Trails Across New York
The completion of the visionary Empire State Trail has sparked a larger conversation about the value of a truly interconnected greenway trail network. Continuing to build and enhance greenway trail networks that connect communities will enhance travel, recreation, and tourism.
- Additional connections between the Empire State Trail and regional trail networks guarantee all New Yorkers have access to a trail within a short distance of their homes.
- Trails are developed in communities and regions, such as Long Island, that are not connected to the Empire State Trail.
- Ample funding is identified for the construction of new trails, maintenance and enhancements of existing trails, and pursuance of land acquisition opportunities to connect existing trail segments.
- The Statewide Greenway Trails Plan is a guide for future planning efforts, driving the state towards a more comprehensive vision for the future of trail planning efforts.
- A wide array of amenities are regularly accessible along trails, meeting the needs of users of all ages and abilities
- On-road bicycle infrastructure creates opportunities for safer and more accessible cycling for riders of all ages and abilities.
Extend the Empire State Trail
Work to establish the 750-mile Empire State Trail was completed in 2020, connecting communities from New York City to Albany to Canada. However, large parts of the state remain disconnected from the state greenway trail network. By completing connecting corridors such as the Long Island Greenway, Genesee Valley Greenway, and Niagara Shoreline Trail, and continuing to close existing gaps in the Empire State Trail and connect trails with nearby communities, all New Yorkers can enjoy safe places to walk and bike.
Encourage trail development by clarifying the state’s Recreational Use Statute
By amending the “Recreational Use Statute” in the General Obligations Law, those who allow the public access to their land for recreational purposes will not be held liable for actions resulting in harm or death. Adding recreational trail use to the list of other activities already covered under the General Obligations Law promotes the safe and lawful recreational use of largely underutilized land, such as along railroad rights-of-way, and fosters increased trail development and connectivity.
Enact the NYS SAFE Streets package of bills
Pass the NYS SAFE Streets Act to redesign our streets, prioritize safety for all road users, address speeding, require vehicles to maintain at least three feet between cyclists and other vulnerable road users, mandate vehicle safety technology, and provide support to those personally impacted by crashes.
Clarify provisions within the E-Bikes legislation
In order to promote the use of e-bikes as a viable form of alternative transportation, New York State must repeal the prohibition on the use of electric bicycles on roads with speed limits above 30 mph, legalize e-bikes by default on shared-use paths where bicycles are already allowed, define e-bike classes consistent with national industry standards, limit local authority to prohibit e-bike use, and repeal the provision requiring single-file use.
Ensure that all greenway trail users can safely cross roadways when necessary
Increase safety and reduce confusion by treating all modes on shared-use paths consistently. Ensure that anyone using a crosswalk in a location where a shared use path crosses a roadway has legal right of way, including cyclists, subject to the same limitations provided in VAT § 1151.
Eliminate barriers to pedestrian and bicycle access on NYS bridges
Bridges over water bodies, railroads or other roadways are often barriers to safe pedestrian and bicycle access, rather than connections. Legislation passed in 2021 requires the MTA to develop a plan to promote cycling and pedestrian access on MTA-owned bridges. However, the same challenges face bridges owned by other state entities, such as NYSDOT, the NYS Thruway Authority and the NYS Bridge Authority. The state should require these other entities to conduct a review of bicycle and pedestrian access on roadway and railway bridges and other facilities, and develop a similar set of recommendations, identifying significant gaps and barriers and ensuring consistency with Federal Highway Administration guidelines for Bridge Program funding.