Bear Mountain State

September 29, 2023
Bear Mountain State Park

This 1998 photo shows the Bear Mountain State Parkway near its western terminus in Peekskill. Unlike the other Westchester parkways, the Bear Mountain Parkway has not had any significant structural changes over the years.(Photo by Steve Anderson.)

FROM THE TACONIC TO BEAR MOUNTAIN: Originally designated as the "Bronx Parkway Extension, " the route of the Bear Mountain State Parkway was approved by the New York State Legislature in 1923 and later adopted by the Westchester County Parks Commission. Combined with the already completed section of the Bronx River Parkway, this parkway was to provide a scenic, rapid route from New York City to the Bear Mountain Bridge. When the parkway opened in 1932, promotional literature from the Parks Commission touted that motorists could travel between the two points in 45 minutes.

Extending north from the original terminus of the Bronx River Parkway in Valhalla, the "Bronx Parkway Extension" - today known as the Taconic State Parkway - continued north to Yorktown in northern Westchester County. From here, the "extension" diverged. For Putnam County and points north, motorists could continue north on the "Eastern State Parkway, " which today is known as part of the Taconic State Parkway. For the Bear Mountain Bridge and points west of the Hudson River, motorists could continue west on the "extension, " which later became known as the Bear Mountain State Parkway.

Like many Westchester parkways, this road was constructed as a "hybrid" at-grade and limited-access parkway. However, unlike the other parkways, the Bear Mountain State Parkway remains an undivided, four-lane arterial. Most maps place the name change to the "Bear Mountain State Parkway" sometime in the 1940's.

The Bear Mountain State Parkway was never completed in its entirety. Today, the parkway exists in two separate segments. The western 3.8-mile segment, which runs from the intersection of US 6-US 9-US 202 at the Janspeek Bridge (Annsville Creek) to Crompond Road (US 202), traverses the northern edge of the city of Peekskill. An eastern 0.9-mile segment connects the Taconic State Parkway (at Hunter Brook State Park) with Crompond Road (US 202) in the Town of Yorktown. Between these two segments, a gap of 1.8 miles remains. The right-of-way for the unbuilt section of the Bear Mountain State Parkway in the towns of Cortlandt and Yorktown remains set aside for its construction.

According to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the Bear Mountain State Parkway handles approximately 15, 000 vehicles per day (AADT). Currently, the NYSDOT is rehabilitating the existing parkway section through Peekskill, from US 9 east to US 6-US 202-NY 35. The $10 million project is scheduled for completion in 2003.

CONVERTING AND EXTENDING THE BEAR MOUNTAIN PARKWAY: In 2000, the NYSDOT and the Westchester County Department of Planning proposed completing the "missing link" of the Bear Mountain State Parkway. The entire route, which today is restricted to passenger cars, would be converted for use to all vehicles. Visual and noise abatements, as well as the construction of a multi-use trail, would be integrated into the controlled-access "greenway" design.

On May 18, 2002, residents from Peekskill, Cortlandt and Yorktown met to discuss sustainable development on the Bear Mountain State Parkway and the US 6 / US 202 / NY 35 corridors. Residents from all three towns agreed on the need to fill in the missing link on the parkway, in order to relieve congestion on the existing US 6 / US 202 / NY 35. They also agreed on the need for interchange improvements on the parkway. However, they did not reach a consensus on allowing truck traffic on the corridor, voicing concerns about keeping the parkway aesthetically pleasing.

In 1956, the Westchester County Planning Department proposed a new expressway along the US 6-US 202 corridor. The Peekskill-Brewster Expressway, which was to be a realignment and improvement of the existing US 6 and US 202, was to be signed as US 202 throughout its entire 20-mile length in Westchester and Putnam counties, and multiplexed with US 6 for 14 miles between the Bear Mountain Bridge and Baldwin Place.

In its recommendation report, the planning department advocated the expressway as a medium-to-high priority corridor:

The expressway will provide connections among the Bear Mountain Bridge, the proposed US 9 expressway, the Taconic State Parkway and the proposed NY 22 expressway as the northernmost, cross-county thoroughfare. It will improve or replace portions of US 6 (in the Towns of Cortlandt and Yorktown), which will continue to be an important inter-county route regardless of whether or not it is relocated to the north of Westchester County in the future. Finally, the expressway will provide an east-west, mixed-traffic route to serve rapidly growing areas in Cortlandt and Yorktown.

fireworks at Bear Mountain State Park, NY
fireworks at Bear Mountain State Park, NY
11/09/2013 Bike Ride Perkins Tower,Bear Mountain State Park NY
11/09/2013 Bike Ride Perkins Tower,Bear Mountain State Park NY
Vlog USA #10 : Bear Mountain State Park (Nowy Rok !)
Vlog USA #10 : Bear Mountain State Park (Nowy Rok !)
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