The community visioning process, conducted with the technical assistance of Pratt Center for Community Development and a participatory planning studio at Pratt Institute’s PSPD, combined studies and projects previously developed by MIT and Columbia University students, the NYC Economic Development Corporation, and others into a preliminary plan. A set of common recommendations emerged from these sessions, including: a continuous esplanade or greenway that enhances the value of each waterfront component; safe physical and clear visual connections between the water and upland communities; more efficient use of bridges to connect public spaces and parks on either bank of the river, especially the pedestrian High Bridge; restoration of wetlands and other habitats along the water where feasible; and implementation of accesible water-borne transportation and recreation.
As waterfront access has become a priority for City Hall, some neighborhoods of New York have been prioritized for one reason or another. The Harlem River waterfront presents a set of difficult challenges to access and productive use of available spaces. With the support of organizations such as Harlem River Working Group and its allies, and continuing and expanding input from community residents themselves, a vision for equitable waterfront access throughout our city can be established and executed.