A shared-use path across the Hudson River that has been years in the making opened Monday. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the 2 p.m. opening on the bridge named for his late father.
Before taking scissors to ribbon, Governor Cuomo wished his late father a Happy Birthday.
“Tonight, we’re going to illuminate the bridge in blue because blue is my father’s favorite color,” Cuomo says. “And when he’s looking down, I want to make sure tonight he sees his bridge lit up blue, and I think it’ll put a smile on his face.”
Cuomo announced the path’s opening while standing on the Tarrytown side of the bridge. The 3.6-mile bicycle and pedestrian path opens with safety protocols in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. The 12-foot wide shared-use path extends from its Westchester Landing in the Village of Tarrytown to its Rockland Landing in the Village of South Nyack. Cuomo said the bridge has been economically and environmentally beneficial for the region, and sees a similar potential for the shared-use path.
“And I think that pedestrian path is going to be a home run. There are other pedestrian passes on the Hudson that attract people just to walk over the Hudson. They’re just a pedestrian path, and people by the thousands go just to walk over the Hudson. Here, you can walk over the Hudson on a beautiful bridge. You can see New York City to the south, the Hudson Valley to the north,” says Cuomo. “Yeah, I think you’re going to get thousands of people who come, and they’ll stop in local shops and they’ll stop in restaurants and they’ll stop in bars.”
Pedestrian bridge Walkway Over the Hudson, for example, attracts visitors from across the U.S. as well as abroad. New York State Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll:
“There’s been a tremendous amount of interest in the opening of this path from beyond the people that live in this region,” says Driscoll.
“One of the things that we have in our kiosks that are at each of the belvederes, information related to local shopping, dining, etcetera because we want to help support the local tourism industry as well, but there’s no question this’ll have a positive impact on the economy here in this region,” Driscoll says.
The shared-use path will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. In October 2018, when Cuomo unveiled animation of the shared-use path, hours of operation were not yet set. At the time, mayors shared concerns about a 24/7 path. Bicyclists, on the other hand, generally wanted round-the-clock access. Democratic state Assemblyman Tom Abinanti’s district includes Tarrytown.
“I applaud the governor for including a linear park as part of the new bridge. This will give people an opportunity to enjoy the scenic views, get some exercise, go someplace different as part of their recreation routine,” Abinanti says. “Especially in this time when we’re talking about social distancing, we need more places where people can walk, ride their bicycles and get away.”
However, he recognizes there are still concerns about those who want the park open for longer hours and different access.
“Unlike the new bridge, the hours of access and the access to the new linear park are not set in stone,” says Abinanti.
There are 30 parking spots at Westchester Landing Monday to Friday and 130 spots weekdays after 4 p.m. and on weekends. There are 57 parking spots at Rockland Landing. There is a four-hour time limit in the lots. Hudson Link will provide free shuttle service from large commuter parking lots in Rockland and Westchester to stop near the path's landings.
The path features six scenic overlooks, digital kiosks, interpretive signage and public art. A new website for the Mario Cuomo Bridge and path information launched today, along with a new Twitter account, @GMMCB.