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Thread: Greenways and Waterfront Development

  1. #31
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    About time. The FDR and West Side H'way = BIG waste of space. Too much to demo or tunnel, build over. I just bitched about this to my wife, again, yesterday. Hopefully it will get done and be superb in design, since it will redefine that postcard downtown skyline.

  2. #32
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    It's frustrating that the city's oldest, most historically significant stretch of waterfront is still awaiting a definitive development plan, but at the very least there ought to be a walkway/bikepath that connects Brooklyn Bridge to the Battery. Right now it's an obstacle course at best. I thought for sure that at least something temporary would have been part of the work going on around the Battery Maritime Building.

  3. #33

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    http://www.downtownexpress.com/

    Can the waterfront improve much if the F.D.R. stays?

    By Kit White


    Courtesy of Richard Rogers Partnership/ SHoP Architects/ Ken Smith Landscape Architect
    Rendering of the city’s proposal to build cafes under the F.D.R. Drive.

    For decades, the East River shoreline between East River Park and Battery Park has languished as a forgotten remnant of a misbegotten vision to encircle Manhattan in a maze of roadways that denied access to its greatest asset. No major city has made so little of so much and taken so long to try to recoup its loss. With a plan unveiled last Wednesday, the city’s Economic Development Corp. and the City Planning Commission have finally turned their attention to creating a master plan to reclaim the south shoreline.

    Richard Rogers Partnership of London and SHoP Architects and landscape architect Ken Smith of New York have laid out a long-term scheme to beautify and revitalize the riverfront and connect it with East River Park on the north and on the south at Battery Park. The southern connection to Battery Park is an elaborate, ramped park-scape whose structural and design complexity clearly reflects the teams’ belief that it represents the most critical element of the entire design. Additionally, the design calls for treating the underside of the F.D.R. Drive with lights and glass pavilions to house cultural and community amenities.

    Using the existing elevated highway as their leitmotif for the waterfront’s potential, they further proposed the possibility of building slim residential towers above the F.D.R. as a means of raising revenue for the creation of up to 12 acres of park extending over the river. The design, as the three teams presented it, unfolded with a certain ineluctable logic: save money by leaving the elevated highway in place and exploit it for its developable space. As powerful as that logic is, it is the plan’s terrible trap and a fatal flaw that leads this design in the wrong direction.

    According to the designers, there are two reasons to leave the F.D.R. in place: cost of removal and a shortage of space beneath the elevated roadway for enough lanes to accommodate traffic. For those who know the area, the rationale seems defective. The F.D.R. is an unsightly physical and visual barrier to the waterfront. If we are serious about reclaiming the waterfront for public access, then half-measures should be rejected. Do we really care about reconnecting to the shoreline, or do we simply wish to spend millions of dollars on what looks like a half-hearted attempt to make do with a bad situation?

    The amount of traffic that courses under the F.D.R. down South St. is minimal and the elevated portion of the drive south of the Brooklyn Bridge is grossly underutilized. The claims that an eight-lane South St. would be required to accommodate traffic if the elevated roadway was removed seem exaggerated. Even six lanes would probably be unnecessary between the Brooklyn Bridge and the underpass. Four lanes should be able to handle the traffic in that stretch and if there were drop-off lanes by the Seaport then there would be no problem.

    Additionally, if New York is serious about retaining its place as a great city of the world, then it must address the very real possibility of a future with less traffic, not more. The argument for the necessity of more and larger roads sounds suspiciously like the hyperbolic claims used to advance the ill-fated Westway project in the late ’70s. We now have the more humane and less costly solution to that failed argument, and Manhattan is better and more livable for it.

    There is also something unsettling about the proposition that in order to have a public amenity as critical as a vital shoreline, private financing through jury-rigged towers atop an aging eyesore is the only way. There was a time when we did not feel that important public amenities had to pay their own way or that they were envisioned as extensions of the private sector. When the architect Richard Morris Hunt proposed that Central Park have elaborate entrance gates solely along Fifth Ave. across from the homes of the City’s wealthiest citizens, the park’s designer, Frederick Law Olmsted, quit in protest. It took years for the city to woo him back and his steadfast belief that the park was a gift to the people from the people is his great legacy to us. We should heed his example.

    That the C.P.C. and E.D.C. have undertaken a master plan for the south shore is admirable and long overdue. But it offers little in the short term for the city’s beleaguered Downtown residents who have little parkland to call their own. Even over the life of this plan, there is little nature promised without caveats costly to its integrity as a true public space. Is this a plan for a real shoreline with the promise of parkland, or is it an elaborately masked proposal for more development? This plan seems to offer a vision of the future with very little vision in it.

    Kit White is an artist and designer who restored his building in the South St. Seaport and lives in the neighborhood.

    Downtown Express is published by
    Community Media LLC.

