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  1. #1
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    Various New Yorck City Greenway Projects

    Hey everyone, I was going to ask something along these lines in the Belt Parkway thread, but decided to expand the idea to perhaps discuss the various Greenway projects underway. I am very curious about progress, and Google searches seem to be yielding limited and sometimes even seemingly conflicting results. Hopefully some of you kind folks will have info or can point me to info about the projects, and we can discuss them here. I am incredibly exited to see that there has indeed been great progress to the Brooklyn Waterfont Greenway, which seems to run from (or will run from!) the end of the Belt Parkway Bike Path in Bay Ridge, continue along the north shore of Brooklyn to the Brooklyn Bridge and then into Williamsburg and Greenpoint. I know parts are done already, but I am not sure what stuff on the map is "proposed completion" and which is actually completed. From the looks of things, it seems like, where I used to ride down 3rd Avenue (staring in Bay Ridge) down to Hamilton, then Clinton, etc., either now or in the near future, there appears to be a bike path both on 2nd and 3rd, and one on Hamilton Avenue. But instead of having to make the right on Clinton or one of the other northeast streets to get to the Brooklyn Bridge, you can (or will be?) able to make a left and take the waterfront streets around Redhook all the way to the Promenade and under he Brooklyn Bridge.

    Here:

    http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/bgi/...enway-Map1.pdf

    Maybe I will take a ride there in the coming weeks and see the state of completion of the various parts of this huge path.

    Then there is the incredibly ambitious Conduit, Southern Queens, Laurelton, and Cross Island Greenways (all connected to one another and is planned (or was. The site I am linking to below was created in 2000) to be a 32 mile stretch for pedestrians, skaters, and cyclists from Highland Park near the Jackie Robinson, south into the Howard Beach area, then all the way to and past Aqueduct Race Track.

    Here:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/tran...ullconduit.pdf



    Anyone have any more info on these Greenways?
    Last edited by ChiroVette; 07-06-14 at 08:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    I've seen little bikeways popping up here and there over the past decade-and-a-half, but I'm not seeing the continuity promised in the East Coast Greenway plan just yet. Non-essential construction projects really slowed down everywhere after 9-11-01. The Bethpage Bikeway extension to Syosset was first proposed pre-millenium, if I remember correctly, and it was just about completed this year. Other little stretches of path I've seen along the Hutchinson River Parkway and I-95 seem to start and end nowhere in particular, though I haven't explored them on a bike yet.

    If you are really interested in this subject, check out the website for the East Coast Greenway Alliance. Much of what you've seen out there is either part of this project or was inspired by it.
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

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    Yeah I have seen that site, thanks Tom! Also, I remember once, a few years back, I called the Brooklyn office of the Brooklyn/Queens Greenway Project and they were helpful and friendly. I will give them a call tomorrow and see if I can get some more information about any of the updates and new construction and openings of the various parts of the Greenway in Brooklyn and Queens. Also, I am going to make it a point in the coming weeks of gorgeous summer weather to bike down to Bay Ridge and try to scope out the projected Greenway construction areas from Owl's Head Park, down to the Brooklyn Bridge, then I will ride into Williamsburg and beyond. Maybe I will bring my iPad in a knapsack to take some video footage of areas completed, under construction, and not started yet. I am very curious to see how far along this project is, but the newest, most updated maps I can find on the Greenway aren't terribly specific about the progress, which is a little odd, to be frank.

    More to come.

    In the meantime, does anyone in the forum have any more information about this?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    Please fill me in on your findings in Brooklyn. My Belt Parkway (Leif Ericson Bikeway) segment needs updating. I just noticed that I never even added the segment east of Canarsie Pier!
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
    Please fill me in on your findings in Brooklyn. My Belt Parkway (Leif Ericson Bikeway) segment needs updating. I just noticed that I never even added the segment east of Canarsie Pier!
    I definitely will! You also might want to consider turning your site into a blog...well, not an actual blog but blogish in that you could allow comments. This way people can add updates to your comments section on each city's page and you can verify the veracity of the comments if you want, then you can update the corresponding page with the info. This way you don't have to sift through the emails you must be getting and such.

