City moves closer to controlling all of the High Line

City can now negotiate to acquire northern section of High Line in order to complete 1.45-mile elevated park. On July 29, 2010, the City Council approved a proposal by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and the Department of Parks and Recreation to acquire the remaining portion of the High Line elevated rail line and associated easements. This section, currently owned by CSX Corporation, begins at West 30th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues and runs west before turning north and terminating at West 34th Street. It also includes the “spur,” which extends east off the main structure at West 30th Street and terminates above the intersection of Tenth Avenue and West 30th Street. The easements associated with the structure generally extend below and above the High Line and include property owned by the MTA and the Convention Center Development Corporation.

In 2005, the City acquired a one-mile portion of the High Line running from Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street in order to create an elevated public park. The first section of the High Line opened to the public in June 2009. The second portion, extending from West 20th Street to West 30th Street is scheduled to open in the spring of 2011. Acquiring the final half mile of the High Line from West 30th to West 34th Street would facilitate the eventual completion of a contiguous 1.45-mile public space.

Manhattan Community Board 4, Borough President Scott M. Stringer, and the City Planning Commission all approved the proposal. 7 CityLand 74 (June 15, 2010).

At Council’s Landmarks, Public Siting & Maritime Uses Subcommittee hearing, representatives from Parks and from Friends of the High Line spoke in support. Michael Bradley, the High Line project administrator for Parks, stated that the proposed action was a necessary precondition to negotiating with CSX and the other property owners to acquire the final section of the High Line. Bradley said that the City would still need to identify design and construction funds after acquiring the structure, and noted that any proposal would require public review. He said no timetable had been set for this process.

Joshua David, co-founder of Friends of the High Line, testified that the goal has been to create a continuous public open space from Gansevoort Street through the West Side Rail Yards and up to West 34th Street, and he said the current application would take the City one step closer to that goal. CB 4’s Ed Kirkland stated that there have been preliminary discussions with the Hudson River Park Trust to connect the northern portion of the High Line with the Hudson River Park’s walkway via a bridge over the West Side Highway near West 32nd Street. If accomplished, Kirkland said this would create a two-mile loop without a single street crossing.

The Subcommittee unanimously approved the proposal, and the Land Use Committee and full Council followed suit.

ULURP Process:

Lead Agency: Dep’t Parks & Rec., Neg. Dec.
Comm. Bd.: MN 4, App’d
Boro. Pres.: App’d
CPC: App’d, 13-0-0
Council: App’d, 46-0-6

Council: High Line (July 29, 2010).

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