yonkers waterfront “SoYo” has a new private parking garage and less open space

yonkersnewhudsonparkparkinglot-3-6-2008-1-31-23-pm-3072x2304.jpg

The soon to be completed Hudson Park is a waterfront eyesore. I thought we were passed the building of parking garages on the Hudson River. This is a micro version of Alexander Street Master Plan which will have 18 building ranging from 30 stories  to 14 stories.  The ASMP also calls for 57 levels of above ground parking on the Hudson shore . What happened to the 2002 NYS open space conservation act and other environmental acts that ensure proper land usage on the waterfront. Parking garages, streets and on street parking on the waterfront are not within the public land use doctrine.

yonkers mayor and police deny first amendment rights

This is the kind of stuff you cant make up, one would think they are talking about a hick town someplace in small town USA in 1978

Federal judge finds Yonkers violated weekly newspaper’s First Amendment rights

journal news

The reality that these first amendment violations were done at the mayors direction and the police blindly followed speaks volumes on how poor and bullying the city government is.  I am seeing  smoke and mirrors and a  puppet show. Yonkers hasn’t made any headway in its politics, the developers are running the game, Don’t let the great personality fool you. In this market if anyone starts building it is not their money they are gambling, it is Yonkers taxpayers money, and it is a losing dice roll.

The kool-aid is warm and bitter, it has gone bad and is time to throw it out.

we need a whole new batch.

yonkers pier esplanda public space?

yonkers pier esplanda public space?

Originally uploaded by galvoguy

how is this supposed to become a vibrant greenway public space?
the residential windows are right next to and above the public space area. this causes conflict by design. you know th people that live above the esplanade are going to lobby for quietness and less public activities.
this is what happens when you let developers run the show,
there should be activity from 6am to midnight . There is loss of public space by putting the windows so low, tables and chair and awning, shade tent can no longer be placed there. A better design would have been space for ethnic food gallery, ice cream, juice bar , espresso bar, make the pier a healthy family destination, not a place of gin mills.

there should be a market or some activity in this corner

put a market or dancing in this corner .

creating a destination for thousands on the waterfront

west side greenway

photo from flickr by collection by seth_holladay

nyc bikemaps by seth holladay 

The more I research neighborhood and waterfront revitalization; i see a common element missing from Yonkers completed esplanade section.
there is no destination, bars and a super high end restaurants aren’t the destinations that bring in good foot traffic, the items that are necessary for good destinations are missing, such as plenty of movable tables and chairs, adequate clean bathrooms, both sunny and shaded areas to sit and congregate. I saw a sectionalized bar area that has the outdoor seating, if the seating next to walled bar seating was public, it did not have that feeling. only 2 toilets for the whole area, the employees of the X2 restaurant seem to use them a lot, maybe they used the space upstairs for seating, and didn’t build enough bathrooms upstairs, the public space area is being used as another free subsidy as the employees bathroom to match the use of their parking area on the public plaza. Not a big issue if there is no one using the pier area except for the Xavier patrons, but a very big issue when you try and bring people into this under built for public area.

Bryant park has an outdoor public library with proper seating and tables, you can brown bag your lunch and enjoy the area without cost, but there plenty of kiosk to buy food or beverage if you want them. Larking plaza library is close by, so an outdoor library would be possible here. i am sure i can think of quite a few items that are better than a bar, people that like outdoor markets and walking neighborhoods are not your usual bar patrons, nor would they consider bar food a destination. A community supported recycle a bicycle organization for the neighborhood kids to learn to rebuild discarded and abandoned bicycles and bicycle repair would be a great plus for the community.
Start promoting bicycle Saturday and Sundays for families with a ferry ride to the Manhattan greenway. Metro-North has free parking on weekends at the stations outside Yonkers; promote a train to Yonkers pier to Manhattan waterfront family bike days. Manhattan waterfront has plenty of ferry docks and Brooklyn for ice cream is also a possibility. At least 1500 bicyclist travel to Piermont across the George Washington bridge every seasonal weekend day and pump up the local economy, at least the places that have healthy food. if Yonkers waterfront had a decent priced bicycle and vegetarian friendly outdoor indoor restaurant it could be the returning bicycles dinner point. If Yonkers had a coffee house with muffins and bagels it would become a intermediate stop or return stop via train or ferry. With music and movies, they may stay for dinner. A market would also add to the attraction, all using public transit.