    Oh, speaking of this topic, I have been wondering something: I remember when I was a kid, once or twice, I biked with my parents on the Belt Parkway bike path and it definitely went a lot further than Cross Bay Blvd, which is where it goes now. But I definitely remember, and this is going back to when I was like 10 (lol seriously) and my parents bought a pair of his and hers English Racers and I had some crappy (but filled with fond memories) tacky, green, one-speed kids bike. My Mom, my uncle, and I embarked on that path, and I know we went as far as at least Aqueduct Raceway, maybe further into Long Island. What happened to that stretch from Cross Bay Blvd going much further east.

    For now, if you need an update, I was on the path yesterday, and I can tell you a few things:

    1. They did a great job on all the renovations near Erskine Street. It's all finished.
    2. The part of the path that goes over the Mill Basin Draw Bridge is still a GREAT place to commit suicide because it is absurdly narrow for a two way passage AND has no guardrail facing eastbound traffic. Though, it does have a guardrail protecting you from falling into the drink. Hey, ya think that maybe for the purpose of symmetry, they should remove the guardrail between the path and the water? lol
    3. As far as I can see, the bike path seems to end at Cross Bay Blvd. I didn't try to get back on the parkway at Crossbay, because I wanted to go into Rockaway, then back into Brooklyn via the Marine Parkway Bridge, but I am fairly certain that the bike/ped path no longer extends further east.

    Hope this is helpful!

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    If it ever extended beyond Cross Bay it was probably removed when they built the JFK expressway.

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    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    There's a little bit of pathway further east, around the basketball courts adjacent to the parkway. I've never known if those were part of the original bikeway.

    Thanks for the notes, Chiro. So the path is open all the way from Cross Bay to Sheepshead Bay (minus the section at Plum Beach)? Would you happen to know the exit # for Erskine Blvd, as that's where I think I'd suggest people start?
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
    There's a little bit of pathway further east, around the basketball courts adjacent to the parkway. I've never known if those were part of the original bikeway.

    Thanks for the notes, Chiro. So the path is open all the way from Cross Bay to Sheepshead Bay (minus the section at Plum Beach)? Would you happen to know the exit # for Erskine Blvd, as that's where I think I'd suggest people start?
    No problem, Tom! The exit for Erskine should be 15, but I will check. Edit: Just Googled it, and yeah, it's Exit 15. by the way, why would you recommend people start on the belt there? Wouldn't Crossbay be a better starting point if you want to travel West to Knapp Street since Crossbay is further East and into Queens?

    P.S. Give me a couple of hours. I have a little surprise for you and the forum!

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    @Papa Tom@, I decided to go on a trek through Brooklyn and created this "Greenway Update" video, which also encompasses the Belt, from Flatbush to Bay Ridge. I used my iPad in a few spots, when I could be bothered to dig it out of my knapsack, but mostly ended up using my smart phone as it was much easier to manage and not have to jump through hoops getting it out.

    Here is the video I created, if you guys are interested: (You got a couple of honorable mentions lol)



    And here is the course I did, as created by MapMyRide.

    31.46 mi road cycling on 07/06/2014 in Bergen Beach, NY, United States | MapMyRide

  10. #10
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    Great footage...except you made me really nervous when you were riding against traffic for that little bit on 3rd Avenue!

    I'm thinking I should pull down the part of my Belt Parkway page beyond where the bikeway ends. It's been so long since I was there, and your video unveiled so many new bike lanes, etc. I was also unaware that the section east of Plum Beach was also broken up. Maybe I should just take down the whole site!

    Anyway, thank you for making that great video. But I still don't think you need a helmet cam!
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
    Great footage...except you made me really nervous when you were riding against traffic for that little bit on 3rd Avenue!

