The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Planning Bureau has just released their Draft Statewide Greenway Trails Plan. This is the culmination of a year-long effort to develop a comprehensive document addressing New York’s statewide system of non-motorized multi-use trails. You can explore the map at https://greenway-trails-plan-nysparks.hub.arcgis.com/. They have a pretty accurate picture of the current gaps in our greenway trail:
Once we can fill in the gaps, the Eastern Queens Greenway will not only be the backbone for many who commute to school and work, but also as a destination to enjoy the wonders of Eastern Queens. We’ve created our own map to who people what the greenway could look like and to help encourage everyone to explore their parkland.
We applaud the authors’ focus on making paths that are ADA accessible and recognizing the variety of users that we need to design for. We see many of our values mirrored in the stated goals of this document:
- Prioritize the development and expansion of greenway trails in under served communities.
- Collect and publish information to aid in the planning, development, and management of greenway trails.
- Expand the state’s greenway trails system to reach more New Yorkers in more areas.
- Provide funding opportunities for the acquisition, planning, development, and maintenance of greenway trails.
- Foster greater collaboration between agency and stakeholder partners to advance greenway trails in New York
- Promote the greenway trails system as a destination for tourism, healthy recreation,and active lifestyles.
- Enhance bicycle and pedestrian transportation options by connecting greenway trails and communities.
Of special note to us was the funding already given to greenway trails across our state.
“Over the past ten years, greenway trails in New York have been awarded more than $40 million through Federal and State grant programs administered by the NYSDOT and OPRHP. By covering much of the planning, design,engineering, and construction costs, these grants have played a critical role in making shared-use greenway trails a reality in communities across the state.”NY Statewide Greenway Trails Plan | Chapter 1, page 13
Greenways become more valuable the better we can connect them. We not only hope to complete our greenway in Eastern Queens, but hope to link to other greenways connecting the state. Chapter 3 focuses on the Greenway Trail Benefits, from the health and happiness of outdoor activity, to the recreational and transportation functions, and even to the historic identity and powerful economic drivers that greenways bring to their communities. With the current budget constraints, we hope that greenways are used as a cost effective tool to connect our communities in many different ways.
This draft proposal will be collecting comments through January 19, 2021 by e-mail at StatewideTrailsPlan@parks.ny.gov. You can also watch or speak at the virtual public hearing held at 6:00 p.m. on January 6, 2021.
If you’d like to see more documents on State’s progress, visit their website here or read the full greenway report: