Putnam Greenway, Van Cortlandt Park

Map of the proposed Putnam Rail Trail
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Project Overview

Appearing on the earliest Master Plans for the New York City Greenway System, the Putnam Greenway in Van Cortlandt Park is part of a more than 40-mile former spur of the New York Central Railroad, retired first from passenger service in the 1950s and then finally from freight service in the late 1980s.  In Westchester County and beyond the majority of the former rail line has been developed as a rail trail. The current NYC Parks project will provide connectivity for bicyclists, wheelchairs, skaters, and carriages as well as improve conditions for walkers, runners and joggers.

NYC Parks’ Current Plans for the ‘Old Put’

A proposed section view of the Putnam Rail Trail Type 1

A proposed section view of the Putnam Rail Trail Type 2

A proposed section view of the Putnam Rail Trail Type 3

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Slightly more than one and a half miles of the former rail line runs down the middle of Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Using federal transportation funding allocated in 2005, matched with City funds, the Parks Department has been working to develop the Putnam railroad corridor as a multi-user Greenway, that accommodates all un-motorized, wheeled uses as well as runners and walkers.

More than 400 new trees and saplings will be planted as part of the Putnam Greenway project, providing a substantial ecological benefit for park visitors, plants and animals. Only 7 live trees -- 5 of which are invasive species that would likely be removed during the course of normal forest management -- will be removed. If an ecologically important tree is located in the path of the new trail design, the paved portion of the trail was narrowed to avoid disturbing that tree.

As part of the design process, extensive community outreach and site investigation have taken place. The result is a unique plan that allows the developed trail to fit comfortably into the natural setting of Van Cortlandt Park, while satisfying the needs of all users. Park goers can expect to enjoy a boardwalk and asphalt path with the combined multi-user greenway approach that Parks has produced. Please check back for an anticipated completion date!

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