    I'm thinking I should pull down the part of my Belt Parkway page beyond where the bikeway ends. It's been so long since I was there, and your video unveiled so many new bike lanes, etc. I was also unaware that the section east of Plum Beach was also broken up. Maybe I should just take down the whole site!

    Anyway, thank you for making that great video. But I still don't think you need a helmet cam!
    LMAO Thanks. although the helmet cam may be a little safer for creating footage. I do agree with you that I don't "need" it, per se, though. However, another advantage of the helmet cam is that I wouldn't have to bike one handed, fishing out cell phones and iPad's while driving against traffic.

    I think you should definitely keep the site. Hell, the site is what inspired me to make the video. Also, bear in mind that my goal in making that video was to find paths and to stay as close to the water as possible. If you click on the MapMyRide link, you'll see that I took painstaking efforts to stay so close to the water in an effort to find paths to legs of the Greenway, areas of it that were under construction, entrances to segments like the Promenade, and walled off bike lanes. While that was probably very informative for that purpose, a great many of the twists and turns I took would simply not be the best way to go. Some, yes, but many of the routes I took were purposely circuitous and out of the way in the hopes of finding paths and lanes that simply weren't there, at least not yet.

    In truth, your route is the best way right now. I usually, when going from the Verazzano into Manhattan would make the right on Smith Street and then take that all the way down and go left on Tillary to the Brooklyn Bridge, but your way is literally just as good, maybe better in terms of being a little scenic. Smith Street, going east, if I remember, is a little industrial, while Clinton may be a more residential, greener, and prettier.

    You have to remember a couple of things: First, if making that video taught me anything, it's that the Greenway, beginning in the Redhook area, is far too fragmented at this point to be even a good, scenic route, much less a viable path from Bay Ridge to Manhattan. In spots, you end up going through cobblestone, which sucks. Plus there are very few signs that point you from the end of one segment to the beginning of where the next one picks up, and I can assure you that at this point in its creation, the Greenway segments in that area are honestly not intuitive. I didn't show it on the video, but you have no idea how many times I had to stop, look around, scratch my head, pull up Google Maps and the Greenway .pdf map on my cell phone or iPad in order to find many of the segments.

    The Greenway sections don't become obvious until you are well out of Redhook and into Brooklyn Heights, where you can get onto the Promenade. Then you are presented with another problem I did show on the video, which was that you have huge crowds of people on foot either unaware or unconcerned that they were crowding their way into bike paths, obstructing the flow of cyclists from pretty much the beginning, western part of Brooklyn Heights all the way to Old Fulton Street, where you can then find your way onto the Brooklyn Bridge, which, by the way, brings up another problem with the Greenway in this phase of its construction: Getting onto the bridge if that's what you are trying to do. With our way (whether you're taking Smith Street or Clinton to Tillary) getting on the foot/bike path of the Brooklyn Bridge is easy! Going via the Greenway, you end up in front of Grimaldi's and The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and you then have to figure out how, in the name of all that is holy, to get onto the Brooklyn Bridge. Now I know because I have done it a thousand times, both by bike and car, that you would take Old Fulton southwest until it becomes Cadman Plaza West, then make your way to Tillary, and finally onto the bridge. But if you don't already know that, finding your way onto the entrance would be a nightmare.

    In short, I would NOT recommend the Greenway to anyone other than those looking to see what all the fuss is about. At least not yet. Look, I am sure when the project is complete, or near complete, it is going to be more than worth the detour, but even then, it will be a more scenic route, and probably a lot of fun to cycle, but it will ALWAYS be longer than the more direct route you and I are talking about going from 3rd to Hamilton then either Clinton or Smith street. Don't get me wrong, I am all for the scenic and longer route, but as of right now, there's no contest. Other than the value of scoping out the progress of the Greenway and making a video about it, I can assure you that following the course I did, at least at this point in time, is a waste of time and energy, AND an exercise in frustration trying to find where the "next leg" of bike paths picks up when you leave the previous one.

