NYC Greenways: Paths to an Equitable City-Wide Network

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Event Details

New York City is home to over 300 miles of greenways consisting of a patchwork of bikeways, pedestrian paths, and trails. Join the AIANY Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to discuss navigating the complexities of fostering, designing, building, and maintaining greenways in NYC. Some of these are still in the planning stages, others in varied states of repair or disrepair, with each segment operated and maintained by separate organizations. In 2022, the City initiated a masterplan process to create a unified city-wide greenway network prioritizing neighborhoods that historically have been underserved by connected open space. Planning and design for the East River Esplanade in East Harlem and the Harlem River Greenway in the Bronx provide examples of current approaches to upgrading and expanding NYC’s greenway network.

Join the discussion as we explore the opportunities for a unified network that spans all five boroughs, driven by a shared vision of design quality, sustainability, inclusivity, accessibility, and equity for every New Yorker.

Hunter Armstrong,
Executive Director, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative; Co-chair, NYC Greenways Coalition
Lena Ferguson, Assistant Vice President, Neighborhood Strategies, NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC)
Mitchel Loring, Project Administrator for Planning and Policy, Environment and Planning Division, NYC Parks
EdMundo Martinez, Steering Committee Member, NYC Greenways Coalition
Ted Wright, AICP, LEED AP, Director of Bicycle and Greenway Programs, NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT)
Gentry Lock, RLA, WEDG, Principal Landscape Architect, Stantec
John Schettino, John Schettino Design

About the Speakers:
Hunter Armstrong
is the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative where he draws on nearly two decades of experience improving public spaces and the public realm in New York City. For more than 20 years, BGI has focused on planning, advocacy, and community engagement for greenways in Brooklyn. In 2016, BGI created the Naval Cemetery Landscape public space, historic site, and pollinator meadow which it fully funds, operates, and programs as a green space on the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. BGI is the founding convener of the NYC Greenways Coalition, which includes 45+ greenway-aligned groups. Previously, Hunter worked at the Natural Areas Conservancy, a NYC park conservancy, and CIVITAS, a community-based planning organization in Manhattan where he organized multiple environmental and open space programs, including an ideas competition to improve the East River Esplanade. He has a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning degree from the University of Virginia.

Lena Ferguson is an Assistant Vice President in NYCEDC’s Neighborhood Strategies department, where she focuses on greenway, streetscape and public realm projects. She is currently the agency-wide coordinator for greenways and manages greenway planning projects including city-wide greenway expansion planning and closing the remaining gaps in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. She also manages the Fifth Avenue Public Realm project between Bryant and Central Parks. Ferguson has worked at NYCEDC since 2018. She has a Master in Urban Planning degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and an undergraduate degree in Growth and Structure of Cities from Bryn Mawr College.

Mitchel Loring has been a member of the Policy and Long-Range Planning team at NYC Parks since 2016. He oversees greenway network expansion and upgrade planning for NYC Parks, and manages other projects related to coastal storm resiliency, the transfer of Hart Island to NYC Parks, and partnerships with private developers to build new open space. Loring has a master's degree in Regional and Community Planning from Kansas State University.

EdMundo Martinez is a lifelong resident of the Bronx who found his way into advocating and organizing through his passion for bicycling and his borough. The desire for fellow residents to have a better quality of life led him to start hosting bike rides and events over a decade ago. In 2017, he co-founded Concrete Friends, a group that advocates for Concrete Plant Park along the shore of the Bronx River and the surrounding community, and provides programming in the park. EdMundo has been active in the NYC Greenways Coalition since its inception and serves on the steering committee and as co-chair of the Communications, Outreach & Equity working group. Through his volunteer work and relationships with various agencies and organizations he has been able to highlight current issues and assist connecting people to local resources, public spaces, history, nature, and the culture of the generations of people who call Bronx home.

In his 16 years as director of New York City’s Bicycle Programs at NYCDOT, Ted Wright has overseen development of the largest bike network in the United States. Under his leadership, NYC has become a leader of protected path design, developing many typologies now used throughout the country. He spearheaded the use of implementation-focused greenway and bike network studies that show immediate results, grow ridership, and build momentum for expansive bike and pedestrian infrastructure. He is proud of the relentless work of NYCDOT’s Bike Unit, where design innovation has spurred expectations of constructing 10 miles of protected bike lanes a year to the exciting goal of 50 miles per year as recently mandated by the City Council.  

Gentry Lock, a NYC-based Landscape Architect at Stantec, brings over 17 years of experience to the firm’s Landscape Architecture and Urban Design practice. Lock is an expert in managing public space projects characterized by complex efforts, which integrate design and engineering. This includes producing high-quality technical project documents and maintaining design integrity during construction. Lock has managed and/or led the design of waterfront projects for the NYC Economic Development Corporation, including the East Midtown Greenway and the reconstruction of the East River Esplanade from 94th to 124th streets (Bobby Wagner Walk) in Manhattan, Lower Concourse Park in the Bronx, and Parachute Way Plaza in Coney Island. She has also managed a wide range of projects for the NYC Parks Department, including Yolanda Garcia Park in the Bronx, 50 Kent Bushwick Inlet Park in Brooklyn, and McKinley Playground in Manhattan.

John Schettino is a designer/advocate whose practice is centered on advancing more equitable approaches to mobility in built and social environments, often through wayfinding and placemaking initiatives. He is the author of The New York Penn Station Atlas and helped develop the current wayfinding strategy in the Long Island Railroad section of Penn Station. He recently co-led the publishing of Delivering the Goods: NYC Urban Freight in the Age of E-Commerce for AIANY, documenting research into strategies to balance stakeholder needs for a more equitable movement of goods and services throughout the city. As past Programming Director for the AIANY Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Schettino has organized and facilitated numerous public discussions on urban mobility.