YONKERS, N.Y. – The completion of the last major section of the North and South County Trailways was celebrated in Yonkers on Monday afternoon with a ribbon cutting as it marked the completion of a project that has spanned over 30 years.
“Great things are worth waiting for and accomplishing them can take a lot of time,” said Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. “It also takes a lot of vision, dedication and a great amount of work and in the end we have a trailway that draws thousands of walkers and joggers and bikers and families.”
The 36-mile path, popular with bicyclists, joggers, skaters and walkers, runs throughout Westchester from the border of the Bronx to the Putnam County line. A two-mile section at Redmond Park in Yonkers hosted the ribbon cutting on Monday as several former county executives and others involved in the project over the years celebrated.
“It took a great deal for the government to stay consistent through administration after administration after administration to get this project completed and I’m very happy to hear the last sections now are being completed,” said former County Executive Alfred DelBello.
The remaining work on the trailway is a planned construction of a half-mile detour between Route 119 in Elmsford and Warehouse Lane in Greenburgh. Astorino said design for this portion will begin soon.
The recently completed Yonkers section of the trail is a 10-foot wide, two mile paved path for biking and walking that runs from Redmond Park to Tuckahoe Road. It is the final major section of the 14-mile South County part of the trailway, which runs from Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to Eastview at the border of Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant.
The trailway itself is built on the railroad beds along the right-of-way of the Old Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad.
“After 100 years of a wonderful railroad we’re probably going to have 300 or 400 years of a wonderful trailway,” said Joe Schiavone, who authored “The Last of The Old Put” based on the old railroad.
Westchester County bought the South County Trailway property in 1991 for $2.1 million, which was more than a decade after the state had purchased the North County Trailway and leased it to the county for use. The state completed the first part of the northern section in 1981 with a two-mile stretch from Route 117 to the Briarcliff Library. The first portion of the South County Trailway was completed in 1999, which ran 5.1 miles from Route 119 in Elmsford to Farragut Avenue in Hastings.
Local cyclists attended the ribbon cutting in droves and some said the completion of the trailway is a great step for the county moving forward.
“We think Westchester needs to do more in terms of infrastructure needs for biking, but this is a fantastic thing,” said David McKay Wilson, a local newspaper reporter and the advocacy director of the Westchester Cycle Club. “We think there’s a lot more that can be done, but this is the crown jewel.”