Category Archives: Rail Trail

Construction Begins – South End Bikeway Connector

Today, Monday 9/16/19, marks the official City of Albany date for commencing construction on the South End Bikeway Connector. A survey of the entire route revels serval “road work ahead” signs – generally, a sure indication that work is to begin. (These signs may well be from earlier projects.)

The City of Albany 9/13/19 press release with images follows:

 CITY OF ALBANY – OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

  • 24 EAGLE STREET, ALBANY, NEW YORK 12207, mayor@albanyny.gov, (518) 434-5100
  • Date: September 13, 2019
  • Contact:  Yasmine Robinson, Deputy Director, City of Albany Department of Planning & Development, yrobinson@albanyny.gov , (518) 434-2583

* * NEWS RELEASE * *

City of Albany Announces Commencement of South End Connector Bikeway Construction – Road Construction, Parking Restrictions, & CDTA Bus Stop Closures Also Announced

ALBANY, NY – Beginning on Monday, September 16, 2019 and continuing through Spring 2020, the City’s contractor will construct the South End Connector Bikeway – the highly anticipated connection between the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail and the Mohawk Hudson Bike-Hike Trail (map shown in Image 1).

SEBC - Map 9-13-19

The South End Connector will link these two highly utilized trails with a combination of off-road and on-road pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians. This initiative is consistent with recommendations within the Albany 2030 Plan and the City of Albany Bicycle Master Plan, and further connects the Capital Region to the Empire State Trail.

Travel Lane Adjustments – Construction beginning on Monday, September 16 will include restriping and the creation of a raised-curb median along South Pearl Street from Old South Pearl Street to Mount Hope Drive. Concrete barriers will be temporarily used to note lane shifts until construction of the Capital District Transportation Authority’s Bus Rapid Transit River Line is complete in 2020, however no lane closures are anticipated during construction.

Parking RestrictionsDuring construction, parking will be prohibited on the east side of South Pearl Street between Old South Pearl Street and the Frontage Road.

CDTA Bus Stop Closures – During construction of CDTA’s Mount Hope northbound station, all existing bus stops along Pearl Street and Mount Hope Drive will remain operational except for one stop closure in the northbound direction on Pearl Street at Ezra Prentice Homes (as shown in Image 2).

PrintAfter completion of the Mount Hope northbound station, stops on Pearl Street south of the new station will be closed, with the Mount Hope station serving all northbound routes. Closed stops will be visibly indicated with a CDTA blue bag and public notices.

 About the South End Connector BikewayWhen complete, the South End Connector will create a bikeway from South Pearl Street & Old South Pearl Street to Church Street, along the Frontage Road intersection, and then continue underneath Interstate-787 to Broadway and Quay Street as depicted in Image 1. Between Old South Pearl Street and the Frontage Road, there will be a separated on-street two-way cycle track, the first in the City of Albany, depicted in Image 3.

SEBC - Two Way Cycle Track 9-13-19

Construction of a 10-foot wide multi-use trail will run beneath the Interstate-787 corridor from the intersection of the Frontage Road and Church Street to the Broadway and Quay Street intersection. At the intersection of Church Street and Bassett Street, the Connector will be on-road until Rensselaer Street where it will then shift off-road. The northbound lane of Church Street from Rensselaer Street to Bassett Street will be removed and Church Street will become a one-way roadway in the southbound direction.

Broadway currently consists of four travel lanes; two in the eastbound direction and two in the westbound direction. One lane on Broadway will be removed to construct the multi-use path on the south side of Broadway, resulting in one westbound lane and two eastbound lanes when construction is complete. Construction will include installation of new curbing along the south side of Broadway and modifications of existing striping along Church Street and Broadway.

Funding for this project has been provided in part by the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund, as well as The Climate Smart Community Grant Program, Title 15 of the Environmental Protection Fund through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

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Filed under Bike Lanes, Rail Trail, South End Bikeway Connector

Black Bridge Revisited – A New Beginning

At the recent Capital District Transportation Committee Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting, Barton & Loguidice – the project engineers for the “Black Bridge Project” – briefed the group on plans for its completion. Those who have taken the bridge as part of a wonderful ride from Albany, Watervaliet, Green Island, or Cohoes to Waterford and beyond can attest to for the final changes on this project.

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For background and information on this riding opportunity, see also –

Here is a summary of what is done and planned to complete of the original $499,000 project by April 2018:

  • Pave the stone portion of the trail south of and leading up to the bridge
  • Install a half-way-point shelter/rest stop
  • Add a Cannon St. trailhead in Green Island with a shelter, motor vehicle parking, and info kiosk
  • Install security cameras linked to local police
  • Modernize and enhance the existing lighting
  • Open up views of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers at the northbound approach to the bridge (ED: why removing the trees was needed, is a mystery. There never was a problem finding either river)

If you want to plan a nice ride with major off-road portions, check the referenced links  so you can include the Black Bridge in your 2018 riding plans.

