Close the Gaps messages travel length of Canalway Trail

2014-08-22 12.41.26

On Friday, August 22nd PTNY staff were joined by members of the Albany Bicycle Coalition (ABC) for a special delivery to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. They brought personalized messages of support and excitement for Closing the Gaps that remain in the Erie Canalway Trail from riders who had recently completed PTNY’s Cycling the Erie Canal bike tour (CTEC).

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat” could prevent the Closing the Gaps message from reaching Governor Cuomo, as PTNY and ABC’s amateur couriers delivered the postcards gathered on CTEC via bike in light rain and gloomy skies. Peter Walke and Ari Schechter from the Governor’s office brought their umbrellas and met the group on the Capitol steps for the handoff.

20140822_123115The Erie Canalway Trail (ECT) extends 360 miles across New York State. More than 75% ( 277 miles) of the trail are open to the public. When complete, it will be the longest trail of its kind in the nation and a world-class destination for cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The ECT brings important economic and environmental benefits to the more than 3.7 million New Yorkers who live in the 14 counties along its route: 1.6 million annual visits, $253 million in total trail-related sales, $28.5 million in taxes, and 3,440 jobs supported according to a new report by PTNY, The Economic Impact of the Erie Canalway Trail: An Assessment and User Profile of New York’s Longest Multi-use Trail.

However, the ECT cannot reach its full potential and offer maximum economic and quality of life benefits until it is finished from Buffalo to Albany as a continuous, off-road trail. Since PTNY and the Canalway Trails Association New York (CTANY) launched their “Closing the Gaps” campaign in 2010 in conjunction with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, interest in completing the ECT among citizens, community leaders, and local, state and federal government officials has reached an all-time high.

PTNY’s annual, Cycling the Erie Canal bike tour brings more than 500 cyclists to upstate New York. Each year, cyclists from across the country and from around the world – a group of Australian riders took the “farthest travelled” award this year – come to cross the state aside the historic Erie Canal. This year’s ride began in Buffalo on July 13, and finished in Albany one week later. The bike tour demonstrates the great recreational and economic potential of the ECT and also brings into focus the need for its completion as a continuous, off-road trail.

Thank you to all the riders who took the time to show their support for Closing the Gaps and to Albany Bike Coalition for helping us to deliver the message!

Read more about the Close the Gaps postcard delivery in the Times Union, and don’t miss coverage from Channel 6.

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