Emergency Access Road Construction Ran A Year Late

Update: Construction Fence Behind Octagon Is About To Come Down

Updated 14 weeks ago David Stone
Grass-paved road under construction in 2018.
Grass-paved road under construction in 2018.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Late yesterday, ahead of RIOC's May Board Meeting, the State agency shared some good news with us. The City Department of Environmental Protection agreed to set a date for taking down construction fencing that's restricted access to picnic tables, grills and play space along the West Promenade for two years.

After discovering that DEP idled its incomplete project for building a grass-paved, emergency access road behind The Octagon last summer, RIOC intervened, most recently late last autumn when President/CEO Susan Rosenthal toured the site for an update.

Rosenthal then won an important concession, persuading the City to pull down the ugly green covering that wasn't only an esthetic concern but also created a safety hazard along the Promenade. She reported that the main hold-up was a need to let the new grass-paved road "knit" to the ground beneath it before opening up to the public.

It looked better, but the majority of picnic tables and grills remained inaccessible as peak outdoor activity season approached.

But yesterday, in a late afternoon email, RIOC Community Affairs Supervisor Jessica Murray told The Daily, "DEP has informed RIOC that they plan to remove the fence at Octagon Park by Friday, May 17th."

That's a week from today and a significant win for RIOC and the community.

We'll get back to you when the work's done and full public access resumes after two years.

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