Tri-State Transportation Campaign

Steven Higashide, communications associate, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Testimony at East Side Open Space Forum

September 8, 2011

Good afternoon. My name is Steven Higashide; I’m an East Side resident and an urban planner, and I'm here to represent the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a regional transportation watchdog organization. I’m here to outline some of the reasons we support an agreement to fill in the East River Greenway and improve East Side open space.

Adding 20 blocks of riverside esplanade would be a tremendous asset for the East Side in terms of recreation and quality of life. It would also be a boon for transportation. Making it easier to walk and bike along the river would be good for air quality and relieve pressure on crowded streets and public transit. It would go hand-in-hand with the city’s planned bike-share system, the new East River ferry service, and the recent bus, pedestrian, and cycling improvements on First and Second Avenues.

This is also a major coup for open space. When you consider the esplanade, the reclamation of the ConEd Pier, and improvements to other open spaces in the neighborhood, this is a proposal with major benefits. We do think it’s worth examining whether the ConEd Pier at 38th Street can support the types of recreation that take place at Robert Moses Playground today. We sincerely hope stakeholders can work together to make sure these community issues are addressed.

In short, this is a project that fills in gaps both in the transportation network and the recreation network. It would be a big win for the East Side, and also for New York City as a whole. We strongly support a deal that will create a riverside esplanade and improve East Side parks. Thank you.