Ashokan Rail Trail Meeting Recap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ashokan Rail Trail, first proposed in 2012 by Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, getting closer and closer to construction. When completed in 2018, it will provide 11.5 miles of a world-class public recreational trail bordering the northern edge of the Ashokan Reservoir. While motorized vehicles will not be permitted, the trail will offer access for hikers, bikers, walkers and runners, nature enthusiasts, skiers, and snowshoe devotees. It will also provide outdoor opportunities for persons with limited mobility or other disabilities.

Ulster County executive Mike Hein. Photo courtesy of the Ulster County Executive’s Office.

To share current developments with community residents, the Ulster County Planning Department held a public information meeting on December 1, 2016 at Onteora High School in Boiceville. Chris White, deputy director commissioner of the department shared a timetable for the project:

  • Preliminary engineering design and environmental review began in June, 2016.
  • Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2017.
  • Grand opening anticipated in 2018.

Those who attended the meeting were overwhelmingly in favor of the project for many reasons. It will provide a variety of healthy outdoor activities close to home. In turn, the community at large will be healthier. It will enable everyone to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. And it will be a boost to the local economy, since it’s expected to attract an additional 140,000 visitors to the area each year.

Ulster & Delaware railroad tracks looking toward the Ashokan Reservoir from the Route 28A overpass at Boiceville, NY. Photo by Tony Adamis

The Ashokan Reservoir supplies drinking water to New York City and is strictly controlled by its Department of Environmental Protection. However, the trail will follow the former Ulster & Delaware railroad corridor that runs around the northern perimeter of the reservoir.

A packed house! About 344 people attended the Public Information Meeting on the Ashokan Rail Trail project on 12/1/16. Photo courtesy of Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail.

Some attendees at the Onteora meeting were concerned about dismantling the railroad bed, but it has not been used for train service in forty years. White explained that the trail is being developed with the understanding that it could also be returned to a railroad bed if the need arose in the future.

The project is budgeted at $8.5 million dollars, funded from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the state DEC, and money from FEMA. It covers surfacing the trail with crushed stone, improving drainage and regarding the former rail bed. There will be signage, fencing, and other amenities as well as three new trailheads along the route. Boiceville trestle and Butternut Creek culvert will also be replaced.

Proponents of this project have worked tirelessly since Mike Hein first proposed it. With county residents behind it and the funding in place, it’s been five years in the planning.

And it’s almost here! We’ll keep you updated on future progress, but to get the info straight from the source, visit catskillmountainrailtrail.org, or follow @FriendsOfTheCatskillMountainRailTrail on Facebook.

Kingston On The Move

The seeds were sown for the Kingston Greenline in 2013 when the Kingston Land Trust commissioned the Kingston Point Rail Trail Feasibility Study with support of the City of Kingston and the Hudson River Valley Greenway. This study described the options for a trail from Jansen Avenue to Kingston Point Park. Not long after in 2014, the KLT commissioned another plan, the Kingston Greenline Conceptual Plan again with support of the City of Kingston and the Land Trust Alliance. This plan outlines the concept of a rail trail hub for the county and the region in the City of Kingston. The idea of the Kingston Greenline has captured the hearts and the minds of many Kingstonians and people in the region, and the City of Kingston and Ulster County have secured funding to make pieces of it a reality. Just recently at the State of the State Address, we learned that parts of the Kingston Greenline will be part of the Governor’s Empire State Trail Plan.

But how do all the sections of the Greenline fit together and what will happen when? Folks who have been involved since the beginning are patiently (or impatiently) awaiting the construction of the first section. How can project managers clearly communicate the progress of the construction projects and what the public can expect when?

Enter the new City of Kingston’s “Kingston On The Move” webpage where you can find a great new project map and status updates for each of the sections of the Kingston Greenline. Getting a project from concept to funding to construction is no easy task. Several of the projects have multiple funders, each with their own administrative requirements and timelines. And some of the projects still need more funding, so while managing existing funds project managers continue to seek new funders and partners. In my first year as the grants manager at the City, I have discovered that managing these projects is like being at a contra dance where you change hands with new partners and often come back to your original partners too. And somehow someone has to keep the end goal in mind, a symphony of movement forward to create something beautiful and to also enjoy ourselves along the way. To communicate about all the interactions that happen along the way would be impossible, but our new website aims to communicate the essence of how and when we are moving these projects forward. It also aims to bring a new level of transparency about project status to the public.

