A long-awaited footpath linking the Bronx to Randall's Island finally opens to the public this weekend. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
It's called the Bronx Kill, a murky waterway maybe 100 feet wide and four feet deep that separates the south Bronx from the ball fields, running paths and track and field stadium on Randall's Island. It's recreation space that is so close, yet inaccessible to tens of thousands of people who live nearby.
"Having access to them is not always the easiest thing to do, and it also can be a little bit dangerous," said bicyclist Andre Rivera. "You have to go over the bridge, the Bronx side of the Triboro bridge. It's kind of steep and crazy and narrow."
By this weekend, though, the Bronx Kill will be a barrier no more. The Randall's Island Connector, a project 10 years in the making, will bridge that gap.
"A long time ago, people came and said there's this beautiful archway underneath the Amtrak trussle. We want to be able to walk right over that pathway and get to Randalls Island," said Kate Van Tassel, vice president of development with the Economic Development Corporation.
That's what happened. That quarter-mile pathway was built with public funding and private help from companies like Con Ed. It crosses over a rail line and the Bronx kill, fulfilling a key part of the South Bronx Greenway master plan to create waterfront access, recreational opportunities, and pedestrian and bike paths in a part of the Bronx where residents suffer from the highest rate of asthma in the state and where greenspace is seriously lacking.
"Our tenants are looking forward to it," said Mike Ruiz, a local business owner. "Now, they're just going to walk across or ride their bicycle across, which is going to be better than, it's going to be convenient, but it's also healthy."
The city is looking forward to more than just locals using the connector. The next phase of the project will post signs directing people to the pathway, which begins on 132nd Street in heavily industrial Port Morris.
The connector officially opens on Saturday, November 14 at 11 a.m. After that, it's accessible during normal Randall's Island park hours, 6 a.m. to midnight.