U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman José Serrano and Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded the City of New York with $10 million in federal funds that will go towards finishing the construction of the final link needed to connect thousands of South Bronx residents to the Bronx River Greenway. According to the New York City Department of Transportation, the federal funding will go towards construction of two bicycle/pedestrian bridges and approximately 0.75 miles of pathway between Concrete Plant and Starlight Parks. New York City says this is the final link to complete eight miles of bicycle and pedestrian trail connecting major employment centers, educational and tourist destinations. The officials explained that completion of this project will provide a non-motorized transportation network that promotes sustainability and healthy transportation options for South Bronx neighborhoods. The City of New York will receive these funds through the USDOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant Program—one of the most competitive federal grant programs.
“A tree may grow in Brooklyn, but today a beautiful new bike and pedestrian path along the Bronx River will grow in the Bronx. Where once there was just a forgotten and polluted and garbage-strewn waterway, now there will be a path that brings walkers, joggers, bikers and wanderers to and from many parts of the Bronx and all the wonderful things it has to offer. The transformative Bronx River Greenway allows Bronx residents to more easily travel, by bike or by foot, to numerous employment centers, educational centers and recreational centers in the Bronx. This $10 million federal investment will help make sure the project is completed and will help spur the local economy, attract tourists and create an enhanced quality of life for residents both old and new, and so I am pleased that the Department of Transportation has provided this TIGER grant,” said Senator Schumer.
“This critical funding through the Department of Transportation will help improve pedestrian access to one of the community’s greatest investments, the Bronx River Greenway, by constructing the final link needed to connect thousands of South Bronx residents to the greenway,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I previously wrote to the Secretary of Transportation to fund this project because this link is essential to making the Bronx River Greenway a truly viable non-motorized transportation network that promotes sustainability and healthy transportation options for South Bronx neighborhoods, which have historically been deprived of open space, bicycle and pedestrian trails, and waterfront access.”
“As a longtime champion of efforts to green the South Bronx and restore the Bronx River, I am thrilled to see this project take another important step. These two pedestrian/bicycle bridges and a nearly a mile-long pedestrian trail will close an gap in the Bronx River Greenway and will help connect thousands of South Bronx residents to the Bronx River Greenway. With these new bridges and trails, local residents will have a more direct access to the beautiful green open spaces of the Bronx, as well as other recreational areas and facilities, educational resources, and employment centers –helping Bronxites enjoy a better quality of life. It will also help spur local economic development by helping attract visitors and tourists to the Bronx. I thank the U.S. Department of Transportation for heeding our call to fund this important project and for allocating such a generous amount of financial resources in TIGER grants,” said Congressman Serrano, who sent a letter and called Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to ask him to allocate funding for the project, and who has previously directed more than $37 million in federal funding to create and expand the Bronx River Greenway as a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
“The Bronx River Greenway provides residents with vital access to green space and safe, easy travel across the borough,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Thanks to this new funding, we’ll be able to complete the Greenway — connecting thousands in the South Bronx with jobs, education, recreation, and much more.”
According to the City of New York, construction of the Bronx River Greenway creates 222 jobs and improves safety, provides increased property value and provides health benefits in the Bronx. New York City also said the Bronx River Greenway will better connect residents to currently isolated parks and turn them into a viable network for travel so that residents can better reach centers of employment, educational centers, parks and tourist destinations by bicycle or by walking. According to New York City, Bronx residents can use the greenway path to travel to Hunts Point Terminal Market, Montefiore Medical Center, the Hutchinson Metro Center, Fordham University, Lehman College, Mercy College, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden.
The TIGER Discretionary Grant program provides an opportunity for DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives. In each round of TIGER, DOT receives many applications to build and repair critical pieces of freight and passenger transportation networks. This TIGER funding leverages other investments in the Greenway, and will supplement the $4.4 million in Sandy Recovery remediation funds designated for this ¾ mile link.