In a city of 8.5 million people, where can you find safe space to walk, run, and bike?
The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is a foreshoreway for walking or cycling, 32 miles (51 km) long, around the island of Manhattan. The Hudson River section of the Greenway, which is a continuous 11-mile route along the west side of Manhattan, is the most heavily used bikeway in the United States—nearly 7,000 people ride a bike there every day. Many New Yorkers get a significant amount of the recommended daily physical activity from participating in active transportation along this route.
Residents on the East Side of Manhattan have not been as fortunate. There, bicyclists, runners, and walkers have used a patchwork Greenway of pathways and routes, and are often forced to detour onto traffic-filled city streets. But that is starting to change thanks to a $100 million appropriation that will connect two sections of the Greenway and close the gap along the East River between East 38th and 61st Streets. However, there are still two more major gaps that need to be closed - between 125th and 135th Streets, and between 145th and 162nd Streets.
Closing these gaps and turning the esplanades into an accessible, continuous, and well-maintained Greenway would give residents of the East Side of Manhattan much needed access to active living opportunities. Despite its proximity to Central Park, East Harlem is isolated from parks and open space by busy roads and other barriers and is among the neighborhoods with the poorest outcomes when it comes to children’s health risk as well as premature death rate.