Despite not having designated street markings, Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin said the city is accessible to bicyclists.
“On a beautiful day like today, why wouldn’t you want to get on a bicycle and go somewhere?,” he said.
The accessibility for bicyclists, while good in Cortland, isn’t shared across all Central New York counties, but Cortland and four other counties are working with the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board to create the CNY Peacemaker Trail.
The trail will comprise 826 miles spanning Cortland, Cayuga, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego connecting in 29 corridors, said development board Program Manager Jeanie Gleisner said in an email.
This will include creating bike lanes on roads along with CNY Peacemaker Trail signs, according to a design map of the project. In Cortland County, the corridors will follow Route 281 in Cortlandville, Route 11 in Marathon and Route 13 in Truxton.
In the city of Cortland, the trail will extend from the city limits at the north end of Homer Avenue to North Main and along Main Street and Clinton Avenue, Tobin said.
Additional connections would link to places like Lime Hollow Nature Center, Gleisner said.
The trail, conceived in 2014, is “a tourism and economic development initiative to develop a bike touring network of interconnected bike corridors to link visiting (and resident) cyclists to the region’s wonderful collection of heritage and outdoor recreation resources,” she said.
The trail is in the planning stages with municipalities and there is no firm finishing date at this point, Gleisner said. In addition, there was no set funding cost as each part will be different. Once planning is complete, funding can be aided by federal transportation or state planning and development grants.
Cortlandville received and filed Wednesday the final map for the Homer to Cortland section of trail at its Town Board meeting. Supervisor Tom Williams said he did not have details on Cortlandville’s section.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt daily life, Gleisner said funding for the trail may be tight as municipalities focus elsewhere. But once completed, the network would greatly benefit cyclists in the region.
“Cyclists already know that central New York offers some of the best biking topography and scenery around,” she said. “All we need to do is make it safe and welcoming, with the services they’ll be looking for.”
Tobin said that the project will complement the work to put in bike lanes on Clinton Avenue already as a way to help improve cycling accessibility in the city.
And while Cortland’s section of the project is still in the planning stages and may take a couple of years to finish, Tobin said it “will benefit cyclists of all ages.”