Streetsblog NYC: The Manhattan Borough President is demanding that the city provide guarantees of access to parks and recreation and interim bike and pedestrian routes as it moves ahead with a controversial project to raise the coastline of the waterfront along that East River in lower Manhattan.
Gale Brewer wrote Monday to the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency and the departments of Planning, Parks, Design and Construction and Transportation urging them to wait another two months before moving ahead on the East Side Coastal Resiliency project.
Brewer and the affected communities generally support the purpose of the project, which will protect the waterfront from potential storm surges related to climate change, while also modernizing park facilities along a three-mile stretch from Montgomery to East 25th streets. But they say the plan runs roughshod over the communities by denying residents access to parkland, ball fields and their well-traveled riverside bike path for almost four years during construction — all for the sake of saving the FDR Drive.
“Personally, I can tell you that I and my family use the bikeway through East River Park almost every day to get to work, school, and Little League games,” said Jeremy Sherber, a leader of the Grand Street Democrats, one of the community group asking the city to revisit the project. “It’s a safe way for my 12-year-old son to commute on his own for baseball practice and to visit friends. Getting rid of this part of the greenway for years and asking cyclists to use First Avenue instead is misguided and probably runs afoul of New York State’s regulations prohibiting alienation of parkland.” Read More>>