The opening of the new shared bike/pedestrian trail on the Mario Cuomo Bridge is a dream come true for me.
It takes me back to 1973, when I persuaded the Westchester County Board of Legislators to build the first bike path off Bronx River Parkway. That sweet taste of success proved to be my political baptism.
The following year, Westchester County Executive Al Del Bello invited me to join a Bikeway Committee. The county approved my idea for Bicycle Sundays, which remains one of its most popular recreation programs.
Every time I ride, It’s a thrill to see so many people enjoying themselves on all the bike paths, not least the South County and North County Trailways, which I am especially proud of helping bring to fruition.
TAPPAN ZEE IDEA
My connection with the county’s newest bike path dates back 22 years, when a committee I formed lobbied the New York State Thruway Authority to open the Tappan Zee Bridge to bicyclists.
We were told that was not feasible. However, the chairman of the Thruway Authority agreed to close the Tappan Zee Bridge once a year for an annual Multiple Sclerosis charity bike-a–thon –– a ride that was very popular for years. Biking on the Tappan Zee Bridge was fun but too infrequent.
When a replacement bridge was broached, I envisioned the old span having a second life as another Walkway Over the Hudson, emulating the popular Poughkeepsie tourist attraction.
Governor Cuomo considered my proposal, but concluded that preserving the legacy bridge was too costly.
A GREAT RIDE, BUT …
When the new bike/walking path opened in June, I was thrilled. I biked from my house to the bridge and shared the experience with hundreds of others. The views are magnificent. The path is beautiful. And I look forward to riding around Tarrytown and exploring Nyack in the years to come.
However, I have some concerns …
Cyclists and pedestrians who use the Mario Cuomo Bridge pathway have called me to express concerns about safety: the path is very narrow, a mere 12 feet wide, bounded on both sides by concrete walls, so bicyclists and pedestrians moving east and west at the same time are always in close proximity.
There have been accidents on the bridge. Some people suggest that the Thruway Authority consider bicycle–only and pedestrian–only hours on the bridge, with two–hour time slots in the AM and PM for cyclists and pedestrians. The goal would be to minimize chances of cyclists colliding with pedestrians.
Another concern: getting to the bridge. When I bicycled to the bridge on Broadway in Irvington, and biked back on Route 119, I was nervous. Lots of traffic, and no sidewalk. Very dangerous. The state should build a pathway to the bridge on Broadway and on Route 119, from the South County/North County Trailway.
That would enable cyclists to safely bike from the Bronx–Westchester border or from the Putnam–Westchester county line to the bridge and to Nyack, without encountering traffic. It would be safe, and would encourage tourists to stay at hotels on Route 119.
It’s also important to make cycling and walking to the bridge safe because there are not enough parking spots at the bridge to meet demand. The Town of Greenburgh is pushing New York State to approve a grant that would enable us to prepare the specs, so sidewalks can be ready to be constructed.
Paul Feiner is Town of Greenburgh Supervisor.
Surveying the Cuomo Bridge Bike Path
The Town of Greenburgh is conducting a Constituent Outreach Survey to gauge public use and sentiment to date on the shared bikeway/walkway on the Mario Cuomo bridge. These are the survey results as of July 9, 2020, based on 667 respondents. The questionnaire is at surveymonkey.com/r/LL6JR8K.
- Have you used the walkway?
- How have you used the walkway?
Bicyclist Only 37%
- Have you witnessed accidents or other unpleasant interactions between bicyclists and pedestrians?
- Would you favor separate use times each day for bicyclistsonly and pedestriansonly?
- Have you seen service dogs on the walkway?