Support Letter #1 – GWB

Dear Governor Cuomo,

As you know, the Port Authority of NY&NJ (PA) is currently undertaking a $1.9 billion re-cabling and restoration of the GWB, with completion projected for 2025. Yet the PA’s plan will restore its narrow 7 foot walkways to their 1931 configuration. This ignores 90 years of evolution in transit and urgent calls to reduce carbon emissions.

Today, the GWB is the sole bike-able connector between North Jersey and NYC, and directly connects the two most heavily biked roads in the U.S.—Hudson Greenway and Route 9W. It is linchpin of the proposed 1650-mile Tri-State Trail Network and a feeder to the Empire State Trail.

But the GWB is dangerously overcrowded. In 2015, NYCDOT recorded 3700 cyclists per day on weekends. Since then, NYC’s bike grid has tripled in size to 1200 miles and its bike share program grew to 20 million trips in 2019. In 2020, cycling has surged as a result of COVID-19.

NYC’s 793,000 cyclists cyclists are a captive market for state tourism, but unless they’re afforded ready access to bikeable roads outside the city, their wherewithal to participate in extended trips will be limited by local paths increasingly crowded with pedestrians and runners.

The PA, however, has failed to appropriate funds to upgrade the GWB with a modern bikeway. For these reasons, we propose that New York State provide $50 million to expand capacity across the GWB’s North Path.

This so-called North Path Plan (NPP) will also preserve historic views of Palisades, which would be forever blocked by the PA’s planned configuration of anti-suicide barriers.  Taken together the NPP will result in a new linear park, comparable to Walkway Over the Hudson, one projected to attract 290,000 tourists per year and sustain 675 jobs.

To fund the NPP, and other sustainable transportation projects, we suggest a Sustainable Transfer Charge (STS) of $10 on all enplaned passengers out of JFK, LaGuardia and Stewart Airports.  If an STS had been levied 2018, it would’ve generated $425 million for reinvestment.

The NPP will further goals of this Administration’s Restore Mother Nature Bond Act:

• Benefit Underserved Constituencies

• Create Jobs and Develop Local Economies

• Have a Positive Effect on Climate Change

• Invest in Resilient Infrastructure

• Preserve Access to Green Space

We understand the immense challenges now facing the Port Authority in managing COVID-19 disruptions. Yet the need for a modern bike facility on the GWB is manifest. And we have been lobbying the Agency for these improvements every month since 2013.

We urge that your Administration, along with its other far-sighted projects, fund the North Path Plan for the George Washington Bridge.

Respectfully,

Complete George—250 organizations, communities and public officials calling for greater cycling capacity across the George Washington Bridge.

North Path Plan: 10′ path for cyclists, 7′ path for peds-runners, 9′ high anti-suicide barrier.