Thursday, 16 May 2013 16:16

Trail to Connect West Side with State Park

By Patricia Older | News

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The trail for walkers and bikers that will connect the west side of Saratoga Springs with Spa State Park and their trails is nearing completion.

"The trail will connect with the existing Railroad Run Trail on the west side of Saratoga Springs from the YMCA to Route 50," said Kurt Kress, Capital Facilities Regional Manager with the New York State Parks.

The trail has been a collaborative effort between the city, New York State Parks and the New York Department of Transportation.

Tim Wales, City Engineer, said the city recently finished paving the Railroad Run Trail up to Route 50. It will now be up to the Department of Transportation to design a pedestrian crossing with a push button-controlled light for the safe crossing of hikers and bike riders into the Saratoga Spa State Park. Trails from there take users in and around the park, as well as to South Broadway.

The trail is being paid for through a number of funding sources. Kress said the portion of Railroad Run Trail was covered by a New York Works grant, where the Spa City would have to match the grant. That was done through the use of city labor for the paving.

"I believe there are a series of different funds," said Kress. "There are some New York Works moneys, some Recreational Trails funding and some New York State Infrastructure funding."

With work crews finalizing the end of the trail earlier this week, Wales said now it was up to the state to finish the trail system.

"We had the pretty easy part," said Wales. "We’ve completed the work on our end."

According to the New York State Parks & Recreation website, New York Works has invested $107,633 for the project, with a state investment of $200,000.

People have been using the trail, which was open during the paving portion.

The plans for the signalized crossing are presently being reviewed by the NYDOT. They were designed by Clough, Harbour & Associates. Once the design is approved, the NYDOT will send the project out for bids.

"It will allow for safe crossing across Route 50," said Kress, adding that the crossing would include a "button-generated" traffic light, which will be just south of the Center for the Family. The crossing is estimated to cost around $100,000.

While the crossing is not expected to be completed until next fall, Kress said he hoped the trail portion of the project would be completed by the end of June.

The off-road trail connection of Saratoga Springs to the YMCA with Spa State Park has been discussed for several years and included many different organizations including the Saratoga Springs Chamber of Commerce and Saratoga P.L.A.N.

A gateway study of Route 50 was completed over two years ago, which suggested the safe crossing of Route 50 for hikers and bicycle riders to get from downtown to the state park on trails.

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