The Hudson River Park Trust will be getting $5 million in state funding to build a two-block bicycle and pedestrian path along the West Side Highway to help close a gap between the waterfront greenspace and Riverside Park.
It may not sound like a great deal of distance, but Governor Andrew Cuomo said the project is a big deal for the Empire State Trail — the 750-mile network of space for bicyclists, hikers, runners and others to safely experience New York state. In this case, the new path would seamlessly connect the trail between Pier 97 and Riverside Park.
“In line with the ambitious goals we have set for a greener, cleaner future, we are investing in sustainable infrastructure to support economic growth and encourage the use of emissions-free transportation options,” Cuomo said in a statement Friday. “The pedestrian and bicycle access improvements along the busy Route 9A [West Side Highway] corridor will make commutes and recreation more enjoyable for both the local community and thousands of visitors.”
The new bike and pedestrian path would improve upon a bikeway and buffered lanes already in existence at the location, which is also the point where the West Side Highway transitions into the Henry Hudson Parkway. The new pathway, which will be as wide as 40 feet in some spots, will also be compliant with provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Once completed, the new pathway will provide increased access to ferries along the Hudson River as well as tourist attractions and cultural centers such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Columbus Circle.
“This new pedestrian and bicycle path will improve access to the Hudson River Park for communities on Manhattan’s West Side and create a new link to the Empire State Trail,” said Basil Seggos, chair of the Hudson River Park Trust board and commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. “Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in the state’s sustained commitment to improving the city’s parks and access to the outdoors statewide.”