Kingston Greenline & Ulster County Trails Summit - Parks & Trails NY

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Martin Daley of Parks & Trails New York presented an overview of his organization's trail-related initiatives throughout New York State.

Martin Daley of Parks & Trails New York presented an overview of his organization's trail-related initiatives throughout New York State.

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  • My name is Martin Daley, I’m with the Statewide non-profit advocacy organization, Parks & Trails New York. Before I go any further I’d like to thank the Kingston Land Trust for providing me this opportunity to speak to you today.,Parks and Trails York (or PTNY for short) is a 25-year young advocacy organization dedicated to the creation, protection, and promotion of this state’s world class state parks and multi-use trails network. The presentation you are about to see is what I’d call PTNY’s standard ‘dog and pony show’ for communities that are interested in developing trails and trail networks. I’ll be speaking about the recreational, health and economic benefits of multi-use trails. I’ll highlight successful strategies for trail development, promotion and stewardship, and I’ll highlight case studies of other successful trail networks in New York State.
  • Ulster County health data:Higher rates of obesity, yet, lower rates of leisure time physical activity.Why should we address this?
  • This is where we are today.
  • New Yorkers are only minutes from a trail. Throughout the state, trails will be acknowledged as an essential and mainstream element of community infrastructure, much as utility lines and sidewalks are thought of today.  Beyond its borders, New York will be recognized as one of the most trail-rich and trail-friendly states and will attract visitors from across the nation and abroad to experience the historic communities and varied and beautiful landscapes accessible through the state’s trail network. 
  • NOTES: DEVELOP ROLL-ON SERVICE FOR BICYCLES ON AMTRAK TRAINSAmtrak serves Buffalo, Albany, and all the major cities along the Erie Canalway Trail but, despite the fact that bicycles are allowed on trains in other parts of the country, Amtrak prohibits bikes from being rolled onto the Albany to Buffalo Maple Leaf, Empire Service, and Lakeshore Limited trains. Furthermore, while bikes can be boxed and transported in the baggage car attached to the Lakeshore Limited, most stations along the Albany to Buffalo route do not have the capacity to handle baggage, essentially making this service unavailable to almost everyone.Because of the growing popularity of the Canalway Trail as a bicycling destination and the higher income level of many touring cyclists, the lack of roll-on service between Buffalo and Albany is a lost opportunity for Amtrak and the restaurants, lodging and other businesses in upstate communities that serve these cyclists. The same lost opportunity holds true for Amtrak north-south routes in New York State through the Hudson Valley and Champlain Valley.MAKE ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION A PRIORITY IN NEW YORK STATECommunities across the state are eager to provide citizens of all ages and abilities with safe, healthy, and low-cost active transportation. For more than two decades federal transportation legislation has helped communities make that happen by providing funds to build bicycle and pedestrian paths, bike lanes, sidewalks, and other infrastructure that promotes complete streets and bicycling and walking.Communities that invest in bicycle and pedestrian projects benefit from improved quality of life, a healthier population, greater local real estate values, more local travel choices, and reduced air pollution and, as was demonstrated in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, preserve the ability for people to safely get to work, school and shops when storms and other disasters interrupt motorized transportation. Bicycle and pedestrian projects also generate jobs: According to a study conducted by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, every $1 million of spending on bicycle and pedestrian project construction creates at least 9.6 jobs while road-only projects create just 7.8 jobs.• Establish a dedicated funding in the 2013-14 state budget Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), the current federal transportation bill, reduces funding for trails and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure by 30%. Having a dedicated state funding source will help assure that the level of funding for bike-ped infrastructure is, at the least maintained, or, optimally, increased. In Delaware, the state budget now dedicates $15 per capita for bike/ped infrastructure. By comparison, New York spends less than $5 per capita. Communities also need additional state assistance because: - Local governments have a difficult time with matches and upfront costs required by federal programs-Changed policies for the Marchiselli Program mean that bike/ped projects may no longer be competitive for state funds to be used as matches• Direct 100% of the new Transportation Alternatives program funds to trails and infrastructure projects that support walking and bicycling.The new federal transportation law gives New York State and its metropolitan planning organizations a much a greater role in how to use the funds allocated to trails and bicycle and pedestrian projects. The pool of money previously directed specific programs with dedicated funding, such as the Recreational Trails, Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to Schools programs, has been consolidated into the newly-created Transportation Alternatives (TA) program. States now have great latitude in deciding how these funds are spent and can even divert half of its TA funds to non-bicycle-pedestrian projects and opt out completely from the Recreational Trails program.It is crucial that the state continue its commitment to complete streets, smart growth and active transportation. Any diversions of TA funds will significantly undermine the growing movement to increase opportunities for physical activity for all New Yorkers.We also encourage New York State to utilize other MAP-21 funding programs—such as Highway Safety Improvement, Congestion Management Air Quality, and Surface Transportation Programs—to help make our communities more livable and safer for those who walk, bike and take transit to their destinations.• Release Transportation Enhancement Program funds. The state currently has as much as $50 million in dedicated, unallocated funds in the Transportation Enhancements Program. These are funds that were provided to New York by the previous federal transportation legislation, TEA-21, and can only be used to fund trails, sidewalks, and other infrastructure that supports bicycling and walking. Communities are eager to have the opportunity to apply for these funds yet, it has been four years since the state has held an application round to distribute them. New York must act quickly. If these funds are not distributed this year, New York State will most likely lose them.