Grayways

Grayways 18Mapping by RidewithGPS.  Routes by Neile Weissman.

Summary

Grayways is a NYC Council bill calling on the Departments of Transportation and Parks & Recreation to designate 500 miles of bike routes connecting city parks.

Beneficiaries include NYC’s 800,000 adult cyclists who have few recreational facilities not crowded with runners and walkers, and neighborhood food shops who’d see a surge in customers.

“There may be nothing more frustrating for a cyclist or bike advocate than a bike lane to nowhere—one that ends in a dangerous roadway, or at an intimidating intersection, or only exists for a block or two.” — Benchmarking Bike Networks, League of American Bicyclists

Route Characteristics 

The eighteen (18) proposed routes:

  • Span the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.  Many begin and end in Manhattan.
  • Aggregate separated paths, on-road bike lanes, quiet residential streets—and commercial zones that are empty on weekends (industrial parks).
  • Avoid overcrowded facilities like Central/Prospect Park Drives, Coney Island/FDR Boardwalks and Hudson Greenway.
  • Highlight local food stops and historic neighborhoods to encourage tourism.
  • Incorporate city parks to facilitate outdoor dining and provide rest stops.
  • Do not require closing streets, taking parking spots nor NYPD involvement.

The first iteration of the network can be implemented quickly and cheaply by hosting GPS data on city websites and promoted it to the 900K NYC residents already comfortable riding in traffic.  As routes are upgraded with signage and safety improvements, it is expected that increasing numbers of city residents will take advantage

UrbanTransport for London Strategic Cycling Analysis, Regional Plan Association (RPA) Five Borough Bikeway, RPA Jamaica Bay Greenway, 1997 NYC Bicycle Master Plan

Benefits

Extend Access to Green Space 

  • By regarding the act of travel as a recreational activity, the network would blur the boundaries between parks and their environs—the objective of Parks Without Borders.

OHB Rau StHamilton Beach

  • It would showcase the $130 million invested in the Community Parks Initiative and broaden the constituency for further improvements.
  • Adding recreational capacity outside Central/Prospect Park drives, Coney Island/FDR boardwalks and Hudson Greenway will reduce overcrowding during periods of peak use.

Central Park DriveNY Times

Twice as many people bike for recreation as transportation. This infers that projects with a recreational component will draw twice the use as those intended solely for commuting.

Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 9.47.25 AM.png“U.S. Bicycling Participation Benchmarking Study Report, 2015,” People for Bikes (p.22)

Benefit Underserved Constituencies

  • Extend opportunities for exercise and recreation to residents across NYC, particularly to communities with limited access to green space.
  • Bridge transportation deserts.  Reduce household spending on travel.
  • Create a compelling rationale for bike share providers to extend service to outer boroughs—and a literal road map for where to site dock stations.

Create Jobs, Develop Local Economies

Cycle tourism added $97 billion to the U.S. economy in 2017.  Per capita, that’s $248 million per year in NYC—but that doesn’t factor the City’s 1300 mile bike grid, 20 million bike share trips and that 10% of adult residents regularly ride.

  • The NYSERDA-Urban Cycling Solutions NY Cycling Census, found that “a third of respondents currently use their bikes for tourism purposes and that most are very likely to.”
  • Enhance home values.  Smart growth studies by National Association of Realtors correlate a 5-10% increase to a homes’ proximity to bikeways.
  • Bike shops rely on recreational cycling to generate the bulk of their profits.
  • A network of attractive routes (w/rest stops) and destinations will draw cyclists from Long Island, Westchester, Connecticut and  New Jersey.
IMG_2519
Brookville Park


Have a Positive Effect on Climate Change

  • Promote cycling as a preferred mode of recreational travel, thereby reducing vehicle miles traveled.
  • Grow multi-modal trips by increasing catchment and capacity of neighborhood transit hubs.  Create the safe connectors for bike share providers to site facilities.

