Administration Will Prioritize Lower-Income Communities That Lack Access to Affordable Transportation and Job Opportunities for New Greenways
Plan Will Envision New Green Spaces, Enhance Quality of Life, and Improve Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Along With Waterfront Access
Grant Builds on Mayor Adams’ Nearly $50 Million Investment in Central Queens and Southwest Brooklyn Greenway Projects
New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city has received a $7.25 million federal grant to plan for a major expansion of the greenway network across the five boroughs, with a focus on historically underserved, lower-income communities that lack access to affordable transportation and job opportunities. The funding comes from a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant and will be used to develop a comprehensive vision plan to fill critical gaps in the city’s greenway network, improve cyclist and pedestrian safety with improved infrastructure, and enhance quality of life with green transportation options and greater waterfront access. The grant application was prepared by the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), the New York City Parks Department (NYC Parks), and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).
“All New Yorkers deserve access to our beautiful greenways, and we’re making that happen thanks to millions in federal funding,” said Mayor Adams. “This grant will help us do the necessary planning to make the city greener and more bike-friendly in the communities that most need that infrastructure. Thank you to USDOT, Senator Schumer, and all our partners in New York and Washington for helping to ‘Get Stuff Done’ for New Yorkers.”
“Thank you to the Biden administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation for this major investment as part of the RAISE grant for New York City to plan expanding our greenways, which are vital transportation and recreation spaces for all New Yorkers,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “New York City knows that the federal government is an important partner, as we look to improve our infrastructure for a sustainable, accessible, and equitable future citywide.”
“This funding will help New York City build out our world-class greenway network to support the booming cycling ridership we’ve seen during the pandemic,” said NYCDOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “This administration is committed to delivering these projects equitably across the five boroughs, because every New Yorker deserves access to safe and efficient transportation options that promote their health and the health of our environment. We thank our federal partners at USDOT, our sister agencies, and the advocacy of the Greenways Coalition for all their hard work and collective vision in securing these funds.”
“Greenways provide connections between parks and serve as vital resources for recreation and transportation, and this grant funding will allow us to create the comprehensive plan needed to equitably improve and expand the greenway network citywide,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “We look forward to working with sister agencies, partners, and advocates on this vision plan, as we continue to strengthen connections between neighborhoods and parks and make greenways safer and more inviting for all New Yorkers.”
“We are thrilled to have supported this grant application and thank our federal partners for delivering funding for the first citywide greenway vision plan that will improve equity and quality of life, especially in communities where parks are limited,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “Greenways not only offer New Yorkers a safe path to walk and bike but they also strengthen our economy by connecting New Yorkers to jobs, reducing commute times, and helping to take cars off the roads. We look forward to continuing our planning work with our city partners to create a healthier, greener, and more equitable city.”
With the new funding, NYCDOT, NYC Parks, and NYCEDC will together create the city’s first comprehensive greenway vision plan in 30 years to guide future projects and track cycling growth and related trends. As part of that vision plan, the city will work to identify approximately five planned “Early Action” corridors across the five boroughs — prioritizing low- and moderate-income communities outside of Manhattan — and conduct robust planning studies for each to prepare the projects for funding and implementation. These new corridors would complement NYCDOT’s network of on-street bike lanes and NYC Parks’ public open spaces by dedicating more space to walking and cycling. The vision plan and corridor studies would include robust public engagement processes and would be developed in close collaboration with communities and key stakeholders, including the NYC Greenways Coalition.
The new greenway vision planning process follows a $47.6 million investment by Mayor Adams to complete six projects that will improve existing greenway routes in central Queens and along Brooklyn’s southwest shoreline through NYC Parks’ “Destination: Greenways!” plan. The city is simultaneously working to fill five key gaps in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway in Inwood, Harlem, East Harlem, and East Midtown, representing an investment of over $1 billion. The first of these projects — the East Midtown Greenway, from East 53rd Street to East 61st Street — is expected to be completed in 2023.