• Reconvene the NYS Department of Transportation’s statewide bicycle-pedestrian task force.In years past, NYSDOT has convened a statewide Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee to serve as a forum for a diverse body of stakeholders, including state agencies and nonprofits to discuss common issues and offer feedback on a variety of NYSDOT policies and initiatives related to walking and bicycling. This committee has not met since 2010. Because of the growing popularity of walking and biking among New Yorkers for alternative transportation, recreation, and health we urge that this committee begin meeting regularly again. The committee could play an important role in guiding NYSDOT’s efforts to implement Complete Streets legislation and MAP-21.• Create a plan for a statewide, interconnected network of multi-use trails.Numerous volunteer trail organizations and local, regional and state government agencies are working to develop and maintain more than 1200 miles of multi-use trails across the state. In order to advance trail development to the level being demanded by our citizens and maximize the multiple economic, environmental, health, and quality of life benefits that trails generate, New York State needs to develop a vision and a plan for a statewide multi-use trail network that will inform acquisition and development decisions and funding allocations for trail promotion, development, interpretation, and maintenance.Creation of that plan needs to be a broad-based effort involving a task force consisting of representatives of the many state agencies and other groups whose missions support trail promotion and development. Because trails are vitally important not only for recreation but also for tourism, health, alternative transportation, and community revitalization, agencies representing these other interests must be full partners at the table in order realize the fullest potential of any planning effort. Input also must be sought from local governments; regional planning authorities; regional tourism agencies; regional advisory groups representing the interests of local conservationists, outdoor and sports enthusiast groups; and federal agencies involved with greenways and heritage corridors.IMPLEMENT COMPLETE STREETS PRINCIPLESNew York State took an important step in 2011 towards safer streets for everyone by passing Complete Streets legislation. Complete Streets design principles assure that when roads are built or redesigned, they take into account the needs of everyone who uses them. The law requires consideration of people of all ages walking, riding bicycles, driving cars, and taking public transportation in any transportation project that uses federal and state funds, including the construction, reconstruction, restriping, and rehabilitation of roadways.Implementation of these principles is left to the discretion of state and local government. Infrastructure changes only need to be considered; they are not required.Some communities, large and small, urban and rural, have already adopted their own Complete Streets policies. However, NYSDOT has yet to indicate how they will respond. PTNY urges NYS DOT and the MPOs to actively implement Complete Streets in the projects they oversee and support and foster understanding and implementation of Complete Streets among practitioners at other levels of government.PROVIDE FULL, DEDICATED, PERMANENT FUNDING FOR LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND (LWCF) PTNY supports dedicated funding to the LWCF at $900 million, the maximum level authorized by Congress, without further appropriation and including $125 million for the stateside program. The LWCF has done more than any other program to expand the systems of local parks, recreational green spaces and public lands enjoyed by hundreds of millions of Americans. The LWCF is the federal government's principal means of assisting in the preservation of outdoor recreation resources including parks, trails, and wildlife lands. LWCF is funded from a fraction of the proceeds from federal offshore oil and gas leasing royalties, and uses no taxpayer dollars.Of greatest importance to New York is the stateside program which provides matching grants to states and local governments for public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. This is the only way states such as New York, with few national parks and little federal land, can receive their fair share of LWCF funds. In New York, OPRHP uses stateside program monies for stewardship and acquisition of state park lands and trail corridors as well as to fund grants to local governments for the acquisition, development and/or rehabilitation of outdoor park and recreation facilities including trails. As OPRHP’s municipal grants program has been reduced by cuts to the EPF, there is an even greater need to ensure that New York receives funding from the LWCF stateside program. SUPPORT PARK AND TRAIL VOLUNTEERSPTNY supports the creation of a standard, universal registration form for volunteers working on lands owned and managed by NYS DEC, NYS OPRHP or the NYS Canal Corporation. Volunteers must currently register to receive permission to help maintain the network of trails owned and operated by various agencies of the state. However, sometimes one trail is managed by more than one agency which means that volunteers have to fill out more than one form, because each agency has their own form which requires different information. To make the registration process less confusing and more attractive to volunteers, NYS DEC, NYS OPRHP and the NYS Canal Corporation must simply the process and establish one volunteer registration form that applies to all state-owned resources. 
  • My name is Martin Daley, I’m with the Statewide non-profit advocacy organization, Parks & Trails New York. Before I go any further I’d like to thank Dr. Gene Bunnell for providing me this opportunity to speak to you today.,Parks and Trails York (or PTNY for short) is a 25-year young advocacy organization dedicated to the creation, protection, and promotion of this state’s world class state parks and multi-use trails network. The presentation you are about to see is what I’d call PTNY’s standard ‘dog and pony show’ for communities that are interested in developing trails and trail networks. I’ll be speaking about the recreational, health and economic benefits of multi-use trails. I’ll highlight successful strategies for trail development, promotion and stewardship, and I’ll highlight case studies of other successful trail networks in New York State.