    Email: josh@downtownexpress.com

  4. #34
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    Jane Jacobs argued this point years ago: fewer roads means less traffic. The westside highway was removed, and it didn't kill that area - look at the real estate boom in the far west side now + all the riverfront parkland... NYC is too car-oriented.

  5. #35

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    have you been in LA?

  6. #36

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    February 1, 2005

    Long, Green Pathway Planned Along Brooklyn Waterfront

    By DIANE CARDWELL


    edestrians and cyclists, limited only by their own hamstrings and quadriceps, could one day travel 22 miles along a waterfront greenway from North Brooklyn to Coney Island, under a plan to be unveiled today.

    The vision of strolling or whizzing past bustling parks and quaint row houses or taking in panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, Governors Island and the open sea still faces several hurdles. But as government officials, private businesses and community advocates look to remake the city's waterfronts, the greenway plan, like a 24-speed Specialized Sirrus rolling downhill, is gaining momentum.

    The plan was developed by Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and the Regional Plan Association. It would use a protected pathway and parkland that city planning officials have incorporated in a proposal to rezone the industrial waterfront in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. It would also pass through Brooklyn Bridge Park a joint city-state project.

    The city's Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin construction in the fall of a two-lane bike path running along Columbia and Van Brunt Streets from Cobble Hill into Red Hook.

    And tonight, planners are set to present the first conceptual design for seven miles of pathway that would link South Williamsburg to Sunset Park and an existing path on the Shore Parkway, as well as to Manhattan greenways across Brooklyn's three East River bridges.

    "We saw this as a once-in-a-century opportunity to get continuous public access to the waterfront," Milton Puryear, co-chairman and director of planning at the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, said of the planning effort. "It's a window of opportunity that will close pretty quickly once development gets more momentum."

    The plan, in the works since the late 1990's, grew out of community efforts to create a waterfront path in Red Hook, Mr. Puryear said. Although the proposal dovetails with the city's plan to create 350 miles of bicycle and pedestrian paths through and around the boroughs, it has been complicated by Brooklyn's industrial and postindustrial landscape.

    Property along the waterfront is controlled by several public and private entities, planners said, with property lines frequently running in the midst of the proposed pathway. As a result, planners said, the route at times comes inland, as it does to loop around the Navy Yard, and runs along city streets.

    Still, the greenway has captured the imaginations of residents, business owners and elected officials. Borough President Marty Markowitz, for instance, helped the group secure money from a state waterfront revitalization program for the public planning process.

    Robert Pirani, director of environmental programs at the Regional Plan Association, which completed the technical aspects of the plan, said that the greenway could serve as a powerful magnet to an area whose future is very much up for grabs.

    "All up and down the waterfront, there are proposals for new uses and for maintaining historic maritime uses in a new way," he said. "The harbor as a whole is one of the great region-shaping areas in the metropolitan area." Given the right amenities and access, he said, "The harbor can be a reason that people decide to live and work in New York City instead of the fringes."

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  7. #37
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    Excellent. Some neighborhoods along the way, like Bay Ridge, already have waterfront access. This is a great idea but too long in becoming reality.

  8. #38

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    The Greenway is excellent from Bay Parkway to Owls Head, completely isolated from traffic. But the Bay Ridge neighborhood has poor access to its own waterfront. In the 2 mile stretch north from the Verrazano, there are only a few pedestrian bridges over the Belt Parkway. Too bad, because the entire length of Bay Ridge along the road is parkland.


  9. #39

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    This is good news. Im glad that Manhattan and Brooklyn are seeing the value of their waterfronts.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by ILUVNYC
    This is good news. Im glad that Manhattan and Brooklyn are seeing the value of their waterfronts.
    There are actually a ton of major and minor waterfront development plans all over the city, with most creating new recreation space and housing. It's a major and long overdue shift for the city, but years from now, it will be pretty amazing...I hope.

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  12. #42
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    Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway:

    http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/

  13. #43

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    March 2, 2005

    Along the East River, Everything Old Is to Be Made New Again

    By DAVID W. DUNLAP

    he Bloomberg administration has shown in detail for the first time how it would reconnect Lower Manhattan to the East River waterfront, now a place of skimpy amenities and looming obstacles, chief among them the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive.

    "This crucial link is absolutely essential to the revitalization of Lower Manhattan," said Amanda M. Burden, director of the City Planning Department, which is preparing the East River plan. She is also chairwoman of the City Planning Commission, which was shown the proposals on Monday.

    A new two-mile esplanade and bicycle path - no less than 40 feet wide in most places - would run along the river, linking Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan Island to the East River Park, between the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges. Benches, tables, planters and trellises would line the planked walkway.

    More than a dozen small, boxy pavilions for shopping, recreation, cultural programs and community gatherings would be built under the F.D.R. Drive, each with about 10,000 square feet of space. Some might have facades that could be opened in summer. The elevated highway viaduct would remain, but its underside would get new lighting and cladding to improve its appearance and acoustics.

