Until now, the abbreviation BC stood for “before Christ.” Going forward, it could take on the added meaning of “Before Covid.”
The new 3.6-mile cycling, running, and walking path across the Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge was conceived BC, and then completed AC.
Since its opening this summer, the path has attracted scores of pedestrians, runners, and pedalers. On weekends, the parking lots at the landings in Tarrytown and Nyack often fill up early.
Even by BC standards, the path feels narrow at 12 feet in width — half for two-leggers and half for two-wheelers. Those who stay in their lanes must pass within inches of each other.
Signs remind users to wear masks and to remain 6 feet apart. Regarding the masks, some do and some don’t. Social distancing, meanwhile, is impossible at times.
In response, ideas surfaced such as designating timeslots for cycling and walking, widening the existing path, or adding another path. Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner posted an online survey to solicit public feedback about timeslots. Most responses were not in favor of that idea.
In contrast, Feiner reported that most of the messages he received apart from the survey were in favor of widening the path, which would require removing part or all of the shoulder or bus lane.
The bridge was built for cars and trucks. With wide shoulders on both sides of both spans, there is space for motorists in distress to pull over and not obstruct traffic, unlike the Tappan Zee Bridge.
The necessity of the bus lane is questionable. Yes, it’s important to encourage the use of public transportation. That lane, however, seems like a placeholder for light rail or another future option.
It’s also possible that cyclists, runners, and walkers could co-exist with the current configuration. For that to happen, all need to remain in their lanes and not treat the path as if it’s a speedway.
Issues aside, being on the path, over the river, is a worthwhile experience, especially at the six overlooks. To avoid the crowds, set out on a weekday, the earlier or later the better.