Transcript

  • 1. July 20, 2013
  • 2. Obesity rates in adults (2009) Percent of population engaged in leisure time physical activity
  • 3. OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER Thomas P. DiNapoli, State Comptroller Soaring Health Care Costs Highlight Need To Address Childhood Obesity October 2012 Why we must act today Annually, NY’ers spend approx. $11.8 billion on adult obesity- related health problems. $136.3 billion over the 10-year period from 2011 to 2020
  • 4. OUR VISION New Yorkers are only minutes from a trail. Throughout the state, trails will be acknowledged as an essential and mainstream element of community infrastructure, much as utility lines and sidewalks are thought of today. Beyond its borders, New York will be recognized as one of the most trail-rich and trail-friendly states and will attract visitors from across the nation and abroad to experience the historic communities and varied and beautiful landscapes accessible through the state’s trail network.
  • 5. SPECIFIC GOALS 1. A statewide, interconnected network of trails 2. Additional funding for trails & trails organizations 3. Close the Gaps – Complete the Canalway Trail System 4. Greater visibility & level of support for trails in New York State 5. Greater encouragement & support for trail volunteers
  • 6. HOW WE ACHIEVE THOSE GOALS 1. Develop roll-on service for bikes on Amtrak trains 2. Establish dedicated funding in the state budget 3. Direct 100% of the new Transportation Alternatives program funds to trails & infrastructure that support walking and bicycling. 4. Reconvene the NYS DOT bicycle-pedestrian task force. 5. Implement Complete Streets principles. 6. Provide full, dedicated, permanent funding for the LWCF 7. Highlight the health, economic, & community benefits of trails
  • 7. July 20, 2013