The Empire State Trail (EST), announced early in 2017 during Governor Cuomo's State of the State message, is a 750-mile multi-use trail combining on and off-road paths to span from the Canadian borders near both Plattsburgh and Buffalo to New York City. While geographically extensive, the EST “ends” at Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, excluding Long Island and the seven million residents of Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk.
UCS worked closely with TPL to conduct a digital survey of utility corridors and on-road connections to develop the route as well as a preliminary cost estimate for design and construction. UCS conducted an extensive literature review of precedent utility trails, traffic safety data and the current landscape for biking/hiking.
In conjunction with TPL and the New York Bicycling Coalition, UCS led three public visioning workshops and met with more than 60 stakeholders including numerous public agencies, local planning departments and leadership in both Nassau and Suffolk County as well as Long Island Rail Road and the Long Island Power Authority.
In conjunction with TPL's team, UCS developed a feasible trail alignment. This trail leveraged utility corridoors and existing parkland to achieve a 50% off-street route.
UCS also identified a pilot section of the proposed trail alignment for a more detailed planning study as well as a series of ancillary recommendations such as bicycle connectivity upgrades between the trail alignment and proximate transit facilities.
This pilot feasibility study is currently underway and is anticipated to be complete in winter of 2019.