“I am proud to help secure this historic and impactful federal RAISE grant funding for New York City to expand the biking and walking greenway network across the five boroughs. This funding will help create new green spaces for pedestrians and cyclists, increase safety, and expand access to affordable transportation in underserved communities,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “This major funding, in tandem with historic wins from the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Law, will drive Mayor Adams’ commitment to expand the greenway network to make New York City safer, cleaner, greener, and more healthy for all.”
“For far too long, low-income communities across New York City have had disproportionate lack of access to affordable public transportation and green spaces,” said U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez. “With this new federal grant, we can continue to expand the greenway network and bring a high quality of life to more New Yorkers in every borough. We want to connect communities, not displace them.”
“Federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support the greenway network expansion is an example of how federal dollars can be used to successfully support state and local projects,” said U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks. “With this grant, we are now able to better plan for a greener quality of life in our city. I applaud Mayor Eric Adams and his administration for prioritizing low-income and underserved communities that often don’t have access to clean, safe green spaces dedicated to activities like walking and cycling.”
“I have long championed expansion of the New York City Greenway network, and I am delighted to help bring this significant level of federal funding and support through the Department of Transportation to move this project closer to the finish line,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “After decades of neglect, communities throughout my district look forward to the development of the Harlem River Greenway to bring new open space, waterfront access, and a renewed seawall to the communities of Upper Manhattan — from East Harlem to Inwood. This grant funding is a win for our community and the families who call New York City home.”
“I’m excited to support Mayor Eric Adams’ announcement on the expansion of the greenway network across the five boroughs. This grant opportunity from USDOT RAISE will help combat major issues communities of color have been facing with real, thoughtful comprehensive solutions,” said New York City Councilmember Amanda Farías. “With this new funding, NYCDOT, NYC Parks, and NYCEDC have the opportunity to now create a greenway vision plan with a 30-year guide for future projects that will create new job pathways, career and wage growth, local green infrastructure investments, safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, and a continued way to move New York City closer to our sustainability goals. As chair of the Committee on Economic Development, I am eager to support and work with our mayor, NYCEDC, and city agencies to see these projects through to improve the lives of many New Yorkers for the years to come.”
“Investing in the city’s greenways is an opportunity to prioritize historically disconnected neighborhoods that have lacked critical open space,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin. “Developing a comprehensive vision plan to improve green spaces and create new corridors in underserved neighborhoods will improve the well-being and quality of life for thousands of New Yorkers.”
“The 20-plus miles of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway that exist today are the product of planning groundwork that was laid out more than a decade ago,” said Remy Schwartz, deputy director, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative. “Now as we work towards the vision of a 400-mile citywide greenway network, funds from the USDOT will enable city agencies to lay the foundation for a greenway system that connects and equitably serves residents from all five boroughs. Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and the NYC Greenways Coalition are proud of the advocacy and outreach support we provided to help New York City win these critical planning funds.”
“If we want greenways along the Bronx side of the Harlem River, in Southeastern Queens, along the Queens north shore waterfront, connecting Eastern Parkway to Highland Park and much, much more, they need to start with planning,” said Jon Orcutt, advocacy director, Bike New York. “The city now has dedicated resources for a new set of right-of-way plans. Seven million dollars in federal funding will ultimately unlock far more resources for implementation. We’re grateful to Mayor Adams, NYCDOT, and Senator Schumer for developing this program and taking it across the line in Washington.”
“Federal funding for New York City’s greenway network will allow our city to connect neighborhoods, build on the bike boom, and give more New Yorkers access to sustainable transportation options,” said Danny Harris, executive director, Transportation Alternatives. “Today’s announcement is an important step toward creating a city where all New Yorkers have green, efficient, and healthy ways to get around.”
“We applaud USDOT’s investment in a major expansion of the greenway network across New York City. Focusing these investments in underserved communities is critical to increasing quality of life for New Yorkers — especially in neighborhoods where parks needs have been neglected for decades,” said Adam Ganser, executive director, New Yorkers for Parks. “We’re excited to work with NYCDOT, NYC Parks, NYCEDC, and the NYC Greenways Coalition to build this vision and then turn it into a reality for New Yorkers.”
