Rep. Maloney to Seek Federal Funding for Waterfront Esplanade along FDR Drive in Midtown

May 25, 2007
Press Release

New York, NY - Today, Congresswoman Maloney (D-Manhattan & Queens) joined with local elected officials and community leaders to announce their support for the construction of a waterfront esplanade on the existing Outerboard Detour Roadway (ODR) between E. 54th and E. 63rd Streets along Manhattan's East River waterfront.  Representative Maloney announced her determination to seek federal funds for the project. 

“Open space in midtown Manhattan is a rare commodity, but the success of this effort will go a long way to making a new waterfront greenway a reality for Manhattan’s East Side,” said Representative Maloney.

Congresswoman Maloney was joined at the event by East Side legislators and community leaders, including State Senator Liz Krueger, who has helped spearhead local efforts to convert the ODR into a greenway; State Assemblymembers Jonathan Bing and Brian Kavanagh; City Councilman Dan Garodnick; Lyle Frank and Toni Carlina, Chair and District Manager of Manhattan Community Board 6, respectively; Charles Buchwald, Secretary of the East Midtown Coalition for Sensible Development (EMCSD), Member of Community Board 6, and 74th Assembly District Democratic District Leader; Edan Unterman, EMCSD President; and Micah Kellner, the 65th Assembly District Democratic State Committeeman. 

"When Pete Grannis, the Commissioner of the State Department of Environmental Conservation, tells you that this esplanade is potentially the most important environmental benefit for New York City, you make the creation of this greenway a priority,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “I hope the City, State and Federal agencies will join together in seizing this golden opportunity to create a shoreline and park space in a community which desperately needs it.  We need to make every avenue to secure the funding to make this work.”  Standing at a vantage point in Sutton Place Park from which the East River was not visible, the Congresswoman gestured to a City sign in Sutton Place Park that denoted “greenway” and “waterfront,” and said, “Hopefully in the near future when you’ll see this sign, there will be a real greenway.”

Last July, Congresswoman Maloney initiated one of the first open discussions about the possibility of using the temporary detour route as an esplanade in a community meeting she held in her District office with local elected officials, representatives from the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the NYC Economic Development Corporation, the NYS Department of Transportation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, and members of Manhattan Community Boards #6 and #8.  Since that July meeting, the City has been holding a series of discussions aimed at determining the feasibility and cost of converting the ODR into a greenway that would help complete the “emerald necklace” of open waterfront space encircling the island of Manhattan.  The City has been meeting with the State and with the Federal agencies whose approval is needed to create the greenway. The City has also decided to absorb the cost of removing the caissons if it is determined that the project is unable to be completed.

Background:

The Outerboard Detour Roadway is a three lane, partially enclosed roadway located along the FDR, over the East River, stretching from 54th Street to 63rd Street. The Roadway was constructed by the New York State Department of Transportation for temporary use during the reconstruction of the FDR and was scheduled to be dismantled last month.  The community has urged the Bloomberg Administration to use the ODR as the basis for a waterfront park, adding much needed public space to a community with the second lowest ratio of open space per capita in Manhattan. Earlier this year, New York City officials informed local elected officials of their request to the NYS Department of Transportation to retain the support structures that anchor the ODR in place while the City continues to explore the possibility of transforming it into a waterfront esplanade.

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