‘Bike Tarrytown’ Peddles Cyclist Safety and Business Profits

On its website, Bike Tarrytown displays this photo-realistic rendering to simulate how a dedicated bike lane on Broadway — where parking spaces now go mostly unoccupied — would allow students to bike to school separated and safe from vehicular traffic. Photo: BikeTarrytown.org

Bike Tarrytown takes a three-pronged approach in its mission to improve and cultivate a biking culture in the River Towns, especially Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown.

In their attempts to convince residents, business owners and local officials of the economic, health, and environmental positives of cycling, Bike Tarrytown hosted last month a meet-up, called “More People, More Profits.”

Held at the Shames JCC, local merchants had a chance to learn how their businesses could benefit from increased cycling accessibility.

The River Towns have a unique blend of small-town atmosphere and robust culture. Within a block of Tarrytown’s Main Street, there are performance venues, yoga studios, thrift stores, and an array of restaurants.

STEERING CUSTOMER TO STORES
As promoted on a Bike Tarrytown poster, 21,000 customers live within two miles of the main drag.  Dan Convissor, director of Bike Tarrytown, likes to say that people will seize on the opportunity to forgo their cars if there’s a safe and accessible option. Proving his point, a poster by the group, which shows men and women in head-to-toe cycling gear, reads, “Confident cyclists come anyway.”

Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner is concerned by the lack of bike lanes leading to the Mario Cuomo Bridge. “It’s very dangerous to bike on Route 119,” he says. “Though the bridge path will be popular and safe, the continuity is lacking in town.” That continuity would also bring business to the hotels on Route 119 and allow tourists to bike into downtown Tarrytown.

It hasn’t been easy for Bike Tarrytown to achieve its goals. In its quest for protected bike lanes on Route 9, there have been concerns about high traffic areas and already narrow roadways. However, the group contends that with more people willing to bike or walk, there will be less vehicular traffic.

WALK THIS WAY

“Part of the issue is generational,” says Tarrytown resident Shuo Peskoe-Yang. “Millennials are just more compelled by the ability to walk and bike around town.” The suburban ideal is shifting away from wanting a two-car garage and towards walkability.

Elizabeth Tucker, a Bike Tarrytown volunteer, describes herself as a pedestrian first and cyclist second, but not by choice. “If bike lanes were safer and more expansive, I would bike with my kids to return books to the library, instead of walking or driving.”

Additionally, Tucker says that, as a local shopper, “spontaneity is enabled by a slower pace.” Even if she is just going to get a few necessities, a sale sign is more eye catching when she’s on foot or on her bike.

Lily Alig is a writer and editor living in Tarrytown.

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