2017/02 – Cycle Tourism

How You Can Help


Chairman Degnan, Director Foye, Commissioners.  My name is Susan Rodetis, I’m an experienced ride leader, long distance cyclist, triathlete and League of American Bicyclists Certified Cycling Instructor.

Your plan for the GWB has a number of fixes. And some groups are asking for tiny additions. But this is the opportunity to do it all and to do it right.

Today I ask you to consider the impact of wider GWB paths on cycle tourism. Governor Cuomo underlined its value, and plans to promote it, in his Mid-Hudson State of the State address: [1]

We’ve spent a lot of money on tourism and we’ve gotten a tremendous return. We invested $150 million in “I Love New York” and received a $102 billion in tourism.

Now, we want to build the largest state multi-use trail in the nation: the Empire State Trail. It would go from Albany to Buffalo and New York City up to the Canadian border. 750 miles.

I believe it would change the economy through the Hudson Valley and Erie Canal corridor. Every $1 million invested in multi-use trails creates 9.6 jobs. The total trail will cost $200 million.

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-8-45-10-am

Between the Empire State Trail and the new Tappan Zee Bridge, New York will invest $500 million to grow active transportation in the Lower-Mid Hudson Valley. [2] But revenues from cycle tourism could show a net decline if an overcrowded GWB ceased to function as a cycling facility. [3]

A wider GWB would also complete the PA’s $300 million investment in the Goethals and Bayonne [4] by connecting Hudson, Essex, Union, Middlesex and Monmouth. [5]

Prominent cycling blogs have highlighted the GWB’s importance to the region, with one calling it our “crown jewel of recreational cycling.” [6] [7]

And elected officials continue to rally to the cause. Manhattan Community Board #7, on the Upper West Side, became the eighth city board to call for wider paths. And Daniel Garodnick, representing the Upper East Side, became the twelfth City Councilmember to join the call.

These two districts flank Central Park, which has become so crowded that cycling groups limit training rides to early weekday mornings, making GWB access even more necessary. [8]  Communities calling on the PA to support active transportation now form a solid crescent from Hell’s Kitchen to Yonkers and from Englewood Cliffs to Edgewater.

Widened GWB paths allows our region to receive maximum benefit from the Governor’s initiatives as well as from the PA’s own investments in active transportation.

Thank you.

Neile Weissman

Update: the GWB will be the the nexus of the 1650-mile Tri-State Trail Network, an aggregate of in-progress and completed facilities announced by Regional Plan Association in September 2017.

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 2.41.38 PM.pngImage Regional Plan Association.


[1] “Video, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Delivers his 2017 Regional Mid-Hudson State of the State Address,” New York State, 1/10/17, http://tinyurl.com/h4elxm9

[2] The estimated cost of the bike path across the New Tappan Zee is $400 million — 10% of the project’s $4 billion budget.

[3] According to a Rutgers study, active transportation (biking and walking) annually contributes $500 million per year to NJ’s economy, or $56 per capita.  Extending that to the 3.1 million residents the Lower-Mid Hudson Valley equals $174 million per year., The Economic Impacts of Active Transportation in New Jersey, USDOT-FHWA-Rutgers Universityhttp://tinyurl.com/oednylm

[4] “Providing bicycle and pedestrian access on the new Goethals and Bayonne Bridge represents a total commitment of [$275-330 million].,” various correspondence, PA Director of Bridges and Tunnels, Cedrick Fulton

[5] The East Coast Greenway links major cities along the Eastern Seaboard from Florida to Maine, http://www.greenway.org

[6] “I’m back and things have only gotten worse. The George Washington Bridge,” Bike Snob, 2/6/17, http://tinyurl.com/ho8x7vw

[7] “Help Make the George Washington Bridge in NYC Better for Cyclists,” The Radavist, 1/29/17, http://tinyurl.com/gvtwb9n

screen-shot-2017-01-29-at-10-1-40-27-am (1).jpgPhoto by Donalrey on Instagram

[8] Cycling Protocol for Central Park, http://tinyurl.com/jxj3lm3