Stephanie and Fred Shuman Reservoir Running Track Renovation

A much-needed renovation of the running track around the Reservoir addressed systemic issues with the condition and maintainability of one of the most popular running destinations in New York City.

At 106 acres, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir is the largest single landscape feature in Central Park. Constructed in 1862, it was originally one of two receiving reservoirs of the Croton Aqueduct system within the Park's boundaries. These divided the landscape into what the Park's designers referred to as the Upper and Lower Parks. The other reservoir, a smaller, rectangular structure that pre-dated the Park, was decommissioned by the 1930s and replaced by the Great Lawn.

A large puddle on the running track shows the need for reconstruction

Puddles on the running track before renovation

In 1982 the 1.58-mile pedestrian path around the Reservoir, made famous as a spot for jogging by the 1976 movie Marathon Man, was repaved in stone screenings to accommodate its increasing use as a running path by providing a soft surface. The track was previously repaired in 1999, but due to heavy use, it began to erode in various locations, leaving it rutted and uneven. Rainwater regularly pooled on the track, worsening the damage.

Workers leveling the running track

Leveling the running track during construction

The overall design goal of this renovation was to address surface conditions and drainage. The scope of the project included:

  • Regrading the track to improve drainage and resurfacing it with stabilized stone screenings
  • Reconstructing curbs
  • Regrading and seeding the adjacent landscape
  • Replacing drinking fountains
  • Upgrading lighting infrastructure
Walkers take advantage of a clear early spring day on the running track

The running track after renovation

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