Summer is probably the optimal time for biking in the Hudson Valley. There are several places to do it throughout the region, and many local groups are working to make towns throughout Westchester, Putnam and Rockland more bike-friendly and conducive to other modes of transportation.
There are 9 trails and pathways throughout the three counties that allow for safe biking and walking. In the last 20 years, New York State has been given millions of dollars to encourage pedestrian and bike safety and other transportation improvements. The Federal Highway Administration allotted the state more than $424.9 million from 1992-2010 for transportation enhancement activities that encouraged and educated the public about biking and walking, and funded construction improvements to facilitate biking and pedestrian safety and other transportation-related projects.
Several projects are already in development to use these funds. In Rockland, for example, a $4.1 million continuation of the Palisades Trailway project is in development. The project involves building a paved surface to allow more bike and pedestrian paths. It won’t get underway until 2015 and should be completed by 2016 or 2017.
Efforts also are being advanced at the local and regional level to make the Hudson Valley more bike-friendly. Westchester County held Bicycle Sundays in May and June in which a part of the Bronx River Parkway was closed to cars to allow bicyclists, joggers and pedestrians to enjoy the path safely. The county will hold Bicycle Sundays again in September.
Several groups have formed to promote transportation alternatives throughout the Hudson Valley, including the Bike Walk Alliance of Westchester and Putnam. The group aims to have a representative in several cities and towns to advocate for improvements that allow people to bike and walk safely. It hosted a Westchester Bike Summit in New Rochelle in May to discuss ways to facilitate biking in the region.
In Rockland, is involved in advocacy at the state and local level. Since last year, it has been involved in helping to develop the county’s Comprehensive Plan.
In Rye, the city’s Shared Roadways Committee presented a plan in June that called for the City Council to do more to promote traffic, pedestrian and biking safety by prioritizing certain capital improvement projects, adopting a complete streets resolution and designating certain routes that are heavily used by cyclists, pedestrians and drivers as “shared roadways corridors.”
In the Town of Bedford, where there are no designated bicycle lanes, a bicycling committee has formed to advocate for this and other improvements. Terry Burke, chairman of the committee, has pushed for Bedford to get a "Bike-Friendly Community" designation from the League of American Bicyclists, which could lead to the community receiving more in tourism dollars. Burke has created a bike plan, which calls for reduced lane widths, expanded shoulders, share-the-road signs and designated bicycle lanes that cyclists hope the town will adopt.
While all these efforts are a work in progress, there are still several places and resources for cyclists in the Hudson Valley. Browse the list below to see a few of them. If we missed anything, feel free to let us know in the comments section.
Hudson Valley Bicycle Trails:
State Bike Route 9: 345 mile-trail that runs through Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and other counties.
Bronx River Pathway: 9.6 mile bike and pedestrian trail
South County Trailway: 8.1 mile bike and pedestrian trail in Westchester.
North County Trailway: 8.1 mile bike and pedestrian trail in Westchester.
Putnam County Trailway: 12-mile bike and pedestrian trail that begins on Seminary Hill Road.
Old-Croton Aqueduct Trailway: 26.2 mile bike and pedestrian trail from Yonkers to Croton Dam
Orangetown Trail: 5-mile bike and pedestrian trail in Rockland
Nyack Beach-Hook Mountain Greenway Trail: 5-mile paved and unpaved bike and pedestrian trail.
Jones Point Greenway Trail: 1.3 mile unpaved bike and pedestrian trail.
Hudson Valley Bicycle Clubs:
The Hudson Valley Rail Trail Riders: Meetup.com group based in Wappingers Falls
Local Cycling Events:
Great Hudson Valley River Pedal: In its 7th year, this 6-day, 200-mile event takes place from Aug. 16-21
22nd Annual NYC Bike Tour: 100-mile bike tour throughout New York City on Sept. 18.
New York Cycle Club’s A-Class Ride: Join the group and participate in its Aug. 14 ride at Oakland Beach in Rye.
Rockland Bicycling Club: Weekly Monday and Thursday All-Level rides at Rockland Lake
National MS Society: Bike MS Southern NY event from Tarrytown to Rockland County and back on Sept. 25. Participants can choose between either a 20-mile or 57-mile bike route.