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News on the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail

One of the best projects for recreational cyclists is the coming Albany-Hudson Electric Trail. The project derives from the Albany-Hudson Electric Trolley, an interurban system that operated from 1899 to 1929 powered by the Stuyvesant Falls hydroelectric plant.AHET Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCES: http://www.ahettrail.org/ , https://www.columbiapaper.com/2017/11/power-line-trail-plan-aired-khook/#more-12497 , Times Union 12/3/17 – http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Columbia-County-news-12400821.php, ,See map here – route_map

Recently, representatives from the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail and the director of the Empire State Tail reviewed plans for the trail which will extend from Rensselaer County at the north end through Columbia County at least as far south as Stottville and maybe to Greenport. The state taxpayers have given $36 million for the project and National Grid has allowed use of the company land for the trail.

The project is also part of the Hudson River Valley Greenway, a voluntary program created by state law in 1991 to “facilitate the development of a regional strategy for preserving scenic, natural, historic, cultural, and recreational resources while encouraging compatible economic development.” See: http://www.hudsongreenway.ny.gov/home.aspx . Perhaps more importantly, the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail will be a large link in the proposed 750-mile Empire State Trail.  See the complete trail plan here .

The next step is complete the design with construction starting in 2019 and finishing in 2020.

The trail will be marked with signs saying no ATVs. Municipalities will maintain the trail, generally limited to mowing a small section. The Erie Canalway Trail will provide municipal officials with the proposed costs of that maintenance work so they could use it for budgeting. The state is committed to long-term maintenance. While the state does not plan to put up fencing along the trail, it would talk to homeowners adjacent to the route who have “site-specific concerns.” The plan calls for six bridges along the entire trail.

To schedule a meeting with a member of the design team, call 518 898-9595. Submit comments at http://www.ahettrail.org/ .

 

 

 

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Filed under Albany-Hudson Electric Trail, Empire State Trail, Rail Trail

A Century of Riding Bliss

A Century of Riding Bliss

 As another step toward exploring all the bicycle paths in New York State, cyclist Ed set out over the 2016 Labor Day Weekend to complete the following Century.charlton_pumpkin-comp

Summary – Home in the New Scotland Ave. area of Albany – to Slingerlands, Albany, Mechanicville, Ballston Spa, Amsterdam, Niskayuna, and back to home. Total per Google maps – 107.6 miles and with various diversions – 115.0 miles.

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  • 2.2 miles Home to Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail
  • 7.0 miles Albany County Rail Trail to Corning Riverfront Park/Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail
  • 5.0 miles to Watervliet
  • 5.8 miles through Watervliet/Green Island to Black Bridge and the Delaware Ave. Trail through Van Schaick Island and Peebles Island, Cohoes, to Waterford.
  • 9.0 miles Rt. 4 from Waterford to Brookwood Rd. to Old Champlain Canal Trail (gravel) Upper Newton Rd. to Rt. 4 to Mechanicville/Main St.
  • 4.1 miles South St. /Pruyn Hill Rd. climbs to Johnson Rd., right onto Staniak Rd., to Coons Crossing Rd., to Zim Smith Mid-County Trail
  • 9.1 miles Zim Smith Mid-County Trail to Ballston Spa
  • 0.8 miles left E. High St. right Low St. to Ballston Spa Front Street Park
  • 3.6 miles Rt. 67/Rt. 50 South from Ballston Spa to left Outlet Rd.
  • 4.0 miles outlet Rd., right on Ballston Bicycle Path to Ballston Lake, right on 146A
  • Few yards north on 146A, left on Lake Hill Rd.
  • 15.2 miles Lake Hill Rd. becoming Stage Rd. in Charlton, jog left to Maple Ave. Left on Packer Rd. to EaSt.ern Ave. becoming WeSt.ern Ave. in West Charlton. Right Westline Rd. Left Waite Rd. to Rt. 67 north of Amsterdam
  • 4.8 miles Left Rt. 67 to Amsterdam to roof of Riverfront Center parking lot (this included about 2 extra miles looping around downtown Amsterdam looking for the route to cross to the Riverfront Park/Gateway Overlook Bridge.
  • 0.5 mile bridge/elevator from roof of Riverfront to “Riverlink Park.” Over the new (August 2016) Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Bridge to Erie Canalway Trail just past Erie St. amsterdam_finding_way_to_new_bridge-comp

