Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, New York


Reference Route 907L
Get started New York
End New York
Length 9 mi
Length 15 km
1 Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel → Brooklyn

1 Battery Park

1 South Street

2 Brooklyn Bridge → Brooklyn

3 Manhattan Bridge

4 Grand Street

5 Houston Street

6 15th Street

7 20th Street

8 → Queens / Long Island

8 42nd Street

10 49th Street

11 53rd Street

12 Queensboro Bridge

13 71st Street

13 79th Street

14 96th Street

15 106th Street

16 116th Street

17 → Queens / Bronx

18 125th Street

Harlem River Drive → Harlem / Bronx

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt East River Drive or FDR Drive for short is a parkway in the US state of New York. The highway forms a north-south route in Manhattan, downtown New York. The road is off limits for freight traffic. The road varies greatly in appearance and is elevated, running at ground level and sometimes under buildings and below ground level. The highway is 15 kilometers long.

Travel directions

The highway begins at West Street, at the southern tip of Manhattan, in Battery Park. One immediately dives into a tunnel under the Battery Park. The highway then runs higher, and runs over Wall Street, among other things. You can already see the impressive Brooklyn Bridge, after which you drive under it. Here is also a nodewith the road that goes over the Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn. One then crosses the Manhattan Bridge, but there are no interchanges for this. You pass Co-op village, a large social housing location. Here one crosses the Williamsburg Bridge, a third bridge connection to Brooklyn. The FDR Drive has 2×3 lanes here. One crosses Houston Street, a major street in southern Manhattan. Along the highway is an endless row of skyscrapers and apartment buildings.

One also crosses Interstate 495, but there are no interchanges for this. The highway goes under the United Nations building. You pass the Trump World Tower, at 262 meters the tallest apartment tower in Manhattan. You then go under buildings again, and cross the Queensboro Bridge. At the height of the Upper East Side you again pass under a number of skyscrapers. At 81st Street you go under buildings and a park again, at 90th Street you come above ground again. The FDR Drive ends at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. Straight ahead, the Harlem River Drive continues and via the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge you can reach Interstate 278 towards the Bronx.


FDR Drive seen from the Manhattan Bridge.


In the 1920s, local governments began to propose roads along the waters of the East River and Hudson. In 1929, the first plan for a sunken highway along the East River, on the east side of Manhattan, came up. This was called the Chrystie-Forsyth Parkway. By this time, there were also plans to replace aging housing with new high-rises and skyscrapers, with parks separating the real skyscrapers and public housing, e.g. the Peter Cooper Village—Stuyvesant Town and other projects on the Lower East Side. Robert Moses, president and coordinator of New York City’s parks, then presented his first visions for East River Drive, which would have six lanes of 3.65 meters, overpasses for grade-separated intersections, and landscaped areas with parkland between the highway and the highway. East River.


Construction of East River Drive began in 1934 and the northern section, between 92nd Street to 125th Street, was to become a grade-separated highway as an access road for the Triborough Bridge, which was in the planning stages at the time. Construction ran into difficulties, but Robert Moses was able to find ingenious ways to make it possible, and this section of the highway was completed in time for the opening of the Triborough Bridge, while the Grand Central Parkway was also completed in parallel. Queens delivered. Within a 100-foot right-of-way, Robert Moses built a 2×3 lane highway and a narrow ribbon of parkland along the East River, in an area of ​​the city that had no landscaping.

Further south, between Battery Park and 42nd Street and from 49th Street to the parkway section at 92nd Street, East River Drive was constructed as a boulevard, with no grade separated intersections. This section opened in 1942. Large parts of the road were built on viaducts, or on landfill waste, mainly rubble from bombed British cities that American naval ships took as ballast during the Second World War. This mainly concerns the part between 23rd and 30th Street.

In the 1940s, the New York City Planning Department recommended the completion of East River Drive. This was because East River Drive connected with other new highways in the city, most notably the Harlem River Drive, Major Deegan Expressway (now Interstate 87 ), Grand Concourse, and the Bruckner Expressway. When completed, the freeway would significantly relieve the traffic of Manhattan’s streets. Construction of the southern section of East River Drive did not begin until after 1945, when the war ended. In 1945, an arterial development program was set up to build key missing links. Robert Moses wanted to make East River Drive grade-separated from Battery Park to Triborough Bridge.

In 1948, FDR Drive between 49th Street and 92nd Street was converted from a boulevard to a grade-separated highway. Between 80th and 90th Streets, Carl Schurz Park is built partially above FDR Drive. In 1950, a tunnel under Battery Park was completed, allowing a direct connection to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and the West Side Highway. In 1952, the FDR Drive between 42nd and 49th Street was converted to a highway, with the United Nations headquarters built on top of the highway. In 1960, FDR Drive was converted into a freeway between Jackson Street and 14th Street, and in 1966 the last section of FDR Drive between 14th Street and 42nd Street was converted from a boulevard to a freeway.


The FDR Drive did not meet the Interstate Highway design requirements , and thus was not given an I-number. Freight traffic and buses were banned on FDR Drive, although buses are now allowed on some segments. On the south side, along downtown Manhattan, FDR Drive crosses a long overpass, the South Street Viaduct. When the Lower Manhattan Expressway ( I-78 ) was canceled, the NY Department of Highways proposed an eight-lane tunnel at the site of the overpass. There should also be a connection with Wall Street. If the viaduct would have been replaced by a tunnel, the viaduct could be demolished and this part of Downtown Manhattan could be adapted. However, the plans were never carried out.

In the 1980s and 1990s, various reconstruction projects were carried out on the FDR Drive, in particular large-scale maintenance. Capacity was not added. A ramp at 48th Street was demolished in poor condition, and it was not intended to be rebuilt, but severe traffic on York and First Avenues prompted the decision to rebuild the ramp. The tour reopened in 1998.


The FDR Drive is severely congested with 150,000 to 175,000 vehicles per day on the severely substandard highway. Traffic jams also occur throughout the day, especially around the connection with the bridges to Brooklyn. There are plans to replace obsolete viaducts with tunnels, but lack of funds will prevent these projects from getting off the ground for the foreseeable future.

Traffic intensities

Traffic intensities are high, and there is always a traffic jam on some stretches. Between 127,000 and 181,000 vehicles daily use FDR Drive, one of two north-south highways in Manhattan.

Exit Location 2008
Brooklyn Bridge 45,000
Houston Street 126,000
23rd Street 144,000
35th Street 137,000
Queensboro Bridge 115,000
96th Street 158,000
Triborough Bridge 180,000

Tunnels and enclosures

The FDR Drive has many overpasses and tunnels. There are 4 large enclosures of residential towers that stand on top of the highway, and four tunnels:

  • Tunnel Battery Park 700m
  • Tunnel United Nations Plaza 470m
  • Tunnel 54th Street to 59th Street 380m
  • Tunnel Upper East Side 480m

Lane Configuration

From Unpleasant Lanes
exit 0 Exit 19 2×3