Bronx Residents Deserve Safe Access to the Harlem River Waterfront

OPINION
by John Montoute

Bike life is good. I have ridden bikes as my main source of transportation for years. I have ridden bikes in different states, and to date, the best bike paths are in NYC.  

I love the Bronx and in the Bronx we ride bikes, however, I am sad to say that my favorite greenway is not in the Bronx, but instead in Manhattan along the west side highway. I often ride the west side greenway to enjoy miles of uninterrupted green space along the river. There really is no better way to achieve mental, physical, and spiritual wellness than to be out on your bike riding along the river. 

I am a resident of Morris Heights. The High Bridge and its surrounding streets and greenways are used by family and friends for recreation and transportation. I biked Sedgwick Avenue as my main thoroughfare commuting to and from work for years. It was always a little dangerous, but it was my best option to get from 149th Street back to my home. It is also the only way to access the Harlem River and Bridge Park along the water.  

Over the last couple of years my son has gotten big enough to start riding with me. We have ridden across the High Bridge into Manhattan and even across the George Washington Bridge. However, I haven’t taken him down Sedgwick because it’s too dangerous.

Pedestrian access to Bridge Park along the Harlem River in the Highbridge neighborhood of The Bronx is less than stellar

Now with all of the construction that’s occurring in relation to the new on and off ramps with the Deegan Expressway, if a designated bike lane is not constructed that area will be too dangerous for us to ever ride. It’s not fair to people walking and outdoor enthusiasts in the Bronx to not have access to a Greenway so close to the river.

All over New York City and New York State greenways are being expanded and used. We should be increasing access to greenways not taking access away from using them. Additionally, we should be encouraging more people to bike because I guarantee it will lead to a happier and healthier NYC. 

For the sake of my son, our family, and the thousands of Bronx families that deserve safe access to the Harlem River Waterfront, Bridge Park and our newly renovated Roberto Clemente State Park, I urge the NYS Department of Transportation to put people before parking and provide safe access to the Harlem River Waterfront Greenway.

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