UPPER WEST SIDE — A pathway along the Hudson River in Riverside Park needs lights and re-paving in order to make it safe for park users, local leaders and a Parks Department official said.
The Cherry Walk, a narrow walking and biking path next to the river that's named for the cherry trees that blossom along it, needs a $5 million renovation to make it safe, they said.
"We’ve had more and more cyclists and runners who use the Cherry Walk. It’s not safe," said board member Klari Neuwelt.
The Parks Department supports the board's quest to improve this stretch of the park, but doesn't have the funding yet, said Parks Department Landscape Architect Margaret Bracken.
"Lighting is a major factor," said Bracken, but so is the state of the path.
"It’s been damaged by [Hurricane] Sandy. We know we need to do something significantly more substantial [than just install lighting,]" she said.
It makes the most sense to tackle both the erosion and pavement damage and the lighting in one project, Bracken said.
The board and the Parks Department are hosting an information session at the board's office Wednesday to share the situation with elected officials and try to get them to contribute funding to the cause.
"We’ve chosen to do this to really make it happen sooner than later," said Neuwelt, who added that this has been a top priority for board members for at least a couple years now.
As part of City Councilmember Mark Levine's participatory budgeting process, in which constituents decide how to spend $1 million in council funding, the Cherry Walk renovation project has been nominated for a small grant, Coughlin said.
If the project wins — only a handful of nominated projects get enough votes to get funded — the $150,000 grant will pay for reflective strips for the path to help light it, he said.
The strips would be an interim safety measure while the board pushes for the larger restoration project, Coughlin said.