GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Greenburgh residents are thrilled the gap in a 14-mile-long rail trail finally will be closed, said town Supervisor Paul Feiner.
However, one of them has suggested that, in an addition to the $3 million project, a pedestrian bridge or tunnel be built to carry bicyclists and walkers safely over Route 119. Also known as Old Tarrytown Road, the busy, four-lane roadway links White Plains and Tarrytown with the Village of Elmsford, which is in the Town of Greenburgh.
Feiner, who is a bicyclist himself, said he thinks it's "a great idea."
"The trail is very popular," the supervisor said Tuesday. "A bridge would make using it safer, less stressful and more fun."
Westchester legislators last month approved plans to close up a mile-long hole in the South County Trailway, according to a report by lohud.com.
The South County Trailway runs from New York City to Eastview at the Greenburgh-Mount Pleasant border. It connects with the 22-mile long North County Trailway, which runs up to the Putnam County border. That connects to the 7-mile-long Putnam County Trailway, Feiner said.
That’s a total of about 44 miles of trail, according to NYC Bike Maps.
The gap runs from slightly south of Route 119 (West Main Street) in downtown Elmsford to Warehouse Lane in Greenburgh.
Work on the missing link could begin this spring.
Feiner said he plans to write to the county asking it if a state or federal grant could be found to pay for the bridge or tunnel. He added that, at this point, he doesn't know how much the add-on would cost.
Of the many e-mails the supervisor said he has received about the trailway, one reminded him that a Hartsdale resident had been killed on another section of Route 119. Merrill Cassell, a community leader and activist, was hit and killed by a Beeline bus as he rode his bike on Route 119 in Greenburgh in 2009. The bus driver was not charged.
About a year later, the state passed “Merrill’s Law,” in honor of the avid cyclist, according to BicycleLaw.com. It requires motorists to keep a “safe distance” away from bicyclists.
In New York, that’s a minimum of 3 feet. In other states, a safe distance may be as much as 4 feet, according to BicycleLaw.com .