2018/05 – Tributaries

Bergen and New York City plans to expand bike access will dramatically grow regional cycling.  They will also hasten the GWB’s obsolescence as a cycling facility.


Chairman O’Toole,

Today, I will highlight two recent developments poised to significantly grow cycling across the region and, consequently, across its sole bikeable connector.

Bergen Parks Master Plan

Developed by Rutgers CUES, the Bergen Parks Master Planwould connect its parks via streets, trails and utility right of ways in order to form a County greenway network. It references Atlanta’s Beltline2 as example of a city employing active transportation to connect remote communities.

Together with groups including NY-NJ Trail Conference, Jersey Off Road Bike Association and Palisades MTB, the County will seek to develop a model for sustainable hiking and biking trails within designated parks.

Once complete, it would extend park access to some of the most densely populated places in the U.S. – many of which face a parkland deficit.

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 7.58.45 AMImages Rutgers CUES and NYC DOT/AECOM.

Harlem River Bridge Access

New York City DOT also just announced a $90 million program to expand bicycle-pedestrian capacity across seven Harlem River bridges connecting Manhattan and the Bronx.  The goal is to reduce the distance between bicycle crossings from every three miles to one mile, so that no detour would require more than a 10-minute ride.3

Current peak use across the Harlem River bridges is 3900 cyclists per day.4  For comparison, NYC’s four East River Bridges is 20,000 per day – but that’s up from 3000 cyclists per day twenty years ago – before DOT began a similarly dramatic expansion of access.

Tributaries

The Bergen and New York plans will connect toand extend, the East Coast Greenway5and Empire State Trail,and help to realize the Regional Plan Association’s vision of a 1650 mile Tri-State Trail Network.7

Together, they will satisfy the publics desire for high-quality recreational space and for safe, cheap, efficient, sustainable and healthy modes of transit. From a cyclist’s perspective, they’re flat out awesome.

Both plans, however, will flow like tributaries to an already swollen river.  Their realization will only hasten the George’s obsolescence as a cycling facility, unless the PA takes the opportunity of the recabling to upgrade its paths to comply with national standards.8  

Thank you.

Neile Weissman, 2018


Notes

[1] Bergen County Parks Master Plan, Rutgers Center for Urban Environmental Sustainability, p. 139-145, 181-192, https://tinyurl.com/ydx4xm6m

[2] About the Atlanta Beltline, https://tinyurl.com/ybfcflqv

[3] Connecting Communities, NYC DOT/AECOM, p. 3, https://tinyurl.com/yc5ac9h2

[4] Ibid, p. 4.  

[5] East Coast Greenway, https://www.greenway.org       

[6] Empire State Trail FAQ, Parks & Trails New York, https://tinyurl.com/z64j55m

[7] “Creating an effective network also means improving major crossings between the greater region and NYC, including the Brooklyn and George Washington Bridges.”; Regional Plan Associationhttp://tinyurl.com/ydba4gk5

[8] Capacity and Demand, Complete George, http://tinyurl.com/jpcfphqr