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Friday, October 31, 2014

Waterfront plan gains steam, criticism

By Shant Shahrigian
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Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Many riverdalians want a path along the Hudson River to employ the Spuyten Duyvil Swing Bridge, but the reigning proposal employs the Henry Hudson Bridge to the east instead.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Gary Klingsberg stands at the far end of Inwood Park near the Swing Bridge on Jan. 10.
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Debate over a long-coveted pedestrian and bike path along the Bronx stretch of the Hudson River is heating up.

The New York Metropolitan Council (NYMTC) is seeking community input at upcoming Community Board (CB) 8 Parks and Recreation Committee meetings so that later this year, the council can propose a final version of an elaborate, multimillion-dollar plan to connect the greenway in Manhattan to the Old Croton Aqueduct Trailway in Yonkers.

The current draft lays out a multi-stage approach in which authorities first build a short-to-medium-term path through Riverdale and along Palisade Avenue — an option with visible, but not physical contact with the Hudson River’s shore — and then a long-term path along the shore itself.

Since NYMTC unveiled the proposal at last July’s Riverfest, community members have emphasized they want a path along the river, voiced objections to the interim path along Palisade Avenue and criticized other aspects of the proposal.

“What everybody really wants to see is for this thing to be located along the river as much as possible,” said Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman Bob Bender. “The waterfront is what we all want access to. That’s where the natural beauty is.”

Gary Klingsberg, who lives at the River Terrace Apartments at 2621 Palisade Ave., said he and his neighbors think the interim path along their residential street would be a poor route for a greenway and will damage trees and property.

On a recent walk from the Henry Hudson Bridge, where the proposed route would start, to Riverdale Park, Mr. Klingsberg said the twists and turns were inconvenient, if not dangerous, and that there is not enough space to expand existing sidewalks without infringing on private property.

“It needs to be done in a sensible way so it is an amenity, not a foolish way that frankly wastes a lot of money and creates a construction plan […] through the neighborhood that is potentially very damaging,” said Mr. Klingsberg, who is head of a gardening club at his apartment building.

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