In the coming years New York will have one of the longest bike and walking trails in the United States, a continuous 750 mile path forming a T across New York. Lawmakers like Assemblywoman Pat Fahy want to make the most of it.
“We want to make sure we're connecting all the communities along the way such as right here in Albany,” said Fahy. “We want to make sure we're going to connect to the trail as it goes through from the outskirts of Albany County up through to the river towns.”
The Legislature earlier this year approved a bill meant to create a master plan for trails in New York, connecting various smaller walking and bike paths in the state to the coming Empire State Trail and improve their use in the process.
“Some of this is converting unused trails or places that have real constraints in terms of streets and trying to squeeze in a bike path in a safe manner,” said Fahy.
The hope is to take advantage of trail that state officials hope will be a major tourist draw and boost the economy as well.
“The connectivity that will help really grow our tourism and small businesses because the studies show where you have the trails, small businesses are spawned right from there,” said Fahy.
At the same time, the trail will provide something unique other states do not have.
“It really puts New York on the map, competing with other states and then to be able to say we have the longest will really draw New York as the place to go for your adventure tourism,” said Fahy.
The final connections on the Empire Trail are set to be completed by the end of 2020.