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UES Residents Want Benches, Painted Lanes at Esplanade's John Finley Walk

By Shaye Weaver | July 19, 2016 3:45pm
 John Finley Walk is in need of improvements, from new plantings to benches and lighting, according to a resident survey by Civitas.
John Finley Walk is in need of improvements, from new plantings to benches and lighting, according to a resident survey by Civitas.
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DNAinfo/Shaye Weaver

YORKVILLE — The East River Esplanade's John Finley Walk is barren. The 792-foot walkway has no benches, flowers or trees and its concrete is cracked — a stark contrast to the leafy, benched stretch to the north of it at Carl Schurz Park.

That's why Civitas, an East Harlem and Upper East Side community group, is working to make it just as pleasing to stroll on as the rest of the esplanade.

With possible funding from the city, the group envisions new benches near the railing by the water, new plantings, painted lanes for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, the removal of black iron gates at its northern entrance and taking away or fixing up an overhead structure being used by the Brearley School.

Their suggestions are based on a survey it did in May and June of residents who live between East 81st and East 84th streets, covering issues of access, seating, plantings, lanes, lighting and structure, the nonprofit's officials said.

► READ MORE: City Mum on Status of Stalled 81st Street Pedestrian Bridge, Locals Say

Renderings of the first phase of proposals show new zone graphics to help the walk's users to stay to the right side whether biking or walking, potted plants and better lighting.

Civitas/Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects

Civitas/Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects

Civitas is working with City Councilman Ben Kallos, who is the co-chair of the East River Esplanade Task Force, to get funding from the city, both the Parks Department and the Department of Transportation, they said.

"We are rebuilding the East River Esplanade brick by brick and dollar by dollar to connect 60th street to 125th street in one seamless park," Kallos said in a statement on July 11. "John Finley Walk from 81st street to 84th will receive the attention it needs to go from roadway to greenway."

The Parks Department nor the DOT immediately returned requests for comment on Tuesday.

This effort is park of Civitas's Reimagining the Waterfront initiative to revision the esplanade, including focus on projects like the restoration of Pier 107 in East Harlem and Rockefeller University's renovation of the waterfront from 64th to 68th streets.

Civitas did not immediately return requests for comment.