Throughout the Park’s four miles, the landscaped medians and buffers that separate the West Side Highway from the Hudson River Greenway offer visitors their first glimpse of Hudson River Park greenery. Beyond their immediate visual appeal, these roadside features offer important environmental buffers for both the Park and the neighborhoods it serves.
In October of 2017, Governor Cuomo announced the award of Department of Environmental Conservation grants to Urban Forestry projects across the state—including $75,000 for planting trees in Hudson River Park’s bikeway buffers. Funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund, these grants are part of New York’s ongoing initiatives to address invasive species, climate change and environmental justice.
During spring of 2018, this grant enabled us to install more than 50 new trees in various sections of buffers from 22 Street to 55 Street—including crabapple, gingko and honey locust. We sourced and purchased all of these new trees from nurseries in New York State, beautifying our bikeway and keeping our tax dollars within the state economy. By the end of the grant term, we estimate that we will be able to install 150 trees in total—a substantial improvement for these buffers.
In addition to providing ample shade for the nation’s most heavily utilized bikeway, these trees contribute substantial environmental benefits. Their presence helps to prevent air pollution from the West Side Highway from entering the Park, cools the roadway and surrounding areas, helps to reduce the energy consumed by air conditioned cars and nearby buildings and aids in controlling storm water runoff, keeping pollutants out of the Hudson River. The installation and maintenance of these new trees also engages the community through our Friends Volunteer Program, promoting conservation, stewardship and community service.
We’re always looking for ways to build a greener and more sustainable west side and are excited to see the beauty and environmental impact our newest trees contribute to the Park! Next time you cross the highway to enter the Park or ride along the Hudson River Greenway, we hope you will take an extra moment to appreciate these newly beautified and welcoming planted buffers and medians!