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RELEASE: Kavanagh Joins the Mayor Announcing Final Design of Project to Fill East Side Greenway Gap Will Commence Next Week

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$100 million initiative comes as part of administration-wide push to complete a contiguous 32-mile waterfront pedestrian promenade and bikeway around Manhattan

NEW YORK—As part of City Hall in your Borough week in Manhattan, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the formal design process for a new section of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway between East 61st Street and East 53rd Street will officially kick off next week. The Mayor was joined by local officials to tour a portion of the existing greenway and discussing plans for its expansion. Construction of the new segment will commence in 2019, with completion expected in 2022.

“The Manhattan Greenway stands out as open space that connects communities to one another and also to New York’s expansive and beautiful waterfront. Closing this gap will vastly improve quality of life for New Yorkers, and for East Siders who’ve advocated for decades to get this done,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

For  renderings of the project, click here.

“For years East Side residents have looked at the Hudson River Park and wondered why they didn’t have that same type of world class greenway all along the East River,” said NYCEDC President James Patchett. “Today we take a major step towards changing that reality, and delivering on Mayor de Blasio’s vision for a fully connected Manhattan greenway. Creating this kind of waterfront access is central to EDC’s mission of creating strong neighborhoods and building an even more vibrant city.”

“Parks looks forward to furthering the work we are doing with EDC, CDOT and the community to realize the City’s efforts to connecting communities and creating scenic destinations by designing a seamless greenway along the East River,” NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.

In April of this year, the Mayor dedicated $100 million in City capital to significantly narrow the Greenway’s largest gap as part of an administration-wide push to complete a contiguous 32-mile waterfront pedestrian promenade and bicycling path around the whole of Manhattan. The Mayor’s announcement came as a response to a longstanding effort by local elected officials and community advocates to fund and build a continuous esplanade to close the gap.

The project has received initial approval from the US Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and State Department of Environmental Conservation. The structure will be based on plans previously developed in consultation with a board composed of Mayoral representatives and local officials.

“Today’s investment will help bring recreational open space to East Midtown, where it is sorely needed,” saidManhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “With Mayor de Blasio’s help, we are closing the gap from 53rd Street to 61st Street, and are that much closer to encircling all of Manhattan’s 32 miles of waterfront with biking, jogging, and open space for residents and tourists alike to enjoy.”

“Having worked for years to expand the green necklace along the East River, I am thrilled that Mayor de Blasio is supporting this effort and is demonstrating his commitment to expand the esplanade down to 53rd Street,” said U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney. “East Midtown desperately needs more parks and open space, and this new greenway will be a beautiful way for people to enjoy the waterfront. I was part of task forces that planned ways to expand the esplanade, I’ve worked with this community to preserve caissons in the river that could be used to support it, and I obtained $475,000 in federal funds that were used for an RFP for this project. Today we are taking a major step forward to making the new greenway a reality.”

“New parks and open spaces are some of the most important investments we can make in our city, and the expansion of the East River Greenway is something East Siders have been calling for years. With today’s announcement, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, and within five years we should see almost ten more blocks of waterfront available for residents and visitors to enjoy. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio, my elected colleagues, and all the local groups whose hard work brings us one step closer to the completion of this vital project,” State Senator Liz Krueger said.

“For many years, we’ve been working with elected officials, government agencies, community leaders, and local residents up and down the East River to create a continuous Greenway that will provide access to the waterfront for walking, safe bicycling, and recreation, as well as interconnections among our communities,” said Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, who passed legislation and led negotiations on a City and State agreement that prompted an initial design for the project. “I applaud and thank the Mayor for taking a giant step forward in allocating $100 million toward closing the last major gap in the Greenway and creating some wonderful new open space. I look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor and our colleagues on the federal, state and city level to complete and fully fund this vital project.”

“I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio for his leadership on this crucial investment in our East Side waterfront. With this funding, our neighbors will be able to enjoy a new section of the East River Esplanade, a true gem of our community. I am proud to have allocated $500,000 for the renovation of the portion of the esplanade in my district on the Upper East Side. I will continue to work with community leaders, neighbors and elected officials towards an esplanade that we can all be proud of, because parks and open green spaces are not a luxury, but a necessity,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.

“New Yorkers deserve a continuous waterfront connection around Manhattan,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “We still have some significant gaps to fill, but this investment brings that goal much closer to reality.”

“I applaud the administration for creating more green spaces in our city,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council Transportation Committee. “We've seen the effects of climate change in the past few months. Making the city more walkable and accessible to cyclists can help make alternatives to cars and other carbon-dioxide emitting vehicles more appealing, and slow down the rate at which our climate is changing.”

Local elected officials and civic organizations, including Borough President Gale Brewer, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Members Dan Quart and Brian Kavanagh, Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick, have pushed for a complete East River Greenway for decades, resulting in continuous progress at critical links along the route.

Since its inception in 1993 under Mayor David Dinkins, each administration has contributed to Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The last major section of the Greenway to open was a 10-block pile-supported Riverwalk built in Riverside Park on the West Side between West 81st and West 91st streets, completing a contiguous 11-mile Hudson River Greenway from the Battery to the George Washington Bridge. With more than 7,000 daily cyclists, it is the busiest bike path in the United States.

The Mayor’s Executive Budget also dedicated $5 million for a multi-agency study to be completed this year of the remaining gaps in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The study will identify solutions necessary to upgrade existing pinch points and complete gaps, as the basis for additional funding in the next update of the City’s capital plan.

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