NEW SPRINGVILLE — A 3.3-mile path for bicycles and pedestrians that runs alongside the busy Richmond Avenue opened on Monday.
The $10.4 million greenway, part of the development of Freshkills Park, has a 10- to 12-foot wide path that gives cyclists and pedestrians an off-street route near the Staten Island Mall and connects the bike-lane on Arlene Street to the Louterette Park Bike Path.
"As someone who grew up within visual sight of the Staten Island landfill, and you could see the birds pecking away and the dump trucks and the earth mover moving garbage, it's phenomenal," said Councilman-elect Joe Borelli.
"This is really going to be the epicenter of biking and occasional running on Staten Island."
The path, which started to be built in June 2014, has several benches along the route that faces the still under construction Freshkills Park.
"The greenway is the best poster for what's coming," said Eloise Hirsch, Freshkills Park's administrator.
The greenway was funded by a $7.8 million Federal Highway Administration grant and an additional $2.4 million from the mayor's office.
The Parks Department plans to connect it to a bike lane on Arthur Kill Road.
"It provides critical, safe linkages between the North and South shores of Staten Island," said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.
"Thanks to this project, Staten Islanders now have another way to get fit and stay healthy."
Aside from the greenway, the city reconstructed sidewalks along the route, built drainage systems and installed bioswales to help manage stormwater.