    Don't get me wrong, I loved wasting a day on this because it was fun balancing the video camera, adding silly commentary, and just exploring. But you won't catch me doing that again unless there is a reason for me to, like some serious construction making another update a good idea. Definitely DO NOT take your site down. It is absolutely the best way to get to Manhattan from Bay Ridge, I swear it. In a couple of years, hopefully when the Greenway is done, then cyclists will have a scenic and arguably safer route, but guess what? It will still be WAY LONGER, and a lot of New Yorkers not out for a leisurely Sunday ride will still be going either your way or mine and not be bothered with the Greenway, at least not in those segments.

    Maybe next weekend I will do another video, this time of the more Eastern segments going from Brooklyn Heights all the way into Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Seriously, though, don't even think about taking down your AWESOME site.
    Last edited by ChiroVette; 07-07-14 at 10:09 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by [B
    2. The part of the path that goes over the Mill Basin Draw Bridge is still a GREAT place to commit suicide because it is absurdly narrow for a two way passage AND has no guardrail facing eastbound traffic. Though, it does have a guardrail protecting you from falling into the drink. Hey, ya think that maybe for the purpose of symmetry, they should remove the guardrail between the path and the water? lol
    3. As far as I can see, the bike path seems to end at Cross Bay Blvd. I didn't try to get back on the parkway at Crossbay, because I wanted to go into Rockaway, then back into Brooklyn via the Marine Parkway Bridge, but I am fairly certain that the bike/ped path no longer extends further east.
    [/B]
    Hope this is helpful!
    The Belt Parkway path from Plumb Beach to the riding stable east of the Mill Basin bridge will get a complete re-build with the replacements of the Mill Basin and Gerritsan bridges, sometime in the next 5 -6 years or so. The Mill Basin bridge is a new 60ft high non-drawbridge to be just to the north of the existing. The contractor, as was done with the current Belt Parkway improvements, is required to maintain the bike path during construction. When they did this for the recently completed new sections, they did have a path, mostly a narrow piece of asphalt wedged between 2 jersey barriers and chain link fencing. It was a really unpleasant ride.

    As well, once the Army Corps of Engineers does the Plumb Beach project, the city will then - in theory, re-build the Belt Path between Knapp and Plumb Beach. I suspect it's going to be a few years yet.

    The Belt Path in Howard Beach does have a short extension from 84th street up to 90th street, a 6 block section that was not widened and painted when they did the section south of 84th, but that's as far as it goes due to the Cross Bay / Belt interchange. The city bike map (and Google Earth) shows an on-street bike lane going under the Belt at 84th, a quick right and then left on 84th again and up to 149th Ave. The on-street bike lane then comes to a complete stop with no connections to anything. I think you're supposed to go east on 149th, over N/S Conduit on the pedestrian bridge and onto the greenway in the park along N/S Conduit.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiroVette View Post

    Then there is the incredibly ambitious Conduit, Southern Queens, Laurelton, and Cross Island Greenways (all connected to one another and is planned (or was. The site I am linking to below was created in 2000) to be a 32 mile stretch for pedestrians, skaters, and cyclists from Highland Park near the Jackie Robinson, south into the Howard Beach area, then all the way to and past Aqueduct Race Track.

    Here:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/tran...ullconduit.pdf



    Anyone have any more info on these Greenways?
    I was at floyd bennet field today and they did show that proposed extension (at least to JFK) on a map there, I had no idea this was planned....it would absolutely incredible! i hope im alive when its done!!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    >>>i hope im alive when its done!!<<<<

    Isn't it amazing how much the luck-of-the-draw plays into these things? I am so glad to have lived long enough to witness the completion of the West Side Greenway, the Shore/Belt Parkway Bikeway, the Bethpage Bikeway Extension, the Jones Beach - TOBAY Beach Extension, and others.

    To quote Billy Joel: "They say that these are not the best of times, but they're the only times I've ever known." If you filter out all the negative things happening in the world and just consider what's happening for cyclists in our little corner of the world, things are looking pretty damned good right now.
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

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