FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CAPITAL PROJECT UPDATE: ROOSEVELT ISLAND HELIX/EASTERN ESPLANADE BIKING INITIATIVE
RIOC PROVIDES UPDATES ON ONGOING CAPITAL PROJECTS RELATED TO BIKING INFRASTRUCTURE ON ROOSEVELT ISLAND
- PRESIDENT & CEO SHELTON J. HAYNES PROVIDES UPDATES ON ONGOING CAPITAL PROJECTS RELATED TO BIKING INFRASTRUCTURE ON ROOSEVELT ISLAND
- GRANT FUNDING FOR HELIX BIKE RAMP PROCURED IN DECEMBER 2022
- NEW EAST ESPLANADE BIKE LANES IN PLANNING PHASE
ROOSEVELT ISLAND, NY – April 4, 2023 –Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) President & CEO Shelton J. Haynes today announced updates on the Helix/Eastern Esplanade Biking Initiative, a combination of two major capital projects designed to increase biking infrastructure and cyclists’ safety entering and traveling the island’s eastern coast. The Initiative is part of RIOC’s continuing efforts to promote safety and to prioritize the long-term sustainability of the island for residents and visitors.
The first project—a bike ramp dedicated to cyclists that runs within the vehicular helix ramp connecting Roosevelt Island Bridge to the island—was awarded $2.96 million in funding by the New York State Department of Transportation after design configurations were approved by the agency back in December 2022.
There are already separated bike lanes across the Roosevelt Island Bridge (city owned) that connect to a two-way separated bike lane on Vernon Boulevard in Queens. However, the helix connecting the Roosevelt Island Bridge to Main Street has no bicycle infrastructure, forcing cyclists to share the road with automobiles. Cyclists entering Roosevelt Island from the bridge often ignore signs directing them to an alternate, safer travel route through the parking garage, instead opting to share the road with limited vision, narrow lanes and a steep curve. The proposed bike ramp will address safety concerns for cyclists and other micro-mobility travelers by connecting the elevated concrete Helix platform to an entry and exit level on the eastern service road of Roosevelt Island.
Connecting to this new helix bike ramp will be the second major project, a southbound bicycle lane within the limits of the east esplanade and/or the east esplanade and eastern service road. Currently, there are separate bike lanes on the Roosevelt Island Bridge, which will be extended down to the ground level through the helix ramp. But there are no existing bike lanes to connect with the ramp on the island’s eastern esplanade once the ramp is completed. The development of brand-new eastern access bike lanes will thus fully connect cyclists on the island to mainland Queens, and ultimately drive greater public engagement to the East waterfront.
“People want to enjoy the one-of-a-kind beauty our island has to offer recreationally, and biking is one of the more popular ways to do so,” said RIOC President & CEO Shelton Haynes. “Island residents and visitors alike already make great use of our 3 Citibike stations and dedicated bike lanes around Cornell Tech. But further improving our biking infrastructure along the Eastern Esplanade has the potential to be truly transformative for island travelers. It could lead to greater utilization of micro-mobility travel options; reduce carbon emissions; create safer, faster pathways for cyclists; further reduce congestion on Main Street; and improve overall rider safety, all things critical to our island’s future. Moving forward, with the funding for the bike ramp now secured, we will continue to focus on finishing the planning for the Eastern Esplanade bike lane and we hope to get the green light for that funding stream sometime in 2024.”
“RIOC is committed to pursuing capital projects that improve quality of life and island infrastructure for residents and visitors alike,” said Prince Shah, Director of Capital Planning & Projects for RIOC. “The helix bike ramp and Eastern Esplanade bike lane are two projects we feel will vastly improve island travel and make for an even more enjoyable experience navigating our beautiful island. We will continue to prioritize advancing this major micro-mobility initiative in the coming months.” Pictured: Rendering of proposed Helix Bike Ramp
Construction of both Helix/Eastern Esplanade Biking Initiative projects won’t begin until full grant funding for the bike paths is procured by RIOC. The total cost of the two projects will run an estimated $14.35 million and is to include an estimated $7.96 million in Federal and State grant funding.
Pictured: Proposed Eastern Esplanade Bike Lane (Yellow)