Yesterday was such a lovely experience – thanks to the Hudson River Greenway. People have worked hard over the decades to establish safe paths for pedestrians and other non-motorized transportation. And they succeeded in fostering for an amazing experience for bicyclists to enjoy the Hudson River and its cool breeze – not having to worry about dangerous vehicles that fill the streets of New York. I explored most of Manhattan yesterday without having to pay a taxi fee, buy gasoline, or even purchase a subway ticket.
Low Cost Travel That You Can Enjoy
My cost of a roundtrip bike ride is ~$1. I paid $500 for my bike back in 2006 and estimate a maintenance cost of $250 per year (including new batteries for lights, patched tires, etc.). If I keep my bike for ten years, then I estimate an annual cost of using my bike at ~$300 per year. Since I ride about 300 days per year, each roundtrip is ~$1. Compare that to $15+ by cab, $4-$5 by subway or bus, and $12+ if I owned a car (including storage, insurance, and fuel costs).
But not only is riding a bicycle economical, the ~10 miles per hour speed allows me to enjoy my surroundings as I pass by. When I ride on a greenway I can enjoy the sound of the gentle waves on the Hudson River, the smell of flowers and other plant life along the path (believe me, this is cherished when you live in the City), and the beautiful views – from wise trees on the hillside to the sunset-lit skyline of Jersey City.
From Uptown to the Downtown Tip And Back
Yesterday’s ride started by going crosstown in the 91st Street bike lane from my Upper East Side apartment. After winding through lovely Central Park, I rode down the hill to the Hudson River Greenway. I followed the Greenway south, passing by nice little patches of forest and lawn, old piers, and park amenities from basketball to baseball to tennis. I met some friends for lunch at a Brazilian buffet in Tribeca – so I had plenty of fuel for the rest of the day. I then rode down to Battery Park to enjoy a view of the Statue of Liberty and digest before a marathon of basketball.
The Hudson River Greenway took me north, just west of Greenwich Village where there was a great basketball court to enjoy a few hours of hoops. After the sun set, I hopped back on my bike to ride the Greenway back home uptown.
Giving Thanks to Greenways and Hoping for More
My day wouldn’t have been the same without the Greenway. Thanks to all of the visionary activists who worked hard to make them a reality, many thousands of us were able to ride safely around the City.
But we have work to do to develop the network of bike lanes so that every New Yorker has access to the riverside Greenways. And there is no need for greenways to only connect locales. I learned of a brilliant group recently called the East Coast Greenway Alliance. This organization, which started in the early 1990s, is working to establish a greenway from Calais, Maine, all the way down to Key West, Florida – an urban counterpart to the Appalachian Trail. Around 750 of the 3,000 miles envisioned have been built – so we can all play a role to complete the project in the years ahead. I can’t imagine a better way to travel to visit family in Rhode Island, DC, and North Carolina!
I’ve enjoyed greenways in New York, DC, and North Carolina – and I see this economical transport option as a crucial element of the Sustainable Energy Transition ahead.
Let’s make it happen-