Planners aim to link RiverWalk to Rockland via Tappan Zee

A view of the Tappan Zee Bridge from

A view of the Tappan Zee Bridge from Riverwalk Park in Tarrytown. (Feb. 28, 2012) (Credit: Chris Serico)

Outdoor recreation fans may someday be able to bike and walk from Yonkers -- or even New York City -- and go all the way across the Hudson River into Rockland County, planning officials say.

The route would build on Westchester's ambitious RiverWalk project, which aims to connect 50 miles of trails, riverfront promenades and sidewalks so that they run continuously through 14 municipalities along the Hudson. About 60 percent of it is already in place, with new sections expected in coming years. One future chunk will approach and somehow link up with the new $5.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge, which is expected to have pedestrian paths of its own that will link up Rockland and Westchester counties.

"We certainly expect our RiverWalk to run under the bridge," Westchester County spokeswoman Donna Greene confirmed. "So yes, someone could someday go from New York City to Rockland."


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Just how this will work remains to be seen because bridge project officials have not yet selected a builder-designer who would be responsible for finalizing blueprints. But the topic was raised on Thursday during a forum on climate change issues held in Peekskill.

One of the speakers was Westchester County associate planner Paul Gisondo, who presented an update on RiverWalk and fielded a question from the audience on the potential impact of the new bridge.

"We are going to go under it," he said. A half- to three-quarter-mile stretch of RiverWalk would be involved and details need to be worked out, Gisondo explained. But because Westchester County Planning Commissioner Ed Burroughs sits on the design committee for the new bridge, "he is going to make sure that it's not forgotten," Gisondo said.

County officials have said in the past that the cost of creating new sections of RiverWalk runs about $1 million per mile. New pieces are in design now for the JFK Marina in Yonkers and Dobbs Ferry's Waterfront Park. Since RiverWalk connects directly to more than a dozen Metro-North train stations, visitors could hop on and off at many points, making the project a boon to tourism.

A New York State Thruway Authority representative did not return a call requesting comment.

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