A new bike and walk path opened to the public this week. It’s the Bronx Park Connector, a part of the Bronx River Greenway, though it doesn’t quite go along the river. Nonetheless it’s a beautiful place and an important facility for bike and walk transportation and recreation.
In the middle of the Bronx River’s 8-mile trajectory through the Bronx, the river runs through the Bronx Zoo and the NY Botanical Garden. These sites are fenced off, hence not entirely suitable for easily publicly-accessible riverside bikeways and walkways, so the Bronx River Greenway paths are located well east of the river between 180th Street and Allerton Avenue. In the past, Greenway cyclists and trail-walkers had to brave busy local streets to get around this area, but now they can use this new path separated from motorized vehicles.
The length of the new facility is just over 9/10ths of a mile. Its southern terminus is at the intersection of 180th Street and Bronx Park Avenue, immediately west of the 180th Street 2 and 5 Subway Station. From there, the trail wends north between the train yards and the zoo. It goes below the Bronx River Parkway viaduct, then across the face of Ranaqua – NYC Parks Department’s Bronx operations headquarters (and home to the offices of the Bronx River Alliance.) At Ranaqua there’s a brief dismount zone, where cyclists are instructed to walk on a sidewalk. The path then continues north along the Bronx River Parkway, connecting into the southeast portion of Bronx Park East, next to the basketball courts and play fields below Boston Road. The northern end of the path is at the intersection of Unionport Road and Bronx Park East (street.)
The new bike path has gone by a few different working names. Though it has been called the "Ranaqua Connection" and "180th Street to Unionport Road," for now it’s being called the "Bronx Park Connector."
The facility is open from dawn to dusk, with gates at 180th Street and at Ranaqua locked before/after those times. The path was designed and built by NYC Parks, who now maintain it. The project, including the path itself, new lighting, signage, landscaping, and more, cost just over $3,000,000. Funding sources were primarily Croton Filtration Funding with additional City capital funds allocated by City Councilmember Joel Rivera.
Though the path is open and in use today, the official ribbon-cutting is tentatively scheduled for Friday August 9th 2013. The Alliance will announce ribbon-cutting details as they become available.
Here are a few photographs of the brand new path: