Existing Randall's Island connector path. The pedestrian and bicycle span will link the South Bronx to the Island's parks and ballfields. The City needed an easement in order to build a path from the bridge to E. 132nd St. on the Bronx side. An agreement was reached last month with Harlem River Yard Ventures according to New York City Economic Development Corp. The land between the bridge and the South Bronx is part of a sprawling 96-acre rail yard owned by the State Department of Transportation but controlled by the private Harlem River Yards Ventures company under a 99 year lease it secured in 1991.
(Photo: New York City Economic Development)
Rendering of the Randall's Island Connector and pedestrian bridge that links the South Bronx and Randall's Island. (Image: New York City Economic Development Corp.)
By Geoffrey Croft
Low Tide - The Bronx Kill. The Randall's Island Connector bridge, which links the South Bronx and Randall's Island was built last year but has yet to open. The project was orginally supposed to be completed in 2010. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on image to enlarge
The quarter-mile Randall's Island Connector is a part of the 1.5 mile South Bronx Greenway, an initiative meant to increase waterfront access in the borough. The Connector will link to a greenway network that stretches from Randall's Island to Astoria, Queens and East Harlem.
The delays isn't the only source of contention on the project. For years South Bronx residents and environmental groups have been pushing for Con Edison to remove its deteriorating concrete conduit (above) located under the bridge. The company has utility cables buried in the structure that spans across the Bronx Kill that blocks human-powered craft including kayaks, canoes and rowing vessels from navigating the waterway.
"A navigable passage through the Bronx Kill is essential for the development of safe recreational boating in New York harbor and ongoing paddling and rowing programs, as well as the NYC Parks Water Trail," a April 30, 2008 letter sent to Mayor Bloomberg and EDC president Seth Pinsky stated.
The eleven signatories on the letter included representatives from numerous boating, park, and environmental organizations.
Last month a Con Edison spokesperson told A Walk In The Park that the Fire Department recently removed its electrical equipment which will pave the way for the structure's removal.
Con Edison's deteriorating concrete conduit is now located under the newly built Randall's Island Connector bridge. In June 2011, Con Edison finally agreed to remove the concrete-encased cables which blocks kayaks and canoes from navigating the Bronx Kill waterway.
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