SCHUMER: NYC’s GATEWAY NATIONAL RECREATION AREA SHOULD BE MORE ACCESSIBLE TO NEW YORKERS & TOURISTS; SENATOR URGES DEPT. OF INTERIOR TO BEGIN TOP-TO-BOTTOM REVIEW THAT COULD LINK SUBWAY STOPS WITH BUS ROUTES & MORE—PLAN COULD BOOST PARK’S VISITORS, BETTER SUPPORT AFTER-SCHOOL & YOUTH PROGRAMS
Gateway National Recreation Area is Visited By Over 7 Million Each Year But Schumer Says Many Are Still Missing Out On Experience; Gateway is Located in a Densely Populated Area Amongst an Economically Diverse Community, Yet the Park Remains Largely Isolated From Neighboring Communities
Schumer Urges Department of Interior to Work with MTA & NYC to Help Make Gateway Better Accessible; Senator Pushes for a Bus Route That Will Better Connect Surrounding Communities to Gateway & Encourage Students to Utilize the Park’s Services
Schumer: Gateway Provides Unique, Urban Park & Beach Space to Countless New Yorkers & We Should Make Sure Everyone Can Easily Access All the Park Has to Offer
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Department of Interior (DOI) to work collaboratively with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City to help make Gateway National Recreation Area better accessible by public transit. Specifically, Schumer urged DOI to dedicate funds towards a comprehensive transportation plan to best connect Gateway Park with existing transportation infrastructure.
“Despite the fact that fact Gateway National Recreation Area is located in a densely populated area amongst an economically diverse community, the unique potential of this invaluable urban park is hamstrung by insufficient public access to all that it has to offer – from beaches, to camping, to biking, to birding, to fishing, to just plain hanging out in a rare and wide-open space,” said Senator Schumer. “The Department of Interior needs to make sure that kids and families of all economic abilities are able to experience Gateway and that’s why I am strongly urging NPS to work alongside the MTA to develop a comprehensive transportation plan that will help better connect the park to neighboring communities.”
Gateway is located in the most densely populated region in the country and could attract thousands upon thousands of visitors from New York alone, however, Schumer noted that it is difficult to get to by public transportation. Schumer said that a NPS bus route to the park would help New Yorkers better access all that Gateway has to offer the community. Schumer also noted that DOI should target expanded access to Gateway for after school programs, youth groups and other potential youth partnerships within the park.
Earlier this year, President Obama announced the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative, which aims to introduce America’s youth and their families to public land and waters. The program coincides with the National park Service Centennial celebration happening in 2016. Schumer today said that better, expanded transportation options would help move forward this initiative by making sure all students can easily access Gateway National Recreation Area.
Roland Lewis, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance said, “Jamaica Bay is a natural treasure that needs attention. Federal investments are urgently needed to improve Jamaica Bay’s ecology and visitor experience, and to help people get there safely and easily. The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance applauds this very important and timely initiative.”
Cortney Worrall, Northeast Regional Director of National Parks Conservation Association and co-chair of the NY-NJ Harbor Coalition, said, “Gateway National Recreation Area has great potential to be a world-class national park, accessible to the nation’s largest urban area. With the centennial of the National Park System in 2016, we have an opportunity to realize that potential. We must continue to commit to and invest in projects that improve the park and provide better access for the millions of people who live, work and play nearby and have Jamaica Bay in their backyards. We are grateful for Senator Schumer’s leadership, and we stand ready to help.”
Tom Secunda, Board Chair of Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy said, "The JBRPC has long advocated for increased recreational and educational opportunities as well as expanded public access to the extraordinary open spaces of Jamaica Bay for the local communities and visitors alike. On behalf of the JBRPC, I would like to thank Senator Schumer for his continued attention and support for greater investment, transportation options, and collaboration between government agencies that will continue to make the Gateway National Recreation Area the nation's greatest urban park."
Gateway National Recreation Area is located in one of the most densely urbanized regions of the country, with over 20 million residents in the surrounding New York/New Jersey area. According to NPS, an average of 7,778,006 individuals visit Gateway National Recreation Area each year. In 2014, NPS released its General Management Plan for Gateway, which helps parks managers focus on what is most important in carrying out a new 20-year visit for Gateway. Schumer today said that moving forward with a comprehensive transportation plan would help to implement the recently completed General Management Plan. Moreover, Schumer urged the DOI to dedicate resources towards this effort this year and in FY2016 .
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