Grayways

Central Park DriveNY Times.

Organization

Complete George is 250 organizations, communities and public officials calling for expanded bike capacity across the George Washington Bridge.  Its mission is to grow the constituency for bicycling.

Proposal Summary

Grayways calls on the NYC Departments of Transportation and Parks & Recreation to designate 500 miles of recreational urban bike routes.

Grayways can be quickly implemented by posting route data on government websites.  Over time as the routes gain acceptance, they can be upgraded with signage and safety improvements.

Beneficiaries include NYC’s 793,000 cyclists who have few recreational facilities not crowded with runners and walkers and neighborhood food shops who’d see a surge in customers.

Grayways Characteristics

  • The examples cited below extend through the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.  Many begin and end in Manhattan.
  • The routes aggregate on-road bike lanes, separated paths, low-intensity residential streets and industrial areas that get little traffic on weekends.  
  • They largely avoid already-crowded facilities like Prospect Park Drive and Coney Island-FDR Boardwalks. 
  • Neighborhood food shops and parks are featured to facilitate outdoor dining and provide frequent rest stops.
  • The plan does not take parking, close streets or involve the NYPD.
  • Initially, the routes will attract groups of cyclists comfortable riding in off-peak traffic.  Over time, as routes are improved, increasing numbers of NYC’s cycling community will take advantage.

Precedents include bike club and charity rides; the 1997 NYC Bicycle Master Plan, Somerset Walk-Bike-Hike, Bergen Parks Master PlanU.S. Bicycle Route SystemConnecticut Scenic Roads, Transport for London’s Strategic Cycling Analysis and Old Croton Aqueduct State Park.  

OHB Rau StHamilton Beach

Benefits—as prioritized in the proposed Restore Mother Nature Bond Act:

Extend Access to Green Space 

  • Like NYC’s Walk to a Park program, grayways enhance access to parks.  But, by mitigating distances traveled, they make available all facilities, even those only accessible by car—Shirley Chisholm Park.
  • By re-envisioning the act of travel as a recreational activity, and select roadways as recreational space, grayways blur the border between parks and their environs—which is the objective of Parks Without Borders.
  • Grayways will showcase the $130 million invested in the Community Parks Initiative.  And it will help reduce disparities in future capital funding by broadening the constituency for each facility.

survey commissioned by People for Bikes found that seven times as many bike for recreation than transportation. Therefore, dual-use projects should grow the constituency considerably faster than those intended solely for commuting.

Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 9.47.25 AM.pngImage People for Bikes.

Benefit Underserved Constituencies

  • Extend opportunities for exercise and recreation to residents across NYC, particularly communities with little 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.

  • Draw cycle tourists from Long Island, Westchester, Connecticut, New Jersey.

IMG_1660Bloomingdale Park.

  • Support neighborhood home values.

Multiple smart growth studies by the National Association of Realtors correlate a 5-10% increase in property values to their proximity to bikeways.

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.

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.  Photo by John T. Chiarella.

Routes

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

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

Pelham Bay

Bronx #1 – Pelham Bay, 30.0 miles – GPScue sheet, Bronx Night Market

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

#1 - Jamaica Bay Loop Queens #1 – Rockaway Beach, 28.5 miles– GPScue sheet, Uma’s
 
Idlewild
Queens #2 – Idlewild, 40.1 miles GPScue sheet, Jamaica Breeze
 
Francis Lewis
Queens #3 – Francis Lewis, 32.1 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 – Scooter! (Richmond Hill), 44.0 milesGPS, cue sheet, Singh’s Roti

#4 - Staten Island Loop
Staten 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 Pit
Staten Island #2 – Clay Pit (Dirt), 45.4 miles – GPScue sheet, Reggiano’s Pizza
 
bocce_1 (1)

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

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

Press

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

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

NYC Council Intro – DRAFT

Bio

Neile Weissman heads up Complete George—250 organizations and communities who’ve called for expanded bike capacity across the George Washington Bridge.  He also leads 50+ rides per year for New York Cycle Club and is its current Public Relations Director.

NW on Bike Westchester North County Trailway.  Image Alex Lektchinov.