To the editor:
(re: “Putnam Trail is a nightmare,” Sept. 1)
In their recent letter about the Putnam Trail, Debbi Dolan and Matt Turov correctly describe the dangerous conflicts that occur on the Van Cortlandt Park trail among walkers, runners, bicyclists and illegal motorcyclists.
As an avid hiker, runner and bicyclist, I am a frequent user of the Putnam Trail, and have also witnessed such conflicts. However, what is not mentioned in the letter is that the Putnam Trail as a shoulder-less 10-foot wide paved path, was a compromise after many years of community protest and input.
Once the trail crosses the border into Westchester County, the trail becomes a wider 12-foot paved path with several feet of mowed grass on either side most of the time. The conflicts seen in Van Cortlandt Park rarely occur across the border due to the wider, more open, design.
The city’s parks department, in constructing the trail, basically sacrificed safety in order to minimize the removal of trees, shrubbery and brush along the trail, to somewhat satisfy those who opposed paving the trail. But this meant that enforcement of the rules against faster motorcycles and e-bikes was essential, something that has not been done.
The lack of parks enforcement is a problem throughout Van Cortlandt Park. I have also seen ATVs and motorcycles terrorizing walkers and runners on the Parade Ground.
We need to recognize that the safety hazards of the Putnam Trail are the result of compromises made in creating the trail, but accept it as a fait accompli. Now, if only parks enforcement could help out by getting rid of the illegal motorcycles and motorbikes that use the trail — and the rest of the park — without any fear of consequences.