Like many waterways through America's cities, the Bronx River in New York has seen better days. Industrial waste and the impact of millions of people living on and around its banks made the river suffer mightily from pollution in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
But local efforts to restore and protect the Bronx River and its watershed are having a real impact, raising awareness of the river's plight and putting in place measures to reduce pollution, restore native vegetation and stabilize this vital ecosystem that runs through the heart of the Bronx to the confluence of the East River and the Long Island Sound.
A key part of that effort is the creation of the Bronx River Greenway, a network of trails and preserved public green space extending eight miles along the watershed. However, despite tremendous progress on this wonderful local project, the City of New York and local supporters recently hit a wall in the development of a small, but critical, section of trail alongside a former rail line.
Amtrak and the New York State Department of Transportation have been unable to reach agreement on indemnification and liability issues related to the construction of a pedestrian overpass. Without this link, more than 100,000 residents in adjacent neighborhoods will remain cut off from the river, the new parks along its banks, and an invaluable bike and walking trail system.
You can help. The Bronx River Alliance is gathering signatures to send to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, urging them to push ahead with negotiations with Amtrak. It's easy for you to do - just fill in the petition. The people of the Bronx will thank you!