“Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?” And how can we change that?

That’s what Daniel Duane asks in his opinion piece in The New York Times last Sunday.

Duane rightly points out that cyclists do not have adequate protections under traffic laws in the United States. Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, admitted to Duane, “We do not know of a single case of a cyclist fatality in which the driver was prosecuted, except for D.U.I. or hit-and-run.”

Ghost-Bike-WesternFortunately, New York is one of four states that has passed Vulnerable User Laws, which  can help place “extra responsibility on drivers to avoid harming cyclists and pedestrians.” New York City DOT has also been proactive in implementing complete-street designs, but vocal opposition to increasing bike lines still remains.

Duane’s piece reminds us that regardless of your stance on bike lanes, the consequence of inadequate legal protections for cyclists is often death. Isn’t preventing those deaths something we can all get behind?

Lawmakers agree. For more on this, and what you can do to help, see the League of American Bicyclists’ coverage of the Bike and Ped Safety Act, introduced in both houses of Congress last week.

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Dutchess Rail Trail extension to officially open

Join Dutchess County officials and rail trail supporters Saturday, November 16th at 2pm for the official opening of a new section of the Dutchess Rail Trail.  The event will take place at the Hopewell Depot trail head, 36 Railroad Ave.

Read more about the event.

This connection will fill a significant gap in the trail network between Highland, the Walkway over the Hudson, and Hopewell Junction. Check out this trail, and others, on PTNY’s Trailfinder.

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Another important trail bridge will host a ribbon cutting this fall

Earlier this month we told you about two trail bridges that close significant gaps. The long-awaited reopening of the historic Dix Bridge between Saratoga and Washington counties is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 8.

The 426-foot steel span, built in 1895, has been closed for more than two decade, will now be accessible for year-round recreational purposes such biking and snowmobiling and provide a connection to the Hudson River near Hudson Crossing Park, just north of Schuylerville at Champlain Canal Lock 5. 

The bridge, named for John A. Dix, is now on the National Historic Register. But the site’s historical significance dates back long before the bridge was built. In 1777, during the American Revolution, British Gen. John Burgoyne and his troops crossed the Hudson River there in what became known as “Burgoyne’s Bridge of Boats.”

The Dix bridge is an integral part of the Champlain Canalway Trail, a project PTNY has long supported (see our original Concept Plan here). Read more about the trail’s development opportunities and constraints in the Champlain Canalway Trail Action Plan.

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Complete Streets workshops to be held in Kingston

Complete Streets are designed enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders. Built for all ages and abilities, Complete Streets make it safe and easy to cross the street, walk, and bicycle to work or to run errands. They encourage mode share and are helping to revitalize downtowns in communities across New York. 

Coordinated by the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Kingston Complete Streets Advisory Council, the City of Kingston, and the Kingston Land Trust’s Trails Committee, two Complete Streets workshops will be held on October 29th.

Session 1 (3-5 pm): Workshop participants will take part in a walk to observe street design issues between the Kingston Plaza and the surrounding streets.

Session 2 (6-8 pm): Participants will explore and discuss potential solutions to the observed barriers in session 1 and will learn principles of effective Complete Streets implementation.

The workshops will be held at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County Education Center, 232 Plaza Road, Kingston

Facilitated by Jeff Olsen a principal with Alta Planning + Design, the workshops will be targeted to educate Planning Board Members, City Council Members and Leaders, City Staff, Pedestrian and Bicycle Advocates, Representatives of Local Businesses and Concerned Citizens.

For more information and to register contact Kristen Wilson, Live Well Kingston Coalition Coordinator at 845-340-3990 or kew67@cornell.edu

Parks & Trails New York is working with the Kingston Land Trust and the Rail Trail Committee as part of its Healthy Trails, Healthy People program to engage the community in exploring the feasibility of connecting existing and proposed rail trails into the city. Complete Streets solutions will be an integral part of the transportation fabric of the city and provide safe and accessible routes that connect the downtown with surrounding trails.

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Live, work, or play in Albany? What improvements to the waterfront and Corning Preserve Trail would you like to see?

Earlier this week we told you about two ribbon cuttings for significant trail bridges, one being the Black Bridge in the Albany County city of Cohoes.  It turns out there’s a lot going on in the Capital Region when it comes to waterfront revitalization and trails: Troy’s Collar City Ramble, the Watervliet Bicycle Master Plan, and the Rensselaer County Trail plan.

Not to be outdone, the City of Albany is developing the Corning Preserve Waterfront Park Plan that will identify specific short, mid and long-term plans for the revitalization of the Corning Preserve. These improvements may include bike, pedestrian, water-based, and vehicular transportation, park programming, connections to downtown and adjacent neighborhoods, and the provision of services. Parks & Trails New York is one of the stakeholders on the Corning Preserve Committee and submitted suggestions for how the City can improve the facility.

The City will host two meetings for public comments and suggestions to include in the Corning Preserve Waterfront Park Plan.  Both meetings will include a presentation and survey on possible park improvements with an opportunity to discuss park improvement ideas in detail.

Open House: Thursday, October 17th, 12 – 1pm  at the Capital Repertory Theater, 111 North Pearl Street .

Workshop: Saturday, October 19th, 10 – 12:30pm, at the Palace Theatre, 19 Clinton Avenue. A Corning Preserve walk starting at intersection of Broadway and Maiden Lane (start of footbridge to Corning Preserve/Jennings Landing) will be held immediately before the workshop, from 8:30-9:30am. 

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Trail significant rail trail bridges host ribbon cuttings

Cohoes Trail Bridge to Open

Cohoes’ Black Bridge Trail project, a decade in the making, is finally completed.  A ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate this project that was approved in 2004 will take place on Thursday, October 17th at 3:00pm.

