By Nathan Duke
Gioia said he recently secured $500,000 in city funding to jump-start the project, which was first proposed in 1992 as part of a comprehensive waterfront plan. The Parks Department obtained an additional $2.6 million in federal funding.Gioia said the greenway will stretch from Newtown Creek past the Triborough Bridge through Astoria to the north, extend east and create a connection to the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway at the Flushing Bay Promenade near Flushing Meadows Corona Park.”As we build a new city in a new century, we have a great opportunity to build a new waterfront,” Gioia said. “When I was growing up, the waterfront was completely cut off. It was filled with dilapidated buildings.”Gioia said the new greenway will provide city residents with a scenic area in which to jog, bike and walk. Eric Baard, of the Long Island City Community Boathouse, said the greenway will provide a safe path for bicycle commuters who travel through western Queens communities and will attract families.”The bike path and pedestrian walkway will be a wonderful conduit to bring children to the waterfront,” he said.New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said the greenway will not only provide space for joggers and bikers, but may also help cut down traffic along its route.”This project will be a boon to Queens, helping reconnect New Yorkers to the waterfront, enhance access to recreational amenities and promote non-motorized transportation,” he said.Jennifer Hoppa, of the Parks Department, said the creation of the greenway will be a multi-year and multimillion-dollar project. She said it is estimated that the first phase of the project, which will stretch from the Pulaski Bridge to 20th Avenue, would be completed in four years. Hoppa said the greenway will run through every park on the waterfront and that the first phase of the project will include delineating and greening the path through the parks on the route.Hoppa said the greenway, which will eventually stretch to the Flushing Bay Promenade, is part of the city's 350-mile greenway plan. Gioia encouraged community involvement in the project.”This is an effort to bring in as many voices as possible because this will change the face of Queens and the face of our city,” he said. Reach reporter Nathan Duke by email at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.