Tourism – Upper Manhattan
Widening the GWB North Path would have a significant economic impact on Upper Manhattan, based on a model developed for the Walkway over the Hudson.1 2 3 A linear park across the GWB would:
- Draw 289,000 tourists (non-resident visitors) per year
- Induce daily average spending of $94.26 per nonresident visitor [Hard to believe, if locals are involved]
- Directly result in new spending of $27 million per year; with multipliers, $42 million
- Directly create 511 jobs; with multipliers, 675 jobs
Tourism – Rockland, Westchester, the Bronx
Rutgers University found that biking and walking added $497 million to New Jersey’s economy in 2011 – or $56 per person.4 Applying the same rate to the 2.9 million residents of the Lower Hudson Valley, travel by bike and foot would add $164 million to the region’s annual receipts.5
The shared-use path across Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is now drawing thousands of cyclists per day. These cyclists shuttle between that bridge and the George, passing and patronizing food and retail locations in Rockland, Westchester and the Bronx.6
The Cuomo and Kosciuszko bridges and the Empire State Trail represent investments of $500 million in bike infrastructure across lower New York. All were made in the expectation that they would stimulate economic activity and job creation.7 8
Their success will depend on the GWB’s capacity to support increasing volumes of users. But the GWB is not likely to perform as needed, since the Port Authority’s plan meets no known standard for use as a cycling facility.9
Tourism – Hudson Valley, Upstate
Recreational cyclists are tourists. Many embark on take trips that extend hundreds, even thousands, of miles, visiting hotels, restaurants and other attractions on the way.
New York City’s 800,00 cyclists10 represent an untapped market for tourism statewide, particularly along the Empire State Trail. To prepare for long trips, however, they must develop the skills and stamina. And for NYC cyclists, that means crossing the GWB to hone their skills on suburban and rural roads.
Widening the GWB’s North Path paths will provide this cohort with durable capacity. Otherwise, the stress and danger of crossing an inadequate facility, or being made to repeatedly walk the one-mile span, will squelch their enthusiasm for the sport and their capacity to undertake extended journeys.
1 Walkway over the Hudson Historic State Park, https://tinyurl.com/ybv5yq8e
2 “WOTH: 500,000 visitors per year; 48% non-residents; daily average spending, $64.36; new annual spending $15 million, with multipliers $24 million; jobs created 290, with multipliers 383,” “Quality of Life Impact Study,” Ibid, 08/18, p.13, https://tinyurl.com/y98va88m
3 “Linear Park,” Complete George, 10/15, https://tinyurl.com/y9ehkmvm
4 “The Economic Impacts of Active Transportation in New Jersey,” USDOT-FHWA-Rutgers University, 2013, http://tinyurl.com/oednylm
5 Rockland, 326K residents; Westchester, 968K; Bronx, 1418K; Inwood-Washington Heights – 209K.
6 Bike routes between the Cuomo and GWB include 9W through Rockland; Old Croton Aqueduct, North-South County Trailways and Bronx River Bike Path.
7 $440 million for the path across the Mario M. Cuomo (1/9 of $4B total); $55 million for the Kosciuszko path (1/10 of $550M); and $100 million for Empire State Trail (half of $200M for Low-Mid Hudson portion).
8 “I believe the Empire State Trail would change the economy through the Hudson Valley and Erie Canal corridor. Every $1 million invested in multi-use trails creates 9.6 jobs.” “Governor Cuomo Delivers Regional Mid-Hudson State of the State Address,” New York State, 1/10/17, http://tinyurl.com/h4elxm9
9 “Capacity and Demand,” Complete George, 9/16, https://tinyurl.com/jpcfphq
10 “Cycling in the City, Cycling Trends in NYC,” NYCDOT/NACTO, 5/19, https://tinyurl.com/hcu5yaz