NYBC Supports Efforts to "Connect the Putnam Trail"
New York Bicycling Coalition works everyday to provide a coherent, credible voice for the interests of all bicyclists, which includes providing assistance and support to local advocacy coalitions who seek changes to improve safety, education and access for road and trails users. NYBC supports the efforts of local advocates to refinish the Putnam Trail through Van Cortlandt Park with a paved bike facility – and crushed stone running surface – properly connecting Westchester’s fully paved, multi-use North-South County Trailways to it’s Bronx terminus. Please see below for a perspective on the project from NYBC advocates Rich Conroy and Neile Weissman, and a link to a petition started by the Facebook group “Connect the Putnam Trail.” – Josh Wilson, NYBC Executive Director
A coalition called “Connect the Putnam Trail” – led by Bike the Bronx, Bronx TA Committee, Bike New York, and local activists – has created an online petition to urge the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to follow through with their plan to extend and pave the Putnam Trail. According to the coalition, the Putnam Trail will be a greenway that will run from Van Cortlandt Park’s northern border to West 230 Street (a block from Broadway). It will accommodate cyclists, walkers, runners, skaters and those wheelchair bound. This trail once renovated will connect the Bronx greenway system to the South County Trail in Westchester. It will also connect to Manhattan’s Hudson River Greenway via the East Coast Greenway on-street bike route. – Rich Conroy, Bike New York
Rich Conroy at Bronx Community Board #8. Photo by Neile Weissman
NYBC advocate Neile Weissman made the following remarks to local media and before the Bronx Community Board #8 Committee on Parks & Recreation.
I lead 50 bike rides per year for New York and Westchester cycle clubs. Many along the North/South County Trailways which connects Brewster, NY to Westchester’s southern border with the Bronx — and putatively, down the Putnam Trail to its historic terminus in Van Cortlandt Park.
But, given the Trail’s frequent state of disrepair, particularly following rain, I route around the Park, onto Webster or Broadway for the final leg. Both high traffic alternatives to otherwise car-free rides.
From a commuter perspective, the fully paved, multi-use Trailway links millions of residents in Putnam, Westchester and Bronx counties — and via subway to the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. It is the single most important piece of bicycle infrastructure in the tri-state area and it is therefore unconscionable that the final mile be completed in anything other than consistent manner.
On the contention that the replacement Trail be finished in crushed rock, I have ridden innumerable crushed rock paths in NY, NJ and CT. Some are excellent, owing to diligent maintenance. Others are quite hazardous. And the Parks Department has flat out declared they will be unable to maintain a crushed rock surface.
All users who access the Trailway-Park have rights to a COMPLETE facility: serviceable to wheelchairs-cyclists as well as runners-hiker; durable in the face of extreme weather events; indifferent to benign neglect. Thank you. – Neile Weissman