However I don’t think the buses go near the waterfront, that may be why the market is way up on Riverdale, or is it privatization?
if Yonkers waterfront was a healthy bicycle/skater destination and return point, Some cyclist may prefer a beer after their epic ride up at bear mountain and ferry ride back before they take the metro-north home. Bicycle friendly bus to the downtown waterfront are also missing. Small town’s upstate NY in New Paltz are served with bicycle racks on their buses. Westchester Beeline Buses with bike racks would enable many more families to participate in a Yonkers bicycle-ferry weekends without being car dependent.

The waterfront needs to become established as a safe car free conflict destination.

This isn’t a recent revelation that popped up today or with the Alexander street DGEIS , i wrote the mayor last year with this suggestion.

 

Project for public spaces gives quite a few good ideas about rebuilding public space.

project for public spaces

The waterfront section is particular interesting and relevant to the Yonkers issue. This issue is now getting bigger than the Alexander street master plan, but is addresses the whole Yonkers waterfront.  I have been at the public meetings with the mayor, where time and time again people from the audience question the privatization of the waterfront and how they already see the Yonkers waterfront becoming the private front yard and dog walking area for the new Yonkers residents.  The mayor repeatedly states  that this isn’t so, but the evidence isn’t supporting him, the  historic Yonkers pier was privatized and chopped up for a high end restaurant,  a good restaurant so I hear, but with  prices so high  very few from the local non city hall  community are going to be dining there.  The fireworks display this fourth of July was more like a private party for X2  Xavier opening crowd than the normal Yonkers affair, the banners advertising the fireworks  were  missing and there was no mention of the fireworks on the city of Yonkers website. Kind of like it was invitation only event. Questions about the no fishing signs that appeared at the pier are answered as a temporary  thing due to the ferry , I think it has more to do with X2 Xavier, they don’t want the place to look too common. The mayor  promise a fishing pier, but it is not on the  DGEIS  plans submitted , at least not in downtown Yonkers, yes there is one proposed for the JFK marina, but that’s not downtown Yonkers, that is probably the location they figure on having the affordable  housing, they plan on building a full service marina there, full service marinas are very noisy, that will be where the section of affordable housing may be ( if any).  Stick the fisherman down there too, that will be their section of the waterfront, they did put in the  DGEIS that  the oldest canoe club in the USA was also being relocated, but didn’t tell the canoe club.  Now they promise that  was only a mistake by AKRF, it will remain in downtown Yonkers, where it is, so they promise.

So we have the Yonkers pier, the  missing fisherman, secret fireworks for X2 patrons all  pointing to privatization of the waterfront as an esplanade for the new Yonkerites, the wealthy condo buyers they are trying to draw into Yonkers.  

The project for public spaces waterfront guidelines had a couple points that jumped right out at me

1 . Residential units in close proximity do not mix  and are contrary  to a successful public waterfront. I frequent the revitalized Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts, they have free concerts, movies, music, dancing, and children’s activities all planned for the spring, summer and fall.  The riverfront greenway park isn’t shut down at dusk like these non functioning systems. Residences along the waterfront are going to try to limit that proper public use.  A successful waterfront is going to be the more nighttime use the better, the safer it is. Every night you will have a choice of destinations, this has happened in Manhattan. Why are there no dance lessons and free outdoor dancing on the esplanade now and planned for the spring and summer summer? It is built , it is there, there are dance studios that I am sure would want to get involved, the  esplanade has been there for years now and it hasn’t been put to its proper use.

Outdoor movies could be shown on the pier, esplanade or sculpture garden too, all on the same night, a blues band could be performing on the lower level of the pier. There should be four activities every warm weather night down there

There is all this alleged public space, already built, that has not been put to its proper use. I have seen the mayor speak at a couple of these public meetings, he has great personality and is very likable. He keeps stating he wants people down there to use the place; they cannot get a coffee house to set up shop since no one goes down there.  Actually that is false, your waterfront development wont confirm the space they need to run a business, they want to wait until the gap or some big user leases  out the big chunk , and then give  the coffee house people what is left over. The coffee people cannot come up with a business plan that way, I spoke to the client.

