River.

While the senator noted that some details of the plan are yet to be finalized, his announcement seemed to make one of the most hotly contested parts of the proposal a foregone conclusion — the plan to build a short-to-medium-term path cutting through Riverdale before establishing a final path along the shoreline.

Still, Paul Elston, who heads a grassroots group in favor of building the path on the waterfront, reiterated community members’ opposition to creating a path running along Palisade Avenue and other streets.

“We think the focus ought to be entirely on the waterfront,” said Mr. Elston, the president of the Friends of the Hudson River Greenway in the Bronx. “We’re afraid that the interim might become permanent and we think that that is a concern shared by the community.”

Mr. Schumer promised to avoid just that scenario.

“The interim steps will not be the final steps,” Mr. Schumer said. “We’ll keep working on it.  And second, we’ll work with the community in Riverdale, which is the most difficult terrain to get through, to figure out something that makes everybody happy.”

Community members have criticized the interim path — which runs from the Henry Hudson Bridge to Yonkers by way of Kappock Street and Palisade Avenue — as inconvenient, potentially dangerous and infringing on private property.

But Mr. Schumer touted the interim path as improving city infrastructure, saying the project will include sidewalk repair, street enhancements and improvements in pedestrian safety.

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