Warren J. WellsImage Warren J. Wells

Invest in Resilient Infrastructure

  • Supplement mass transit during periods of peak use—particularly with the advent of E-Bikes which can cut travel times in half.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 4.09.33 PMMarine Parkway Bridge.  Image John T. Chiarella

Car-Free Sundays

A program of Car-Free Sundays can be implemented across Grayways routes as part of a 10-Point Plan to reduce dependence on imported oil.

IEA 10 PT PLANInternational Energy Agency

Routes

Each of the eighteen routes comprise a map (red is outbound), a GPS file (requires free account), a printout of the turn-by-turn directions (“cue sheet”) and a featured food stop.

“A great bike network is made up of great bike routes.” — Benchmarking Bike Networks, LAB

Pelham Bay - BGDB

Bronx #1 – Pelham Bay, 28.1 miles – GPScue sheet, food stops – Barino’s Market, Bronx Brewery 

Alpe D'BronxBronx #2 – Van Cortlandt, 23.7 milesGPS, cue sheet, Kingsbridge Social Club

City IslandBronx #3 – City Island, 25.0 milesGPS, cue sheet, Johnny’s Reef, Gun Hill Brewery

Marine Park (1)Brooklyn #1 – Marine Park, 35.4 GPS, cue sheet, FalafaLafa

Shirley ChisholmBrooklyn #2 – Shirley Chisholm, 34.8 milesGPS, cue sheet, TBA

manhattan-beach (1)Brooklyn #3 – Manhattan Beach, 19.5 milesGPS, cue sheetBrighton Beach

Canarsie PierBrooklyn #4 – Canarsie Pier, 38.7 milesGPS, cue sheet, Spumoni Gardens

#1 - Jamaica Bay Loop Queens #1 – Rockaway Beach, 28.5 miles– GPScue sheet, Uma’s

IdlewildQueens #2 – Idlewild, 40.1 miles GPScue sheet, Jamaica Breeze

Francis Lewis 1.1Queens #3 – Francis Lewis, 34.3 milesGPS, cue sheet, Tony’s Beechhurst Deli

old-howard-beach (1)Queens #4 – Hamilton Beach, 36.3 milesGPS, cue sheet, New Park Pizza

Richmond HillQueens #5 – Richmond Hill, 34.0 milesGPS, cue sheet, Singh’s Roti

Floral ParkQueens #6 – Floral Park, 37.6 miles – GPScue sheetButtercooky Bakery

#4 - Staten Island LoopStaten Island #1 – Conference House, 41.7 miles – GPScue sheet, Towne Deli

Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 6.08.25 PM
Staten Island #1A – Silver Lake, 7.5 miles – GPScue sheet, Flagship Brewing

SI#2 Clay PitStaten Island #2 – Clay Pit (Dirt) 45.1 miles – GPScue sheet, Reggiano’s

bocce_1 (1)Staten Island #3 – Bloomingdale, 35.5 miles – GPScue sheet, Pio’s Bagels

Richmond TownStaten Island #4 – Latourette, 38.3 miles – GPScue sheet, Artisan Bakers

Other

Inflation taking bite out of new infrastructure projects, Spectrum News 1, 6/22

How Paris’ cycling success built a roadmap for others, Curbed, 1/20

Deaths Expose Chaos of Central Park Loop, NY Times, 9/28/14

39 NYS legislators call for $200 million for NYC bikeways, 2/22

A6235B/S04943B calls on MTA to expand bike access across its seven bridges, 6/21

nyc-bike-map-2021MTA’s seven toll bridges—none of which support bike access.  Image NYCDOT. 

New Jersey> Staten Island

Elizabeth to WhitehallElizabeth to Whitehall, 11.1 miles – 1 hour, 17 minutes cycling vs. 1 hour, 3 minutes for NJ Transit and MTA subway

Bio

Neile Weissman organizes a hundred group rides per year for New York Cycle Club and is its current Public Relations Director.  He also heads up Complete George—two hundred organizations and communities calling for expanded bike capacity across the George Washington Bridge.

NW on Bike North-South County Trailway (Bronx-Westchester-Putnam). Image Alex Lektchinov.