Remarks to North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, 5/14/2018 and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 5/25/2018
Today, I would bring to your attention two recent developments that could significantly affect the growth of cycling across the region and, consequently its sole bikeable connector – the George Washington Bridge.
In concert with groups including the NY-NJ Trail Conference, Jersey Off Road Bike Association and Palisades MTB, the Bergen Plan will seek to develop a model for the design and construction of sustainable hiking and biking trails within designated parks.
And by establishing a network of bikeways, the County would extend park access to all of its municipalities. These include some of the most densely populated in the U.S. – many of which face a parkland deficit.
Harlem River Bridge Access
Its goal is to reduce the distance between bicycle crossingsfrom every three miles to one mile, so that no detour would require more than a 10-minute ride.
All bridges are owned and operated by DOT – except for the Henry Hudson where the City would partner with MTA to widen the existing walkway.
Peak use across all the Harlem River bridges was 3900 cyclists per day in 2015.4 For comparison the daily total for NYC’s four East River Bridges is 20,000. That’s up from 3000 per day 20 years ago, before DOT began a similarly dramatic expansion of access.
The Weakest Link
The Bergen and New York plans connectto, and extend, the East Coast Greenway5and Empire State Trail,6 and help to realize the Regional Plan Association’s vision of a 1650 mile Tri-State Trail Network.7
Together, they hold enormous potential to grow cycling across the region and to satisfy the public’s desire for high-quality recreational space and for safe, cheap, efficient, sustainable and healthy modes of transport. From a cyclist’s perspective, they’re flat out awesome.
However, both plans will flow, like tributaries, to an already swollen river and their realization will only hasten the George’s obsolescence as a cycling facility8 – unless the Port Authority upgrades its plans.
 Bergen County Parks Master Plan, Rutgers Center for Urban Environmental Sustainability, p. 139-145, 181-192, https://tinyurl.com/ydx4xm6m
 About the Atlanta Beltline, https://tinyurl.com/ybfcflqv
 Connecting Communities, NYC DOT/AECOM, p. 3, https://tinyurl.com/yc5ac9h2
 East Coast Greenway, https://www.greenway.org
 Empire State Trail FAQ, Parks & Trails New York, https://tinyurl.com/z64j55m
 “Capacity and Demand, Complete George, http://tinyurl.com/jpcfphqr