NEW SPRINGVILLE — The city broke ground Monday on a new 3.3-mile greenway for bicycles and pedestrians that will run along the busy Richmond Avenue.
The New Springville Greenway, part of the development of Freshkills Park, will provide pedestrians and bicycles an off-street route near the Staten Island Mall and connect the bike-lane on Arlene Street to the LaTourette Bike Path, the Parks Department said.
"This place will be an incredible amenity," said Eloise Hirsh, Freshkills Park administrator. "There is a new face to the green side of Richmond Avenue."
The path was funded by a $7.8 million grant by the Federal Highway Administration with matching funds from the city and will make the busy Richmond Avenue safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Borough President James Oddo said that he hopes the new path will encourage Staten Islanders to get out of their cars and get some physical activity.
"An island in motion, that's what we want to emphasize," Oddo said. "We want to get people in motion in this borough anyway we can."
Aside from the path, the city plans to have a wetland overlook deck, drainage systems, bioswales to manage storm water and native plantings to restore natural areas. There will also be benches and bike racks along the route, the Parks Department said.
The greenway also will link to an anticipated bike lane for Arthur Kill Road, and provide a link between the North and South shores of the borough for pedestrians, runners and bicyclists, Parks said.
The project is another addition to the long under-construction former landfill Freshkills Park and aims to be completed by the summer of 2015, the Parks Department said.
"We're developing this place from the outside in," Hirsch said. "In the next three to five years, we'll be seeing more developments."