    The missing Pier 15, south of Fulton Street, would be rebuilt, using a steel truss to permit far greater distance between pilings. The upper surface of the three-quarter-acre deck would be shaped into hillocks and terraces, covered with landscaped plantings. A clam shack might even complete this naturalistic scene, planners said whimsically.

    Public space would be reclaimed in the wide, wedgelike former boat slips along South Street. Now serving as small streets and parking lots, these slips could convey a strong sense of maritime history. Peck Slip, for instance, might have a shallow 4,000-square-foot pool at its center that could be used in winter as a skating rink.

    The most ambitious proposal involves moving the mouth of the Battery Park underpass ramp about 350 feet north, just beyond Broad Street. That would create a one-acre plaza in front of the landmark Battery Maritime Building.

    "The key win is a great public place here," said Michael J. P. Davies of the Richard Rogers Partnership in London, which has been working on the East River plan for almost a year with Ken Smith of Ken Smith Landscape Architect and Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP/Sharples Holden Pasquarelli.

    The latest version of the plan will be shown soon to Community Boards 1 and 3.

    The city expects to ask the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for $150 million to finance the proposals, which Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff said in a brief telephone interview were "definitely achievable."

    Mr. Doctoroff said, "One of Lower Manhattan's competitive advantages is the fact that it's surrounded on three sides by water." Battery Park City and the renovated Battery Park already offer public access on two sides, he said, adding, "We want to complete that."

    Of the city's requested $150 million, $60 million would go to build the esplanade and improve the F.D.R. Drive viaduct, said Raymond Gastil, director of the Manhattan planning office. Rebuilding Pier 15 and renovating Pier 35, Pier 42 and the north side of Pier 17 would cost $40 million. Fourteen pavilions would cost a total of $30 million, and reclaiming the slips would cost $10 million. The city is not seeking the $65 million needed to move the underpass entrance, but will look for $10 million to pay for the engineering studies.

    It is unclear how much the city can expect. "There are a vast number of demands on the L.M.D.C.'s limited remaining funds," said Joanna Rose, a spokeswoman for the development corporation, "and the demands being made by the city alone exceed available monies. Our first priority remains the creation of a fitting memorial."

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

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    March 11 - 17, 2005
    www.downtownexpress.com

    Board likes East River plan changes

    By Ronda Kaysen
    Ronda@downtownexprss.com


    After half a century of floating plans for the East River waterfront, it looks like the Bloomberg Administration may have finally sunk anchor with Community Board 1. The Department of City Planning unveiled detailed plans to redevelop the waterfront at a Monday night C.B. 1 meeting, to the delight of many board members.

    “It is safe to say that we are very enthusiastic about this plan,” Waterfront Committee chairperson Linda Roche said at the joint Waterfront-Financial District Committee meeting. “Especially the Battery Maritime Building.”

    Perhaps the most dramatic — and well-received change — is to the Battery Maritime Building. The plan calls for moving the mouth of the Battery Park underpass ramp about 350 feet north to Broad St. Moving the ramp away from the Maritime Building would create three-quarters of an acre of open plaza space — a scarce resource on Downtown’s East Side.

    City Planning has decided to seek separate transportation funding for the Maritime Building component of the project, although Rachaele Raynoff, a spokesperson for the department, declined to site specific funding sources in an interview with Downtown Express.

    Roche and other C.B. 1 members had been concerned that too much money in the project’s first phase would be devoted to connecting the bike path with the West Side at the Battery Maritime Building rather than improving the East River esplanade itself.

    “This is a crucial plan to strengthen Lower Manhattan,” City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said at the meeting. “The East River waterfront is one of the most essential waterfronts in the city.”

    The design also includes as many as 15 pavilions under the F.D.R. Drive, which would be used for shops, community and cultural programs and recreation centers. In an effort to transform the highway viaduct into something other than an eyesore, the plans would include adding lighting and cladding.

    The demolished Pier 15 would be restored using sparsely placed pilings to better protect marine life. The pier would have an upper and lower deck, with a landscaped, sloped terrace above and space for boats to moor below.

    “We would like to rethink the way we build piers,” Michael Samuelian, director of Lower Manhattan special projects for City Planning said at the meeting.

    In a marked change from the October proposal, the residential towers proposed to sit atop the F.D.R. Drive are now gone from the renderings and the plans. But a reflecting pool on Peck Slip, which could be used as a mini ice-skating rink in the wintertime — and was originally met with skepticism by board members — still remains.




    Pier 15 near the South Street Seaport would be rebuilt into park space that would also accommodate ships under the city’s plan for the East River waterfront, above and below.



    Rendering of the proposal for the East River esplanade.





    Renderings by ShoP/Richard Rogers Partnership/Ken Smith Landscape Architect


    Last edited by NYatKNIGHT; March 15th, 2005 at 01:18 PM.

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