Green Transportation Tips: New York’s Best Bike Routes

Green Tips | July 17, 2023

By Nate Cohen

Transportation is a huge contributor to climate change.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, transportation accounts for 29% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. This fact can largely be attributed to car trips, which contribute nearly 60% of all transportation emissions. But cars are not only the way to get around New York. From buses to trains to bicycles, many destinations can be reached entirely without an automobile. In this blog posts series, we hope to highlight how these alternatives can replace your car trips. To begin, we’ll explore some of New York’s great bicycle routes!

1. Brooklyn-Queens Greenway

The Brooklyn-Queens Greenway is a 40 mile bikeway, connecting Fort Totten, Queens, with Coney Island, Brooklyn. Consisting of off-road paths and protected bike lanes, this trail connects 13 parks, 2 botanical gardens, and countless New York City neighborhoods. Starting at the base of the Throgs Neck Bridge, the trail heads south, paralleling the Cross Island Parkway. From there, the trail turns west, traversing Kissena Corridor, Flushing Meadow, and Forest Park, before crossing into Brooklyn at Highland Park. The trail then runs the length of Eastern Park and south through Prospect Park and Ocean Parkway, before finishing at Coney Island beach. For New York City residents who reside in these sister boroughs, or frequently travel between them, this bike route provides an excellent means of safe and active transit.

2. Hudson River Greenway

While most Manhattanites already use public transit to traverse their borough, cycling still provides a viable, green alternative to the jammed buses and delayed subways. For that, there is no better route than the Hudson River Greenway. Running from Battery Park to Inwood, this path allows cyclists to travel the islands’ length, all while enjoying scenic river views. Along the way, riders can easily take side trips to suchneighborhoods as  SOHO, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, the Upper West Side or Morningside Heights and their countless restaurants and shops. This path also connects riders with the George Washington Bridge, providing easy access to New Jersey.

3. Bethpage Bikeway

Extending for 13.4 miles, from Woodbury to Massapequa, the Bethpage Bikeway provides an optimal north-south link for Long Island residents. Starting at Woodbury Road near LIE exit 45, the trail runs east to Washington Avenue. Then, following a thin strip of forest, the trail moves through Plainview and Old Bethpage, before depositing riders in Bethpage State Park. After the park, the trail continues south, crossing near Farmingdale and Plainedge, before finishing at the Massapequa Preserve. For mid-island travelers who typically use routes 135 or 110, the Bethpage Bikeway provides a fast, green, and traffic-free alternative.

4. North and South County Trailways

Running the length of Westchester County, this trail is both scenic and entirely off-road. In its southernmost section, from Yonkers to Hawthorne, the trail mostly parallels the Saw Mill Parkway. This makes the trail easily accessible from Hudson River towns like Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, and Sleepy Hollow. North of Hawthorne, the trail parallels the Taconic State Parkway, before shifting West to cut through Amawalk and Yorktown Heights. Overall, this bike route is a great option to travel between the suburban towns north of New York City.

5. Erie Canalway

Western New Yorkers, you are in luck! Extending from Albany to Buffalo, the Erie Canalway runs the length of the Erie Canal, connecting cities like Syracuse, Rochester, and Utica. While multi-day trips are possible, for most, this trail can be used to travel within cities and their surrounding suburbs. For instance, in the Rochester area, the trail follows I-390, connecting towns from Fairport to Spencerport. In the Utica area, the trail takes residents to nearby suburbs like Whitesboro and Oriskany. Wherever you are on the trail, riders may enjoy the peaceful views of the historic canal, aptly nicknamed America’s first superhighway.

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