Hudson River Footbridge May Be Built

The lack of access to the Hudson River shoreline is a long-standing grievance all along the West Side of Manhattan. The City has already committed to building a usable walkway along the Riverside Park waterfront, cantilevered over the river where necessary. Presently, there are in some spots only a few feet between the edge of the highway and the river itself. Our section of this esplanade will be called "Cherry Walk" and construction will start in 2000. But without a footbridge, it will be necessary to walk down to 100th St. or up to 125th St. to get to it. The NYC Parks Department has had engineering plans for a long time, but funding has always prevented construction. Believe it or not, there used to be just such a footbridge.

However, thanks to the efforts of John Cronin of the Hudson Riverkeeper Fund, things may be changing. The Metro North Railroad, whose tracks form the principal barrier to the Hudson in most places north of here, has changed its policy and is now helping to construct bridges to the shoreline. Governor Pataki has also committed to using state funds to help do this, partially out of money from the 1996 NYS environmental bond issue. There is also the possibility of money from the Federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (commonly called "ICE-TEA"). The Hudson River Watertrail Association is interested in improving access to our river all along its length.

Update 10/23/00: A bridge is being designed by the NYC Parks Department. They are debating whether to have a contemporary or a historic design, though they still don't have definite plans to construct. Please e-mail Charles McKinney, who is in charge of this project, at razorbac@PARKLAN.CN.CI.NYC.NY.US and let him know a historic design would be more appropriate given that Morningside Heights is soon to be an official historic district and given the beautiful historic stonework along the Drive. Hearing from the public does matter! The map below shows planned improvements in our area.