“Trust for Public Land applauds Mayor Adams and his parks, transportation, and economic development teams for obtaining this grant and launching a transformational buildout of New York City’s zero-carbon transportation network,” said Carter Strickland, vice president, Mid-Atlantic region, and New York state director, Trust for Public Land. “A connected greenway network that reaches all neighborhoods will make our city truly equitable and resilient with safe routes to walk and cycle to parks, schools, and jobs.”
“We’re very happy to have supported the city’s RAISE grant application and are thrilled that USDOT has awarded these funds for planning expansion of our greenway network,” said Eric McClure, executive director, StreetsPAC. “Greenways can be a great equalizer in access to recreational opportunities and open space and help form the backbone of a more robust active-transportation network. We’re excited to see that the ‘Early Action’ corridors will prioritize underserved communities, and as a member of the NYC Greenways Coalition, we look forward to the results.”
“This funding has the potential to be truly transformative,” said Chelsea Dowell, director of communications, Open Plans. “We know that safe cycling, walking and public space promotes physical and mental health – it even saves lives. But the city’s current greenway system is inadequate, inequitable and in disrepair. We celebrate this step forward and the investment in underserved neighborhoods; this access should be universal.”
“The RAISE grant support for greenway planning will be a game-changer for the biking and walking experience in New York, raising the quality of life locally, and making the city even more of a destination for people exploring the East Coast Greenway’s Maine-to-Florida route,” said Dennis Markatos-Soriano, executive director, East Coast Greenway.
“Bronx Council for Environmental Quality celebrates the NYCDOT RAISE grant as a huge down payment on environmental equity,” said Robert Fanuzzi, president, Bronx Council for Environmental Quality. “We advocate for a continuous greenway from Van Cortlandt Park to Randall’s Island along the Bronx side of the Harlem River — still a huge gap in the city’s greenway system. With the support, guidance, and contributions of communities in need, the NYCDOT RAISE grant can finally bring long-overdue environmental and recreational benefits of a waterfront greenway to the west and south Bronx.”
“The Harlem River Working Group thanks Senator Schumer and Representatives Espaillat and Torres for their support of the NYCDOT RAISE grant,” said Chauncy Young, coordinator, Harlem River Working Group. “With this funding, New York City can finally begin to develop a comprehensive greenway that includes all the boroughs, addressing decades of inequitable greenway and bicycle infrastructure development. We look forward to the new greenway plan to include a Harlem River Greenway in both the Bronx and Manhattan and a true greenway network for the city that connects each of boroughs to the Empire State Trail and with the Tristate Greenway networks.”
“Bike South Brooklyn is pleased that the federal government is investing $7.25 million in order to plan for greenway improvements in New York City,” said John Tomac, president, Bike South Brooklyn. “Hopefully, this is the first step in finally closing the greenway gap through Coney Island and creating a safe connection from the boardwalk to the rest of the city’s network of bike lanes.”
“The Eastern Queens Greenway has been advocating for a network of family-safe connected paths for the past 10 years,” said John Kelly, Eastern Queens Greenway. “We are overjoyed at the support in the RAISE grant from the federal government, Mayor Adams, NYC Parks, and our local politicians, who are all dedicated to building the infrastructure that connects our communities. Everyone should have a safe, easy journey to and through their parks.”
“We are excited about the RAISE grant allocation for climate resiliency and environmental projects in New York City,” said Jean Kim, executive director, Friends of East River Esplanade Conservancy. “As the executive director of Friends of the East River Esplanade, speaking on behalf of underrepresented neighborhoods like East Harlem, we have been advocating for a long time for repairs to the crumbling infrastructure that creates limited to no access to the waterfront for many residents. We hope these funds will begin to address the lack of safe green space for families and children in these communities.”
New York City Economic Development Corporation is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that creates shared prosperity across New York City by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. We work with and for communities to bring emerging industries to New York City; develop spaces and facilities for businesses; empower New Yorkers through training and skill-building; and invest in sustainable and innovative projects that make the city a great place to live and work. To learn more about what we do, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.