Kingston’s Mayor Steve Noble delivering his State of the City speech on January 10, 2017

Kingston On The Move is this administration’s new vision for transportation that Mayor Steve Noble unveiled at the State of the City Address on January 10th, 2017. In the past the City has not had a comprehensive vision and action plan for improving transportation to guide the maintenance, development, and build out of our transportation system. We’ve had lots of great new and current projects such as the Safe Routes to School project, the Greenkill Bridge, the Uptown Parking Lots, and all the Kingston Greenline projects, but how do these fit into a long-term vision for a better transportation system in Kingston? City staff are working with a strategic transportation planning sub-committee of the Complete Streets Advisory Council, to create this vision and a three-year prioritized action plan to guide our system’s development.  On the City webpage, within the next quarter, you’ll find an inventory of all the transportation-related plans and the City’s action plan. This group and the City will continually be looking at how we can make transportation stress-free, safe, and seamless from walking and biking to a bus to your motor vehicle. The Kingston Greenline is a significant piece of this puzzle, the spine for the future non-motorized sections of our transportation system.

So check out our new Kingston Greenline Project Status Map and the City’s Kingston On The Move website. Dig in and learn how we are moving forward. If you have a question about one of the projects or feel the project status updates are missing information, contact me at 845-334-3962 or kwilson@kingston-ny.gov or the project managers listed on the website. And remember, there are so many ways you can get involved in transportation planning. Maybe join the Kingston Land Trust Kingston Greenline Committee, the Complete Streets Advisory Council, or one of our other partners such as Bike Friendly Kingston. Or attend public meetings that will be held by the City about one of the specific projects. Together we can create a great system that works for all and have some fun dancing along the way.

For more information on the progress of the Kingston Greenline, be sure to check out the Kingston On The Move site.

Interview with Kevin Smith

CIC Opening Bike Ride w Joe Martens

Community ride with then-DEC Commissioner Joe Martens celebrating the Catskill Interpretive Center Grand Opening – Summer of 2015

No, this is not an interview with the creator of Silent Bob… Instead, this Kevin Smith is the chairman behind the Woodstock Land Conservancy, the non-profit organization committed to the protection and preservation of open lands, forests, wetlands and historic sites in and around the most famous town in our county… Woodstock, NY. Even with his full plate, Kevin made time to chat with us about all things he’s conserving in Woodstock!

How did you get involved initially with the Woodstock Land Conservancy (WLC)?
One of my besties, Elizabeth Lesser, used to be on WLC’s board. She knew I was interested in protecting our environment, and around 2000 she told me about WLC. She said it was a community land conservation organization doing great work and invited me to a Board meeting as a guest. Noted Woodstock artist Jean Ludins had recently gifted WLC with a beautiful small meadow on Chestnut Hill, and the Board decided to hold the meeting there to celebrate the occasion. I showed up a bit late and everyone was sitting cross-legged in the hay field. I remember thinking, “It can’t get much more local or Woodstock than this . . . ”

What are your main duties as the WLC Board Chair?
In a small hard-working land trust like WLC (or KLT) it’s very much “all hands on deck” for all our Directors. No job is too big or too small for anyone – we all do whatever needs doing to help fulfill mission, complete projects, and support the organization. That said, as Board Chair I also work closely with my fellow Directors and especially Maxanne Resnick and Patty Goodwin (WLC Executive Director and Board President respectively) – to  provide direction and leadership. My other main formal responsibility is to be a spokesperson for WLC in the community and with partner organizations, agencies and stakeholders on conservation issues and strategic initiatives, things like the Comeau Conservation Easement granted by the Town of Woodstock to the Conservancy in 2009, WLC’s response to the Niagara Bottling Proposal in 2014, and our advocacy in support of the Ulster County Rail Trail Projects (Ashokan Rail Trail and Kingston Midtown Linear Park), the Kingston Greenline and County-Wide Rail Trail Network.

