By Jeffrey Anzevino
Across the Hudson River in Tarrytown, efforts are underway to complete a trail connection whose relatively short length belies its many benefits. Why should Rockland County residents be interested? It will link the new Shared Use Path across the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge to destinations along the Westchester RiverWalk, including the Tarrytown Train Station.
RiverWalk is the planned pathway paralleling the Hudson River that will eventually span 51.5 miles — stretching from Yonkers to the Bear Mountain Bridge — and connect village centers, historic sites and riverfront parks. Implementation has been gradual — to date, about 33 miles is open to pedestrians and cyclists — and collaborative, with Westchester County, waterfront municipalities, not-for-profit organizations and private developers partnering to complete sections.
Around Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown and Irvington, very few unfinished segments remain to create miles of continuous trail. Of these gaps, the section under the Cuomo Bridge is arguably the highest priority and most challenging. Dubbed the RiverWalk Connector or Bridge RiverWalk, this 0.9-mile multi-use trail will connect the completed segment in Tarrytown’s Losee Park to that just north of Lyndhurst.
Creating an accessible trail between the RiverWalk and the bridge’s Shared Use Path will allow people from Rockland County to walk or bike to historic sites such as Lyndhurst, Sunnyside, Philipsburg Manor, Kykuit and Rockwood Hall State Park — all located along or accessible from the RiverWalk. In addition to Metro-North’s Tarrytown station, it will connect them with waterfront restaurants and business districts in Tarrytown and surrounding riverfront communities. Those with grander ambitions can hop on the nearby Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park and 750-mile Empire State Trail.
The project, which is being spearheaded by Westchester County, the Village of Tarrytown and Scenic Hudson, with active involvement from Metro-North and New York’s Department of State and Thruway Authority, has been gaining support from diverse stakeholders. This reflects the myriad benefits it would offer the region — including new and safer commuting options, less traffic congestion and pollution, new recreational opportunities and increased regional tourism. Advocates include business leaders, historic sites, tourism groups and elected officials. Bicycle organizations in Westchester, New Jersey and Rockland, including the Rockland Bike Club, are enthusiastic about the project.
The investment made to date has begun gathering great momentum. Grants totaling $645,000 from the Thruway Authority Community Benefit, Hudson River Valley Greenway and private foundations has enabled the completion of a feasibility study, preconstruction studies, public outreach and a 30% design set. Westchester County included $1.3 million in its 2022 capital budget to support the project’s environmental review, which will be coordinated by the Village of Tarrytown. Once complete, the final route will head into advanced engineering as a State of the State priority of Gov. Kathy Hochul, with $3.5 million allocated to the project in her Executive Budget, subject to legislative approval.
These two steps will take several years to complete, but the coalition is excited by the great support and looking forward to the day construction begins, taking this project from vision to reality.
Editor’s Note: Jeffrey Anzevino is Director of Land Use Advocacy for Scenic Hudson.