By Jon Schuppe
MANHATTAN — After dropping an ambitious plan to rezone an industrial section of Inwood along the Harlem River, the city is moving ahead with more modest proposals to make the area safer and more attractive.
The improvements target an inlet known as Sherman Creek, which stretches from Dyckman Street to West 207th Street. The goal, officials say, is to reclaim the waterfront and give people easy access to the river.
The first step in that effort was the construction of several small parks where side streets ended along the river.
Now, the Economic Development Corporation is developing a plan for a broader “waterfront esplanade” that builds on the parks by making it easier for pedestrians and bikers to visit.
At the same time, the Department of Transportation is studying ways to improve safety at several busy intersections — perhaps, officials say, making way for a “Dyckman greenway” that will allow link bicycle paths that run along Manhattan’s east and west shores.
As it stands now, Sherman Creek is a crumbling, rusting, hodge podge of warehouses, auto shops, apartment buildings and small retail stores. In 2004, the Department of City Planning tried to engineer a re-zoning of the area to tone down the manufacturing and encourage more residential development. But those plans were dropped after no one could agree on how to do it. One sticking point was how much residential development to set aside for low-income tenants.
“The goals of the community, the constraints of the site and good planning practices were at odds,” said Rachaele Raynoff, a planning department spokeswoman. “So the city decided to proceed on the open space at the water’s edge.”
The EDC and DOT have been visiting Community Board 12 committees in recent weeks to outline their plans and to solicit public input. Those discussions are expected to continue this year, culminating with a formal set of plans by fall.