Apr 20, 2011

New Springfield Greenway: New Commuter Route


I enjoy getting around on a bicycle because they serve both recreational and practical purposes. For recreational, riding for fun or exercise is an end in itself; whereas, for practical reasons, riding is a means to an end. One rides to work, the store, a restaurant, a bar, a baseball game: somewhere nearby where one doesn't want to worry about parking a car or stopping for gas. Another significant difference, however, is safety. Riding for fun through a park is, or ought to be, inherently safe. If someone chooses to ride practically, they deserve that same safety, but oftentimes the threat of heavy motor vehicle traffic is a huge deterrent.

The Parks Department has recently released its plans for the New Springville Greenway, a 3.3 mile off-road path through the new Freshkills Park, which NY1 highlighted in a segment last week. The greenway will begin at Signs Rd, where the Arlene St on-road bike lane leaves off. It will proceed along the eastern edge of the William Davis Wildlife Refuge, along Park Drive, Travis Ave, Draper Place, extending to the intersection of Richmond Ave and Arthur Kill Rd through LaTourette Park.

Regarding the New Springville Greenway, it appears to serve a fine recreational function. Cyclists and pedestrians will have a pleasant, peaceful route through the new Freshkills Park. What I am interested in is how much of a practical purpose it will serve; will it provide convenient passage to the College of Staten Island and the mall? Will it provide students with an easy route to school? Does it connect to other local businesses? Having a bicycle path that is also part of a network, which provides that practical connection to the world outside of a park (and not just on the start- and end-points), is essential because it brings that much more revenue and foot traffic to local businesses and the local economy. It will give students a safe, quick, enjoyable alternative route to school. It is a useful path from point A to Z; it will have the greatest benefit if it will allow access to points B, C, M and S along the way.

Meredith Sladek
Transportation Alternatives Staten Island Volunteer Committee

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