Parks & Trails New York and the Canalway Trails Association New York have renewed calls for funding to close the existing gaps in the Erie Canalway Trail. Trail advocates have stepped up their campaign for funding with a letter to the Governor, and plan an advocacy day in Albany at the end of April.
Earlier this year, Parks & Trails New York and the Canalway Trails Association New York (CTANY) released their fourth annual report, Closing the Gaps: A Progress Report on the Erie Canalway Trail 2013 which notes that 2013 was a year of many accomplishments:
- The trail is now 77% complete. Only 83 miles of gaps remain in the 360-mile trail that extends from Buffalo to Albany.
- Seven miles of trail were constructed in 2013 – six miles between Newark and Lyons in Wayne County and one mile in the City of Little Falls.
- The Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council completed the Erie Canalway Trail ‐ Syracuse Connector Route Project Part One which included a short-term, preferred on-road route for the trail through the City of Syracuse.
- In 2014, construction will begin on 14 miles of trail, including the eight-mile gap between Amherst and Lockport. When this gap is completed, it will result in more than 134 miles of continuous off-road trail in western New York.
The Erie Canalway Trial will not achieve its full potential as long as gaps remain. The time has come to finish the trail so it can become a world-class bicycling destination and fully connect New York’s canal communities. In a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, members of the CTANY board requested $30 million in additional funding to complete the remaining 83 miles of trail. They also stressed the contribuion of a completed trail to the quality of life and revitalization of all communities along the corridor.
In late April, members of Canalway Trails Asssociation New York, and other trail advocates will take their message to legislators in both chambers. They will stress the economic and cultural importance of the Canal and Canalway Trail to communities along the route, as well as the great potential of a completed Erie Canalway Trail to attract cyclists from around the world.
To add your voice to the call to “Close the Gaps”, contact James Meerdink at PTNY (firstname.lastname@example.org, 518.434.1583). If you can join us in Albany to advocate for completion of the Canalway Trail, we’ll provide talking points and schedule legislative appointments. If not, we can help you in drafting a letter to Governor Cuomo or other decision makers.