2/17/2013

East River Blueway Plan; NYC


The East River Greenway will finally receive the renovation New Yorker's have been waiting years for. The greenway is located on a narrow stretch of land squeezed between the FDR Drive to the West and the river to the East.  There are a few scattered public parks connected by a path that has been weathered and torn apart over the years.  The proposed "Blueway" is a collaboration between Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Community Boards 3 and 6, State Assembly member Brian Kavanaugh, and New York design firm WXY architecture and urban design.  WXY takes suggestions from the general public to develop a scheme that works within the framework of the existing Greenway and provides specific sites waterfront access, development of wetlands and greater connectivity to the city and its waterways.



WXY has developed site-specific strategies along the length of the East River segment. By pooling information from the community, draft plans and schematic designs have been developed to revise some of the existing infrastructure in more conscious ways. WXY's design introduces greening portions of the hardscape elements under the overpasses to soften its appearance and provide storm water and flood management.  The plans also propose developing wetlands that can work to buffer against future storm surges. Wetlands can provide habitats for wildlife, sites for ecological restoration and environmental learning centers.

Communities along the East River want to expand their access to the waterfront with boat launches, an eco-dock, facilities for environmental educations and ecological restoration projects, ferry access, restaurants and cafes, and fish cleaning facilities.  A natural beach has also attracted some attention to develop nesting grounds for wildlife.  The firm has also had to develop new access points to the water front, which include more bus stops, bike paths, safer pedestrian crossings, and additional pedestrian bridges that are ADA accessible.  The East River Blueway Plan is also coordinating with plans north and south of its focus to push for a more seamless experience along the river, closing the dead zone  gap between 38th and 59th Streets.  A competition has been organized seeking design solutions for that portion.