Photos by Max Guliani

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News & Updates

Bikeway Buffer Gets a Much-Needed Grooming


September 23

The “buffer area” between the West Side Highway and the Bikeway is like the front door to Hudson River Park. Thousands of vehicles and countless cyclists traveling our 4-mile stretch zoom past this area every day, and to them, the buffer area plant beds can be their first impression of our beautiful Park.

The buffer area is actually owned by the New York State Department of Transportation, and over the years, it’s suffered a harsh roadside environment, two hurricanes, and the ravages of winter weather. Stockpiled snow, as well as salt spray from de-icing the highway and Bikeway, took a serious toll on these planters. While salt doesn’t change the PH of the soil, it does create soil salinity, which makes it hard for plants to drink up water and burns their foliage. Tenacious weeds, however, thrive in these salty conditions.

Because of that, the Hudson River Park Trust staff reclaimed the planting and continued maintenance of this all-important first impression of the Park. Through volunteer events, and the efforts of our dedicated summer seasonal workers, the curb appeal of the park has improved dramatically. There are hundreds of new, hardy Sumac plants planted in the buffer, particularly in the Greenwich Village section of the park. At median cross-walks in the Village, Nepeta will bloom pops of blue flowers in the summertime. Armed with a weed-barrier fabric and heavily mulched with wood chips, the now lush buffers will only get more beautiful with time.

The Greenwich Village buffer area improvements are expected to be completed by Nov. 1. Then, our staff will move north to the Chelsea section, eventually beautifying the entire 4-mile length of the Bikeway buffer.