Environmental groups and cycling advocates in New York City are hoping to secure federal funding to build out and link the city’s multi-use trails into a comprehensive network of greenways. According to Teri Carta, executive director of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, “without the greenways being connected, they are not able to deliver all of the benefits that they are capable of.” Jose Martinez reports on the effort for The City.
“While City Hall has committed nearly $60 million through 2024 to annually expand the reach of bike lanes, the boosters of the five-borough greenway system envision larger swaths of car-free space appealing to more than just cyclists,” writes Martinez. The goal is to expand open space available to communities for a variety of uses, not just moving bikes and people from place to place.
Around the country, cycling projects years in the making such as New York’s 750-mile Empire State Trail and the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway have gained steam in the past year. “The effort to obtain a chunk of Biden’s proposed transportation funding — which would include a broad scope of projects, including roads, bridges, mass transit and railroads — comes with New Yorkers increasingly prizing outdoor space, open streets and cycling during the pandemic.” In 2020, New York City “added 45 miles of protected lanes and 29 miles of conventional lanes to a 1,375-mile bike lane network,” which boosters now hope to improve and expand. “An infusion of federal money, the advocates say, could help connect missing links in a citywide network whose existing sections span the Hudson River in Manhattan, along Sunset Park’s industrialized waterfront in Brooklyn, the Bronx River and along the East River in Queens.”