The Shared Use Path (SUP) on the Mario Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge will provide a way for Westchester and Rockland residents and commuters to cross the Hudson in a greener, healthier and more sustainable way, using a bicycle or an e-bike when the path opens in the second half of 2019.
The Village of Nyack Sustainability Committee thanks the New York State Thruway for creating this transportation alternative that will create a new bicycle commuting option not previously available in the Lower Hudson Valley. To maximize the value of this transportation facility, we are asking that the Shared Use Path not have any limitations placed on its hours of operation.
The 2010 Mid-Hudson Regional Greenhouse Gas Inventory found that the transportation sector accounts for 45% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the Village of Nyack. As an environmentally engaged community that has been recognized by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as a bronze certified Climate Smart Community, we want to encourage our residents, businesses and visitors to live more sustainably. We think that providing expanded hours for bicycle and e-bike commuting is an easy and visible way to do that.
We recognize that the SUP will serve a dual role in Rockland and Westchester’s future. Yes, it will be a recreational draw on the weekends. But during the week, it will principally be a transportation corridor. We believe this use should be encouraged. Not to do so would limit the return on investment that New York State taxpayers have made in this infrastructure.
Keeping the Shared Use Path open 24/7 will create opportunities for people who don’t have cars when mass transit isn’t running or runs infrequently, such as late night shift workers. * This will enable bicycle commuting precisely when it is needed the most — when the HudsonLink bus service isn’t operating.
The Lower Hudson region is part of the NYC Metro area where the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, Koch, and RFK bridges are all open 24/7. The George Washington Bridge bike path is the only comparable bridge that limits its hours (12m-6a), but it was open 24/7 prior to security concerns raised following 9/11.
It makes sense that this new bridge, built to meet the needs of our communities for the next 100 years, should be governed by policies that embrace the challenge of the current century and not repeat the mistakes of the last one.
* The following position is the view of the Sustainability Committee and does not represent the position of the Village of Nyack as a whole