2006_12_fdrout.jpgIf it's built, then take it! The NY Times reports that the the Bloomberg administration is considering a plan to turn the FDR's Outboard Detour Roadway into an extension of the East Side esplanade.

The plan, in its very early stages, calls for demolishing all but the roadway’s westernmost underwater support beams and building a new structure that would not extend as far over the river.

The new park would probably be at most 20 feet wide, city officials said, enough room for bicycle lanes and a narrow pedestrian walkway. Advocates say the result would be akin to the High Line park being developed out of an abandoned elevated railway line on the West Side, although it would be much smaller, and over water.

“It is on the water, it is already built, and we would like to have a nice bikeway, a nice walkway that would connect to the rest of the esplanade,” said Lyle Frank, chairman of the local community board. “This is a tremendous opportunity to do it.”

The plan would enable the city to connect the Greenway on the East Side. The potential downside? Disturbing fish habitats and interfering with shipping traffic. Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff tells the NY Times, "It’s something we are very interested in, but a lot more work has to be done to make sure it is feasible."

The article also goes into the ODR's history, as a temporary roadway built in order to serve traffic while repairs were made to the FDR. Did you know there's a "system of floating guardrails held in place by four anchors drilled intro the bottom of the river"?

This would be an interesting appropriation of roadway for park use, if all the stars align. But it makes sense to at least attempt to grab the ODR, since there's so little land to take advantage of in the first place. Hopefully this can pave the way to get engineers designing other transportation projects to incorporate park ideas in their plans as well.

Graphic of the FDR's rehab work by Skanska, the company that is doing construction to the FDR