Muir Woods, Marin County CA

Muir Woods, Marin County CA

What would you like to accomplish during your tenure as the Board Chair?
I’d like to see the Ashokan Rail Trail, Kingston Linear Park, and other key Kingston Greenline and UC rail trail network connectors all move to construction. On the WLC front, I’m really excited about the public opening of our newest and largest public preserve in 2017, the 123-acre Israel Wittman Nature Sanctuary. It’s located at the “corner” of the Towns of Woodstock, Saugerties, and Ulster. I’d like to see the Town of Woodstock’s recently initiated comprehensive planning process create a blueprint that builds on the many assets Woodstock has, while addressing some real issues that have emerged in recent years as more and more people have rediscovered the Mid-Hudson Valley and the Catskills.

What is the difference between a Land Trust and a Land Conservancy?
OMG – trick questions! I use them interchangeably, And I think many organizations do these days.

How is it going with your national accreditation application with the Land Trust Alliance?
Thanks for asking! We’re not quite there but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s now in the Accreditation Commission’s hands to review. When (WLC Executive Director) Maxanne announced at our last Board meeting that she’d just received confirmation from the Accreditation Commission that the voluminous application materials we submitted in late September are complete, I literally ran around our Board meeting and high-fived all our board and staff.

Accreditation is the culmination of nearly a decade of incremental work and planning – to adopt, integrate and begin to uphold best standards and practices (S&Ps) as defined by the Land Trust Alliance into all areas of WLC’s activities and work. Accreditation isn’t the sexiest part of our work but it’s a critically important ‘milestone’ for us as a professional land trust – especially for the part of our mission that involves accepting and holding conservation lands in the public trust and in compliance with all IRS regulations. So while we haven’t reached the finish line, I’m incredibly proud of the work our staff and board members have done over many years to get us to this point.

Continue reading Interview with Kevin Smith

Kingston Greenline Update

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The Kingston Greenline is an ambitious program of the Kingston Land Trust that aims to complete a network of area rail trails and complete streets to improve the quality of life of area residents. There has been some significant progress over the past few years to reach that goal.

The rail ties have been removed along the Kingston Point section of the trail beginning in Midtown and ending at Kingston Point. When that work was complete, there began weekend volunteer cleanup events to keep the trail open until construction of the paved trail could begin. This year also saw the roll-out of the Urban Trail Rangers program where every other week volunteers would meet to inspect or clear a section of the trail when necessary.

If all goes according to plan construction of the Kingston Point section of the trail should begin in the spring with a city meeting to discuss the future of Broadway as a complete street between now and then which could see the kickoff of that project as well. Already sharrows have been designated on Cornell St. and Foxhaul Ave to the trail-head behind Rondout Savings with bike route and Kingston Greenline signage.

It’s only going to get better from here, so hopefully we’ll see you at one of our Weekend Wanders so you can see the progress firsthand.

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Scott McIntosh is a mechanical design engineer, 10 year Kingston resident and Kingston Land Trust board member who enjoys everything the area has to offer more each day.

The Kingston O&W Rail Trail

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Did you know that there is a rail trail that starts in the City of Kingston and goes south to Stone Ridge and beyond?

You may have known about the Hurley Rail Trail that goes south but did you know that there is also a connection to Kingston? The trail-head in Kingston for the O&W Rail Trail is on Washington Avenue next to the Super 8 Motel parking lot behind the Daily Freeman building.

This rail trail has officially been there a long time as the D&H Canal Heritage Corridor Alliance signed license agreements as early 1993 that allowed for public use of the trail through the City of Kingston, Town of Ulster and Town of Hurley.

I started using the O&W trail between Kingston and Hurley in 1982 for bicycling when I got my first mountain bike. Over time the trail between Kingston and Hurley became progressively more overgrown and that hindered the use of the trail. Conditions got so bad by the early 2000s, that to preserve my own skin I started using a machete to keep the single track trail clear. Those trail conditions kept public utilization very low and the trail was not widely promoted. This is a shame as there is a lot of good wildlife habitat along the trail so there is a wide variety of wildlife to see.

Fast forward to April 22, 2012: It was on that date at the Super 8 Motel parking lot that I first met the Kingston Land Trust. I showed up there in response to a notice in the newspaper that there was going to be a trail cleanup on the O&W. From my perspective at the time I was delighted to have help clearing the trail!

