Editor's Note: Information in this article was provided by Westchester County.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. - A 36.8-mile trailway running from the Bronx to Putnam County is one step closer to completion, Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced Thursday.
In January, Astorino proposed building a final link to connect the north and south county trailways, and last week, the Board of Acquisition and Contract (A&C) unanimously gave the go-ahead for construction.
“The north and south county trailways are truly gems within our park system, providing recreation to thousands each year,” Astorino said. “Connecting them will now provide more than 36 miles of uninterrupted pathways for walkers, joggers and bikers. After more than 30 years, with cooperation at all levels of government and across many administrations, two great trailways will be even better as they are joined together.”
The A&C action authorizes the county to construct a 0.6-mile asphalt pathway from Warehouse Lane in the Town of Greenburgh south to Main Street (Route 119) in the village of Elmsford. Currently, trail users must detour along Warehouse Lane and Route 9A through Elmsford.
Construction of the final phase is expected to begin in spring 2017, with a fall 2017 completion date.
Robert Hermann, president of the Westchester Cycle Club, said the 1,200-plus members who use the trailway regularly will now have a safer cycling path.
“I see a lot of friends of cycling here, starting with the county executive, who has been completely supportive of promoting safe cycling in this county as exemplified by this project,” Hermann said. “We also want to thank the Board of Legislators, [Greenburgh Supervisor] Paul Feiner, who’s been a very strong advocate for cycling, as well as my late law partner, former County Executive Al Del Bello, who began this pro-cycling effort way back in the 1970s. We're very happy to see it continued.”
The south and north County trailways meet in Eastview, on the border between Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant. Together, the trailways allow bicyclists and pedestrians to travel mostly along right-of-way lands of the former Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad (the “Old Put”), from Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to the Putnam County border between the towns of Somers and Carmel.
In June, the Board of Legislators approved a $2.75 million bond act for the project, as well as a 25-year lease with the New York State Department of Transportation to construct and operate a portion of the trailway on state property along the Saw Mill River. On July 28, the Westchester County Board of Acquisition and Contract unanimously authorized the county to seek a contractor for the project.
Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz said the trailway brings value to both the county’s quality of life and economy.
“On behalf of the legislature, we've been very proud to work with County Executive Astorino and past executives in a partnership to invest county dollars in this very important economic and recreational facility,” Kaplowitz said. “There are so many valuable pieces from a recreational standpoint, an economic standpoint, and a quality of life standpoint. Through many of the towns and villages that the trail goes through, there are cottage industries that are growing up because of that ribbon of trail.”
New York State began construction of the North County Trailway in the 1980s, leasing the rights to the county. In 1991, Westchester acquired the right-of-way for the South County Trailway.