Greenway Trails Advocacy

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In celebration of New York State Parks’ Centennial in 2024, Parks & Trails New York envisions a fully realized network of linear greenspace–accessible to all New Yorkers and functioning as a driver for equity, public health, and the economy–connecting New York State for the next 100 years and beyond.

In order to achieve this vision, New York needs both regulations that support the development of the network, as well as dedicated funding to take plans from paper to reality. Parks & Trails New York recognizes the pivotal moment we are in, with the completion of the Empire State Trail and the need to continue to build momentum and invest in the next generation of greenway trails. Launched with the inaugural Greenways Advocacy Summit in May 2024, PTNY is building a statewide coalition of greenway trail advocates who will collaboratively drive New York toward a more sustainable, safer, better-connected future.


Join the NYS Greenways Movement

PTNY is building a “big tent” network of advocates, planners, engineers, designers, champions, and public health professionals plus representatives from local businesses and economic development teams who recognize the power of greenway trails to transform communities.

In May 2024, PTNY kicked off the formation of the movement by hosting the inaugural Greenways Advocacy Summit to garner support for seven key greenway bills and win a new influx of state capital and planning funding for trails.

Over the coming months, PTNY will be hosting opportunities for interested coalition members to get involved and help chart the future of our state’s greenway advocacy strategy.

Greenways Advocacy Strategy Webinar

On June 25, PTNY hosted a webinar to recap the inaugural Greenways Advocacy Summit, including the wins we made together during the 2024 legislative session, and provide an opportunity for the group to discuss priorities, next steps and strategies for the remainder of the year and into 2025.

Attendees contributed their ideas, helping us to identify key actions and resources necessary to drive our shared priorities forward in the 2025 legislative session. Together, we are working together to build a robust network of greenways advocates and achieve our shared vision for a safe, interconnected greenway network across the state. Got questions or feedback on our strategy or ideas for bills? Email trails@ptny.org with your thoughts.


Advocacy Priorities

Pass the Greenway Trails for a Green Future bill package

This visionary new package of legislation would greatly improve trail user safety and spur the development of new greenway trails across New York State. This package consists of three bills that would improve the trail user experience across the state and four bills that would remove regulatory barriers, create incentives, and explore other opportunities to expand New York’s network of greenway trails to serve all New Yorkers.

Explore the bills

Trail User Safety & Experience

  • Right-of-Way for All Trail Users in Crosswalks | A8272 (Fahy) /S8210 (Cooney) - Clarify that bicyclists using a crosswalk have the same right-of-way protections afforded to pedestrians. By treating all trail users consistently, confusion and safety risks for bicyclists will be reduced.
  • Empire State Trail Detour Requirements | A8274A (Fahy)/S7807A (Serrano) - PASSED BOTH HOUSES - Require the establishment of safe detour routes during temporary closures of sections of the Empire State Trail. New York State welcomes thousands of visitors from around the world for long distance, multi-day trips on the Empire State Trail. This bill ensures that trail users are provided safe alternative routes to continue their trips when the trail must be closed for safety or construction.
  • Greenway Trail Design Standards | A8301B (Fahy)/S7806B (Serrano) - PASSED THE SENATE - Direct OPRHP to promulgate uniform design standards for all new greenway trails established under its jurisdiction to ensure a consistent, simple, high-quality trail user experience across our statewide trail network.

Trail Network Expansion & Connections

  • Power Line Trails | A8311A (Fahy) /S7891 (Harckham) - Encourage the development of recreational multi-use trails in NYS’s vast network of electric utility corridors by allowing utility providers to enter into written agreements for the construction and maintenance of power line trails. The legislation would also require utility providers to provide informational resources and to notify municipalities about the potential to build a trail in the corridor when planning for the expansion or construction of transmission lines. This bill will set the stage to expand the state’s network of greenway trails by focusing on New York State’s plans for billions of dollars in investment to update existing, and construct new, transmission lines.
  • CHIPS Funding Update | A8273B (Fahy) /S7890B (Harckham) - Allow funding from New York’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) program provided to local governments for transportation purposes to be used to construct and maintain greenway trails. Identified as a priority in the 2021 Statewide Greenway Trails Plan, this bill gives municipalities flexibility to invest in healthy, green transportation.
  • Recreational Use Statute | A6004 (Barrett)/S2701 (Harckham) - Encourage the development of rails-with-trails, power line trails, and other greenway trails by clarifying the liability of property owners who allow the public to access their land for recreational purposes. Protects property owners who allow recreational access to their property from actions resulting in harm or death, removing a critical barrier to trail creation.
  • Bicycle & Pedestrian Access on Bridges | A8300A (Fahy) /S9313 (Comrie)- Direct the NYS Bridge, Thruway and other Public Authorities to promote bicyclist and pedestrian access on bridges statewide and to consider the impact of capital projects on bicyclist and pedestrian access. Across New York State, bridges over water bodies, other roadways or railroads are often barriers to pedestrian and bicycle access, rather than connections. This bill will assess significant gaps and barriers in statewide bicycle/pedestrian networks to enhance connectivity.

Secure dedicated state funding for greenway trails

Available funding sources are not sufficient to ensure consistent growth of the trail network. Funding for greenway trail development is available at the federal and state levels, and may be available from local or private sources, depending on the project. Funding at the federal level is extremely competitive, with strong projects from all over the country vying for the same funds. New York has various funding sources that can be tapped into for trail development, but compared to the number of potential projects out there, offer insufficient funding and are not consistent enough to allow full build-out of the envisioned network.


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