This bridge was a former Delaware & Hudson Rail Bridge that was abandoned back in the 1970s after the rail line was discontinued.  The bridge and the trail bed in Cohoes was purchased by the Open Space Conservancy to provide a connection in the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Hike trail between Green Island, Cohoes, and Peebles Island and Saratoga County. The Bridge also provides a connecting route between the Mohawk Hudson Bike Trail and the Champlain Canalway trail. (Map)

Funding for the project was primarily from a Transportation Grant through the New York State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.  The local funding for this was provided by private development through a grant from Riverspark the NYS Heritage Area.  Funding to complete the project was also provided by the Cohoes Industrial Development Agency.

Parks & Trails has long supported this project, and closing the gaps in the Erie Canalway Trail network.

Dutchess Rail Trail Rt. 55 Bridge

A ribon cutting will be held to officially open the Rt. 55 bridge on Thursday, October 10th at 12pm on the Old Manchester Road side of the bridge in Poughkeepsie. This 700-foot long bridge helps overcome a critical gap in the Dutchess Rail Trail. Video of the bridge placement can be seen here.

An additional celebration, commemorating the completion of the Dutchess Rail Trail extension, will be held Saturday, November 16th at 2pm at the Hopewell Depot Trailhead in Hopewell Junction.

Planning a visit to these trails? Check out these trails, and more, at PTNY’s Trailfinder.

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Save the Date for Walk-Bike New York

Walk-Bike New York’s upcoming conference will be held May 21-22, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza in Suffern, NY

Early Registration fee $50; Late/On Site $60
Single Day Registration fee $25; Late/On Site $30
Lodging is available on May 21 at $105 single/double

Walk-Bike NY is a Livable Communities Symposium Sponsored by: NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, NYS Department of Health and the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research In Conjunction With: Parks & Trails New York, NYS Department of Transportation, NYS Department of State, Federal Highway Administration, New York Bicycling Coalition, NYS Metropolitan Planning  Organization and NYS Association of Chiefs of Police.

Visit http://www.itsmr.org/ for more information and to register.

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Discover how bicyclists can bring business to your community at two Oneida events

Bicyclists Bring Business!” Roundtable

Wednesday, October 9, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m at the Kallet Civic Center159 Main Street, Oneida, NY 13421

Learn more about the cyclists that travel the Erie Canalway Trail  now as well as how your business and community can market to and profit from future cycling tourists. Attendees will receive a copy of Parks & Trails New York’s guidebook, “Bicyclists Bring Business: A Guide for Attracting Bicyclists to New York’s Canal Communities.”

Oneida Bike-a-Round

Thursday, October 10, 10:00 a.m. Meet at Erie Canalway Trail, Route 316 trailhead, north of Oneida

Bike from the Erie Canalway Trail into Oneida and experience the City from the perspective of a cycling tourist and then discuss the results during lunch at La Vie Boheme Bistro, 109 Madison Street, Oneida.

The event is sponsored by Parks & Trails New York and the New York State Canal Corporation and hosted by the Oneida Recreation Department and Oneida Rail Trail Committee. RSVP to Parks & Trails New York or 518-434-1583. Registration is required for the October 10 cycling event.

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Will your federally-funded park or trail project be changed by new U.S. Access Board’s Final Guidelines?

 Today, the U.S. Access Board issued new accessibility guidelines for outdoor areas developed by the federal government. The guidelines provide detailed specifications for accessible trails, picnic and camping areas, viewing areas, beach access routes and other components of outdoor developed areas when newly built or altered. 

Access requirements have been updated for trails, outdoor recreation access routes, and beach access routes, that address surface characteristics, width, and running and cross slopes. Exceptions are included for these and other provisions under certain conditions stipulated in the guidelines. Note that departures are allowed where compliance is not practicable because of terrain or prevailing construction practices. Exceptions are also recognized where compliance would conflict with mandates such as the Endangered Species Act and other laws or where it would fundamentally alter a site’s function or purpose.

The guidelines originate from recommendations prepared by an advisory panel chartered by the Board, the Outdoor Developed Areas Regulatory Negotiation Committee. The rule applies to federal agencies that develop outdoor areas for recreational purposes, including the National Park Service, the Forest Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation. Thus, the revised rules apply only currently apply to national parks and other federal sites, but the Board plans to follow-up with rulemaking to address non-federal sites under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at a later date, so keeping  of up-to-date on these regulations may save time, money, and headaches in designing and building a future federally-funded park or trail projects.

The new requirements will become mandatory on November 25, 2013 as part of the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards, which apply to facilities that are built, altered, or leased with federal funds.

The Board will conduct a public webinar on the new rule on October 17 from 2:30 to 4:00pm (EST). To register for this free webinar, visit www.accessibilityonline.org.

For further information on the rule, visit the Board’s website or contact Bill Botten at outdoor@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0014 (v), or (202) 272-0073 (TTY).

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Collar City Pre(R)amble kicks off this Saturday

Calling all Capital Region history buffs and bike/ped advocates. The first annual Collar City Pre(R)amble kicks at noon, this Saturday September 28th, from The Troy Farmer’s Market, heading south 2 miles to the Burden Iron Works Museum and the Albany Bike Path, then north 4 miles to Freedom Square before continuing to the Corning Preserve. The event will conclude at the StoryHarvest Festival, with live music and free, fresh grown food, prizes for costumes or for decorated bikes.

The Collar City Ramble is a trail being designed and built, going through and around the Rensselaer County of Troy.  The Ramble is envisioned as a complete on and off road bicycle and pedestrian network, employing bike lanes, crosswalks, and off-road multi-use trails to connecting Troy‘s neighborhoods and beautiful vistas with cultural and recreational sites.

For more info, to volunteer, call or email Jim Lewis at (518) 429-3909.

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