Image by WalkingGeek
If you are looking for a better, more biofriendly way to get around Manhattan’s West Side, how about using the High Line. What is the High Line you ask? Well, it’s an environmentally-friendly elevated park which runs for about 1 1/2 miles through the West Side neighborhoods of the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen.
The High Line features an integrated landscape which combines concrete walkways with naturalistic paintings all within a beautiful park filled with plants, trees, flowers, etc. It also has fixed and movable seating as well as nice lighting and other appealing features. Running high above the crowded Manhattan streets, the High Line literally rescues pedestrians from the crowded, exhaust-filled streets below and transports them into a pleasant walking park 30 feet above.
The original High Line was constructed in the 1930s as part of a massive project to lift freight traffic 30 feet in the air, thus getting dangerous freight trains off Manhattan streets. Last used in 1980, the tracks have been barren and unused for almost 30 years. But back in 1999, a community-based non-profit group formed to save the historic structure, which was under threat of demolition. That group, “Friends of the High Line”, worked in coordination with the City of New York and managed to preserve and refurbish the structure.
If you’ve ever been to New York, you’re familiar with the crowded streets, taxi cabs running everywhere (most in serious need of a good fuel additive to at least lessen the exhaust they produce) and crowds pushing along trying to get where they need to go. The High Line cuts through that and takes walking in New York to new heights.
In a big city like New York the fact that city officials and private citizens are taking their time and effort to figure out green and eco-friendly uses for an old elevated track is a good sign. That it also gets pedestrians up and off crowded city streets and walking through a freshly landscaped park, all the better.
Hopefully we’ll see more biofriendly plans like this coming to fruition in crowded, high-pollution cities. Anything that can be done to take an obviously non-green structure and turn it into a green, eco-friendly structure, is a good thing. It means more people are starting to think about recycling and re-using on a bigger scale. Do you have any structures in your city that could use a “green” redevelopment?