Our Walking & Bicycling System

Harlem Valley Rail Trail, Dutchess County, New York

Walking and bicycling facilities serve a vital role in our transportation system. They provide a healthy, economical, and pollution-free alternative to driving and help create walkable, bikeable places that are vibrant and attractive to residents and visitors.

See the Map Viewer for a view of walking and bicycling facilities in the county.

Sidewalks & Shared-Use Paths

There are approximately 553 linear miles of sidewalks in Dutchess County. This includes public and private sidewalks ranging from traditional systems in cities and villages, to campus sidewalks at colleges and office parks, and storefront sidewalks at commercial locations. About 318 of these miles lie along a road, with the remaining 235 miles providing internal circulation at a destination. Almost half of the sidewalks (269 miles) are in the county’s pedestrian-oriented, higher-density cities and villages, with another 40 percent (229 miles) in our seven urbanized towns. The City of Poughkeepsie alone accounts for nearly 25 percent of all sidewalks in the county – about 129 miles.

The county is home to an expanding set of rail trails, which serve both a transportation and recreational purpose. The William R Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail runs 13 miles from Hopewell Junction northwest to Poughkeepsie, where it connects with the Walkway Over the Hudson pedestrian/bicycle bridge to Ulster County. In 2020, the Maybrook Trail was constructed from Hopewell Junction south through Beekman and into Putnam County as part of the statewide Empire State Trail initiative. In the county’s northeast, the Harlem Valley Rail Trail extends more than 19 miles from the Wassaic hamlet to the county line, and continues into Columbia County. The county is home to many shorter shared-use paths as well, including the Beacon-Newburgh Bridge path and the Wilbur Boulevard path in Poughkeepsie.

In Poughkeepsie, a new rail trail called the Northside Line between the Dutchess Rail Trail and the northside neighborhood, Marist College, the city’s waterfront, and other destinations is under construction. This trail includes lighting and winter maintenance for 24/7 usability.

Dutchess County also has many scenic hiking trails that can be explored through the Dutchess County Parks and Trails website.

What We Heard

"I am able to bicycle to work in Poughkeepsie while living in Hopewell via the rail trail. The rail trail has been extremely helpful as both a route of transportation as well as a place to walk, bike, etc. in my free time."

- Moving Dutchess Forward survey

Bicycling Facilities

Bicycle facilities in Dutchess County include the shared-use paths described above, on-road shared-lane markings (“sharrows”), and signed bike routes. There are currently no bicycle lanes in the county except for some very short segments on Route 9.

Sharrows are marked in the City of Poughkeepsie along a portion of State Bicycle Route 9, known locally as the City Transect Route. There are also sharrows on Main Street between North Avenue (Route 9D) and East Main Street in the City of Beacon; on Charles Colman Boulevard between West Main Street and Union Street in the Village of Pawling; and on Mechanic Street between the Harlem Valley Rail Trail and East Main Street in the Town of Amenia.

Four NYSDOT-signed State Bicycle Routes run through the county, primarily following Routes 9, 9D, 199, and 308. These routes use existing State, County, and local roads and accommodate bicyclists on shared travel lanes and/or shoulders. They are intended for experienced adult bicyclists. Some municipalities have also identified local bicycle routes.

In addition to the rail trail portion of the Empire State Trail in southern Dutchess, northern Dutchess is home to an on-road segment of the Trail, which crosses from Ulster County on the Kingston/Rhinecliff Bridge and travels north through Red Hook and Tivoli to Columbia County. The route includes signage and traffic calming measures.

Dedicated bicycle parking is an essential, and sometimes overlooked, part of good bicycle infrastructure. Our online Bike Dutchess app identifies bike parking locations in Dutchess County as well as bicycle routes and sites of interest.