It’s been nearly 30 years since activists in Riverdale started campaigning for a hiking and biking trail along the local stretch of the Hudson River.
It was $1 million in taxpayer money that a consortium of state and local agencies spent a few years ago on a study into a possible route for the trail—although the study, completed in 2014 by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, mostly pointed out the difficulty of creating a local path directly along the river and suggested alternative routes further away from the shoreline.
It was $200 million that state Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed in January to allocate over the next three years for creating two intersecting paved trails across the state—trails of which the Hudson Greenway in Riverdale could become a part.
That’s a lot of time and a lot of money, all linked to a project that would grant New Yorkers unhindered access to a lot of beautiful vistas along the Hudson River.
Given the efforts involved, one might expect Mayor Bill de Blasio to be familiar with a project of that scale in his city. But the mayor successfully defied any such expectations during his town hall appearance in Riverdale last week. The project, de Blasio conceded, had escaped his notice.
“Thank you for putting it on my agenda, it sounds like a very good idea,” de Blasio told a resident who asked the mayor about his views on the Greenway project. In case listeners got their hopes high and got the impression the mayor really meant the “very good idea” part, the mayor preceded the remark by saying that it was his standard response to a novel idea.
“I also don’t commit to things, especially if they may involve a lot of work or a lot of money, until I fully understand it,” the mayor added.
Now that the Greenway is on de Blasio’s agenda, the mayor should make an effort to fully understand the project. And the City Hall should try to make many Riverdalians’ dream of gaining access to the Hudson River a reality. The wait has already lasted three decades.