Project of the Month November '01
RANDALLS ISLAND - ELEVATED BOARDWALK
R.G.ROESCH, P.C.,: Landscape Architects
LAWRENCE MAURO: Consultant Project Manager
Funding: This project is funded by Federal STP funds which were matched by Councilmember Vallone. The total budget is $1,571,000.
Location: The project is located at the Little Hell Gate inlet. It is within Council District #22 and Community Board #11.
Site Background Little Hell Gate Cove is the only remnant of the body of water that once separated Randall's Island and Wards Island. Construction debris and landfill were dumped into the tidal waters during the middle part of the Twentieth Century. To mitigate the impacts of filling operations at Little Hell Gate Cove, NYC DPR has embarked on a program of reconstructing tidal wetlands at Powell's Cove in Queens, New York.
Estimated Construction Start: Winter, 2001, with a contract duration of 270 days.
R G Roesch Architecture & Landscape Architecture, P.C was commissioned in 1995 to study bicycle and pedestrian access to Randall's and Wards Island Park from each of the three adjacent boroughs, Manhattan, Bronx, and Queens. As part of that study, R G Roesch A&LA, P.C. developed a conceptual plan for a perimeter system of walkways and trails to serve pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians. A crucial link in the proposed perimeter trail system is an elevated boardwalk that will connect the northern portion of Wards Island across Little Hell Gate Cove to the southern edge of Randall's Island near Downing Stadium. The boardwalk will serve pedestrians only. The proposed alignment for the boardwalk is roughly parallel with the new permanent connecting roadway and is intended to complement the roadway, which accommodates primarily vehicular traffic and bicyclists. Together with the new roadway, the Little Hell Gate Cove Elevated Boardwalk will be the first elements of a new circulation system that will eventually connect all portions of Randall's and Wards Island Park.
Inadequate public access to Randall's and Wards Islands is the principal reason for the limited use of more than 300 acres of parkland. As well as serving as a vital link in the new island pedestrian circulation system, a significant goal of this project is to foster increased use of Little Hell Gate Cove. The boardwalk is intended to encourage greater public use of the cove for a variety of water borne recreational activities such as fishing and bird watching. The site also has wonderful educational possibilities and the project design will include interpretive graphics and text describing the natural resources and restorative aspects of the adjacent landscape. Several interpretive panels will describe existing plant and animal life on the peninsula and the implications and environmental effects of years of dumping.
In addition, this new structure will increase the utilization of existing resources. Manhattan Community Board 11 is considering permanently closing the existing 103rd Street Pedestrian Bridge over the Harlem River to Wards Island due to community concerns regarding the safety of pedestrians traveling to and from Wards and Randall's Islands. The proposed boardwalk at Little Hell Gate Cove is an important element in the effort to promote safe pedestrian access from Manhattan via the 103rd Street Pedestrian Bridge to Downing Stadium and the many other resources of Randall's and Wards Islands by providing a more direct pedestrian circulation route that is visible, accessible, well lighted and well traveled.