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  • 29.0 miles Canalway Trail/5S thru Pattersonville, Rotterdam Junction, Schenectady over to Scotia – on a (nasty, nameless) trail at end of Collins Park to Freemans Bridge
  • Back to Schenectady/Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail to Lions Park, Niskayuna
  • 3.2 miles Left Old River Rd., Right Rosendale Rd., Left Rt. 7, right British American Blvd (bike lanes) to Cornell Rd., to Shaker Trail (paved), and to left on Airline Dr
  • 2.3 miles Airline Dr that becomes S. Family Drive to left on Sand Creek. Sand Creek to right Morello Drive – left on Central 1 block, to Lincoln Ave.
  • 3.2 miles Lincoln to the City Dump and Six Mile Waterworks Trail, Rt. on Multi-Use Trail along Fuller to Circle by UAlbany, Tricentennial Dr.
  • 4.6 miles UALBANY Bike Path to WeSt.ern Ave., left on WeSt.ern to HomeSt.ead, left on Hazlehurst which becomes Berkshire to Right on Ormond becomes Friebel Rd. / left on Krumkill to New Scotland, Right on New Scotland, and back home.

This is a good ride to gain an appreciation of the touring opportunities in the area.  The ride could be broken up into two or three segments for those wanting to commit to a “century” ride. [Ed.]

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Filed under Albany County Rail Trail, Local Bike Rides, Rail Trail, Rides

The Black Bridge and Beyond

If you’ve taken the Black Bridge (or some other) route to Waterford (see earlier post), you’re in for a pleasant (but unusual) treat if you use it as your starting point to explore the Champlain Canal Trail north toward Mechanicville.

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Hee Haw

After riding from the Black Bridge along the bikeway and after crossing from Peebles Island into Waterford, turn left/west of 2nd St. onto Broad St. (10.9 miles from the Row Center at the Corning Riverfront Park). Pass four streets on your right and come to the old Champlain Canal (11.1 miles from the Row Center). If you’re on 700X25 tires, lock up and take a nice walk up the canal towpath. If you are on wider tires, take the towpath (you’ll cross Division St., the only intersection in this area) past the foundations of the Weigh Lock and then those of Lock #5 and dry dock about 1.5 miles to the landfill and Momentive Performance Materials industrial complex (12.7 miles from the Row Center). The northerly path then continues on to Mechanicville.

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What’s comin’ outta those pipes?

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Momentive Monolith

But where is that path?

As you cruise over the landfill (with its ominous ventilators spewing forth God knows what) toward the fencing, you think that you’re in Gitmo with no way out. (The landfill covers the Old Champlain Canal – so guess where the leakage goes?) But as you get to the end where it appears that you are completely fenced in, you’ll spot a narrow, deeply rutted path leading down to the right (easterly) through the tall weeds and grass. After a tick check at the bottom, remount and head on a winding, unmarked  narrow paved road (Google says cross Clute St. onto Bells Lane North which changes into School House Lane). Notice up and to your left the original towpath that is inaccessible at present. Lo and behold, where the unmarked Schoolhouse Lane bears left at 13.4 miles from the Row Center and 2.3 miles from Waterford, you’ll come to the Half Moon Trail skirting the old Champlain Canal on your left.

The Half Moon Trail is a nice ride on hard-packed stone dust. At “high noon,” there is no shade, so choose your ride time accordingly if it’s hot hot hot. A curious feature of the trail is frequent “Hazard – 100 Feet Ahead,” “Hazard – Keep Left,” or just plain “Hazard” signs. After expecting an alligator or two to rise from the canal, it seems that these signs are to alert trail users to the utility poles along the side if the trail. Those lawyers in Hal Moon must be looking for something to do…

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The North End Trail Head

Along the trial, watch for historical markers and remnants of the 200-year-old canal and later railroad structures. Cross Brookwood Rd., Lower Newton Rd., and an unmarked gravel pit road.  At 16.4 miles from the Row Center and 5.3 miles from Waterford, you’ll arrive at a trail head with parking for 4-5 cars, no hint of where you are, and stick-on letters on a utility pole saying “1 Mechan School” (20 Upper Newton Rd. according to the Town website). Just across the road is a barricade across the trail, which at this point is just grass, weeds, and brush leading on to Lock #8 and Mechanicville – clearly unrideable. There must be a plan here …

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Future Plans?

Time to turn around and enjoy the peaceful, quite trail back to Waterford to continue learning about “Canal Days.”

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A peaceful ride back to Waterford…

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Filed under Black Bridge, Erie Canal Trail, Rail Trail, Rides