Mayor Amicone , it is time to light a fire under your recreation, waterfront development personal,  a layman can figure out what is wrong with this waterfront.

It is already not being put to it proper use, 400 hundred yards of beautiful finished product. It can host a lot  of activities,  This isn’t the front yard of the imported new Yonkers wealthy, it is still Yonkers front yard and we need to start using it this spring, and your recreation/ waterfront people should be lining up dance studio’s, setting up movie nights, invite a blues or jazz band  to set up shop.  Plenty can be accomplished now on the established waterfront.  A successful waterfront should be a busy thriving area; it should be the place for concerts, outdoor movies, music and dancing. It should be open late, well into the nighttime and early morning hours “residential development limits the diversity of waterfront use and creates constituencies invested in preventing 24-hour activity from flourishing”.

http://www.pps.org/waterfronts/info/waterfronts_articles/turn_waterfront_around

2.) Don’t let the developers set the goals, I have been to about every waterfront meeting, and speaker after speaker has said the same thing, do not let the developers ruin our waterfront, it is one thing that Yonkers still has. Put community goals first, not developer’s goals, plans must adhere to the concept that the Yonkers waterfront is Yonkers  public asset.

 

 

waterfront designs for this public space site has great info

this is only two items onn thir site concerning waterfront designs , go to their site ,

how to turn a waterfront around

  • 7. Encourage 24-hour activity by limiting residential development


Housing does not encroach on the waterfront in Montreal, Canada

Great waterfronts are not dominated by residential development. Why? Because these are places that are full of people, day and night. They are the sites of festivals, markets, fireworks displays, concerts and other high-energy gatherings. A high concentration of residential development limits the diversity of waterfront use and creates constituencies invested in preventing 24-hour activity from flourishing.

waterfronts-gone _wrong

Mistake #6: A Process Driven by Development, Not by Community


Fast growing cities around the world, like Panama City, are quickly ceding their prime waterfront space to development.

Many waterfront planning efforts are led by “development corporations,” but when development is the primary objective, public goals and public process get left behind. As with any public space, the knowledge and desires of the community should form the framework for shaping waterfronts. When a city hands over the future of its waterfront to developers, the essential public spirit of the waterfront is compromised. Development is a necessary component of this process, but not the only point. It should fit within the community’s vision, not override it.

Alternative transportation and bicycle blueprint needs to be part of Yonkers redevelopment

There is no mention of on street separated bikeways or shared paths, An east west connection to the south county trailway must be incorporated. Bicycles and public transit are just an afterthought and are thrown in as a couple political correct words on the DGEIS traffic study.

State and federal ISTEA funds may be available for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

3.1 billion For the Alexander street master plan alone and no on street bicycle lanes or improved public transit. These developers only have their own profit in mind. The residents’ quality of life is not even a thought.

A bicycle blueprint needs to be established for Yonkers, before the city and roadways are redeveloped. The SFC plan, the one closest to reality, is car centric. Incorporating alternative transportation into the plan is the modern and sensible approach.

The rise in fuel prices and the nations desire to not be dependent on oil can be countered by real planning, not this cookie cutter 1980’s transportation design.

Properly equipped and ADA compliant streetcars and shuttle buses could reduce the need for private vehicles in the downtown business district. Ten thousand parking spaces are not the answer for the Yonkers downtown area.

Yonkers is extremely hilly and this creates additional problems, a possible solution that has already been invented, has been outlawed on state roadways by Governor Spitzer. The only reasons i can think of this is the automobile lobbyist are concerned about competition, they do not want anyone to find out how easily the Segway could replace 1 car and 90 percent of their sub 20 mile trips. The safety concerns are a red herring and bogus, 1,500 people a year in New York State are killed in MVA and many more catastrophic injured. The Segways main predator is the same as the bicyclist and pedestrians, the automobile. If people used Segways(or similar) plus zip car and rental car type concepts, the 7000 car parking spaces and 54 levels of  above ground parking garages on the Hudson on the Alexander street project could be greatly reduced.

At a construction price of $25,000 a parking space, this makes more economic and environmental sense. Visitors and shoppers would use public transit, properly designed public transit and alternative transportation is the rage in modern cities and plan 2025