As the marquee proclaims, the welcome mat was out in Oneida in Central New York for the recent Bicyclists Bring Business roundtable. Almost 50 local business owners, citizens, and elected and tourism officials from three counties came together to find out what other trail communities across the nation are doing and to share their enthusiasm and suggestions for attracting and meeting the needs of Canalway Trail tourists.
The following day, PTNY and NYS Canal Corporation staff joined interested citizens and tourism and government representatives to visit Oneida by bike starting at the Canalway Trail Durhamville trailhead about two miles north of the city. Riding along Route 46 into the city and experiencing the community from the perspective of a first-time bicycle tourist was an eye opener for everyone. As they made their way around the village, the group used the checklists found in PTNY’s Bicyclists Bring Business: A Guide for Attracting Bicyclists to New York’s Canal Communities to help generate a number of suggestions for improvements to signage, street infrastructure, and businesses.
Oneida was chosen as the location for this year’s roundtable because of its proximity to the Canalway Trail and the Oneida Rail Trail Committee’s recent efforts to establish a city-wide trail network on almost 11 miles of former rail beds within the community that link parks, attractions, and the central business district. The City has also applied for Transportation Enhancement Program funds to develop a trail linking the city to the Erie Canalway Trail intersection in Wampsville. The roundtable events were presented by PTNY and the NYS Canal Corporation and hosted by the Oneida Rail Trail Committee and Oneida Recreation Department.