NYCEDC Announces Launch of Construction of Randall's Island Connector Project
Connector Will Provide Critical Transportation Link for Pedestrians and Bicyclists Between the South Bronx and Randall’s Island
Construction is Expected to be Completed in Early 2015
New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the launch of construction of the Randall’s Island Connector Project, a pathway that will connect the South Bronx and Randall’s Island, providing a critical transportation link for pedestrians and bicyclists. The quarter-mile project, which begins at 132nd Street and runs southward under the existing Amtrak trestle, over the Bronx Kill to Randall’s Island, will allow South Bronx residents and visitors to easily access 330 acres of recreational resources at Randall’s Island Park, including sports fields and facilities, restored wetlands, gardens, picnic areas and waterfront bicycle and pedestrian pathways (www.randallsisland.org). The Randall’s Island Connector is a partnership between NYCEDC, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, who will maintain the Connector with the Randall’s Island Park Alliance, and New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT).
“The Randall's Island Connector will provide a critical transportation link between the South Bronx and Randall's Island, allowing residents and visitors to easily take advantage of the many amenities that each has to offer,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “The launch of construction represents a key milestone in a project that will benefit the area and serve the community for years to come.”
“This project provides a vital transportation link between the South Bronx and the extensive recreational amenities on Randall's Island, and advances our citywide goal of ensuring that New Yorkers of all ages can enjoy their waterfront,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “I'd like to thank EDC for their leadership in making our waterfronts greener and more pedestrian-friendly.
” The Connector project, which is expected to be completed in early 2015, includes the construction of the quarter-mile pedestrian and bicycle pathway, lighting, fencing, landscaping and sustainable, stormwater basins. Additionally, the project includes adding decking and railings for the existing utility bridge to be used safely as a pedestrian bridge. This dual-purpose bridge, constructed in 2009 as part of Con Edison’s electric expansion project from the Bronx to Randall’s Island, is the result of a partnership between Con Edison and the City.
"It is so gratifying to see construction start on what seemed like a far-fetched idea when we began work on it years ago,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “I was proud to obtain federal funding for such an important part of the South Bronx Greenway, and to work with the various stakeholders to make this dream a reality. This project has been a challenge, but when that first Bronx child crosses to play at Randall's island, it will all be worth it. I applaud all those involved in the connector and look forward to helping cut the ribbon soon."
“Our communities have long needed access to parks and open space,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales. “The Department of State is proud to fund part of the development of the Randall’s Island Connector project as it will provide residents of the South Bronx with access to recreational resources and waterfront amenities. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State of New York are strong supporters of projects such as this one that promote economic growth and ensure a better quality of life for New Yorkers.”
“The New York State Department of Transportation was happy to expedite the review and approval process for NYCEDC’s Randall’s Island connector project,” said Joe Brown, Regional Director of the New York State Department of Transportation. “We are thrilled that this project received approval for funding from FHWA, and that the communities in the Bronx will benefit from this new access for pedestrians and cyclists.”
"This construction launch is great news for Bronx residents and I am very excited that this long awaited project is moving forward,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The Randall’s Island connector project will give Bronxites the opportunity to walk over the Bronx Kill and enter this outdoor treasure. I have, for the last several years, been working with the Parks Department to develop pathways that will meet at the Randall's Island Connector in anticipation of this project's completion. I look forward to seeing Bronxites take full advantage of the facilities available on Randall’s Island, which will now be just a short walk away.”
"The Connector will provide a long-awaited direct link between the South Bronx and the hundreds of acres of parkland on Randall's Island," said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. "This pedestrian and bicycle pathway will go a long way to improving access to open space and the waterfront for the communities I represent. I thank my colleagues in government and community residents for helping to drive this forward." “We’re pleased for everyone who worked together on this project and happy for pedestrians and bicyclists from the Bronx who will enjoy the new pathway and bridge to Randall’s Island,” said John Banks, Con Edison Vice President of Government Relations. “Bronx residents will have easier access to Randall’s Island, and Con Edison will continue to provide reliable power to the island’s recreational facilities for all to enjoy.”
The Connector project, designed by Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects (MNLA) and HDR, Inc., will utilize green infrastructure and a sustainable stormwater management plan to avoid site impacts to the Bronx Kill and tidal ecosystem. It will provide environmental benefits including a reduced total volume of stormwater runoff, increased infiltration and groundwater recharge and improved water quality.
“We are thrilled to have this new section of the South Bronx Greenway begin construction. The project embodies the principles of green infrastructure and will afford much-needed and easy access to the marvelous recreation facilities on Randall’s Island,” said Signe Nielsen, Principal, MNLA.
In order to achieve this milestone, NYCEDC in September invited contractors to submit bids to complete the work, and also facilitated on behalf of the City the acquisition of easements from the adjacent private property owners, Harlem River Yard Ventures, Dow Jones & Company and the New York Post, with consent from the underlying property owner, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT).
“This is an important project for the Bronx, and for New York City," said Kenneth Chiarella, Vice President, Operations and Labor Relations, Dow Jones and Company Inc. "Today's launch of construction announcement is the first step in giving youth access to more parks, and we are honored to have been part of this with the EDC. We look forward to the Connector's opening.”
“We are delighted that the Communities in the Bronx will soon have a Gateway to the recreational and cultural treasures offered by Randall's Island.” said Tony Riccio, Senior Vice President, Harlem River Yard Ventures, Inc.
The launch of construction brings to fruition the last of five key projects that comprise Phase I of theSouth Bronx Greenway master plan, unveiled by Mayor Bloomberg in November 2006. Previous projects of the master plan include Hunts Point Landing, the Lafayette Avenue Streetscape, the Hunts Point Avenue Streetscape and Food Center Drive. When fully completed, the Greenway will encompass 1.5 miles of waterfront land, 8.5 miles of inland green streets and nearly 12 acres of new waterfront open space throughout Hunts Point and Port Morris.
The five Phase I projects of the South Bronx Greenway master plan, which represent a $48 million total investment, have been funded by City, State, and Federal sources including City capital, Congressman Serrano, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo, Council Members Maria del Carmen Arroyo and Melissa Mark-Viverito, the New York State Department of State with funds provided under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund, NYSDOT Transportation Enhancement Program, the Wildlife Conservation Society- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) South Bronx Waterfront Partnership, a Federal Department of Transportation Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) planning grant, the Iroquois Gas Transmission System, L.P., Con Edison, Sustainable South Bronx and THE POINT Community Development Corporation.
“THE POINT Community Development Corporation is thrilled to see this long awaited collective vision be realized as one of the key projects of the South Bronx Greenway,” said Kellie Terry-Sepulveda and Maria Torres of THE POINT Community Development Corporation. “The Randall’s Island Connector is so perfectly named as it will do just that, connect Bronx communities, thousands of families, to the wonderful resource that is Randall’s Island, a resource that for far too long has been so close yet out of reach for the South Bronx. We thank our elected officials, NYCEDC, Con Edison and of course our community for working to create a Bronx that is growing stronger with truly sustainable projects like the Randall’s Island Connector and the South Bronx Greenway each and every day.”
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.