“As you know, when you're a cyclist you need to have a clean greenway,” said DOT commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “You don't want to have broken glass or rubble, and also to the extent that we can beautify it, it just makes it a nicer amenity.”
The process for adopting a portion of a greenway – similar to the Adopt-a-Highway program – is as simple as going online or emailing DOT.
“I want to invite anyone who's interested to get involved,” Trottenberg said. “It's an easy process.”
A group or individual can “adopt” a portion of a greenway in Queens or Brooklyn, which means providing routine maintenance. Those who wish to participate must commit to a two-year agreement and submit a form to DOT outlining the work that will be performed.
Sponsors will be recognized through signs along greenways.
The first maintenance partner is the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, which has an extensive history with the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, where Trottenberg announced the program last week.
“Twelve years after they hosted what was the initial workshop in 2004, we have almost a third of this greenway now complete and more to come,” Trottenberg said.
When Milton Puryear, director of project development at Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, moved from Washington, D.C. in the 1970s he immediately wondered how the city could recapture the Brooklyn waterfront.
He started with a small garden that ultimately ballooned into what Trottenberg called one of the most extraordinary greenways in New York City.
“It was just an idea in the late 1990s,” Puryear said. “Most of the time when we said 'greenway,' people said 'bike path,' so what we had in mind was something physically separated from traffic and landscaped.”
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who uses the greenway every Sunday to bike to brunch, provided the group with $14 million in funding. Velazquez said when the group first came to her office with the plan, she and her staff immediately saw the benefits.
“New York City is surrounded by water, and yet water is so foreign to our families and our children, especially to low-income communities,” she said. “So what an incredible way to not only connect communities, but also entire families to the waterfront.”