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Cleaning up the trail

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A volunteer lending a hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things have changed a lot since that day in April 2012! Since then we have had volunteer help from myriad volunteer groups to clear the trail. The net result is that the brush and trees are now cut back and the grass mowed in the Kingston segment. O&W Trial signage is now being installed at access points along this section. With care, a casual rider can now ride just about any type of bicycle between Kingston and Hurley.

ow3w ow4wow2wow1wBut it gets even better! In the past year the O&W Municipal Coalition was formed to promote the trail from Ellenville to Kingston. Maps, signs, and brochures for the trail are in development now. Ulster County is also in the process of planning the development of the Kingston and Hurley section into a paved multi-use, ADA compliant, trail. It is anticipated that construction may start in 2017.

If you wish to use this section of the O&W Rail Trail there is trail head parking in Hurley on Route 209 by the Esopus Creek. In Kingston there is public parking on Hurley Avenue. Of course cycling or walking to the O&W trailheads is welcome and encouraged!

John Grossbohlin is a veteran long distance touring bicyclist who works on trail and Complete Streets projects with Kingston Land Trust, Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail, and Bike Friendly Kingston. He also represents the City of Kingston on the O&W Rail Trail Coalition of Municipalities committee, and serves on the city’s Complete Streets Advisory Council.

Kingston’s Looking for a “Big Jump”

If you’ve been following along as our work on the Kingston Greenline has progressed, you might have heard us talk about the Green Lane Project. Starting in 2012, the Green Lane Project was PeopleForBikes‘ campaign to build the sort of bike lanes that everyone would want to use – protected bike lanes.

An example of a two-way protected bike lane, with plastic flex-posts, in Columbus, OH.

An example of a two-way protected bike lane, with plastic flex-posts, in Columbus, OH.

Here in Kingston, we took the successes of the Green Lane Project to heart. Research has shown that protected bike lanes are the best way to increase ridership, particularly among groups that are less likely to ride without them: women, senior citizens, and families.

So, as part of the project to redesign Broadway, we joined with others to push for a protected bike lane along Kingston’s main transportation artery.

That design is still working its way through the necessary approvals, but just last week the City of Kingston took another major step in the march toward a fully-connected bike system with its application to PeopleForBikes’ next initiative, the Big Jump Project.

The Big Jump Project is a three-year effort to help 10 places achieve a big jump in biking – a doubling or tripling of people riding – by building a network of safe and comfortable places to ride and engaging the community. The goal is also to validate a core concept: that if a city does all the right things, more people will ride and the community will be a better place to live, work and play.

Turns out that Kingston was one of 80 cities across the nation (1:8 odds are pretty good!), and one of only 13 cities with populations under 50,000 to apply. The 10 winners will be publicly announced in January — but that won’t be the end of the line for the other 70 or for the rest of the United States. Instead, PeopleForBikes sees this as the beginning of a nationwide focus on finally connecting the all-ages biking networks that can make our communities significantly better for millions of people.

So cross your fingers for Kingston, and let’s keep working to make our great city an equally great place to bike…for everyone!

My Trip to Amsterdam, Where Bikes Rule the Land

img_4569This summer I was fortunate to have the chance to spend a few days in Amsterdam – the OTHER Amsterdam to us Upstate New Yorkers. I promised myself that I’d take the chance to learn all that the bike capital of the world has to teach about creating a bike-friendly city. What I learned surprised me. In Amsterdam, what makes biking so great isn’t all the cool infrastructure, it’s the unspoken understanding that bikes rule.

Let’s set the stage: Cheryl and I got off the train at Amsterdam’s Central Station and almost immediately got hit by bikes. They were everywhere. Mixing and weaving around cars. And trams. And pedestrians. For the first half-hour of walking, we were in constant fear that we were going to either cause an accident or be the victims of one. I’m a confident cyclist, but I started to wonder if I would survive on two wheels in this mayhem.

img_4445After unpacking at the hotel, we immediately headed off to rent our granny bikes, or Omafiets – the traditional upright, step-through bikes that are ubiquitous in the City. My first challenge was immediate; steering a heavy cruiser isn’t like my normal hybrid trail/road bike. But despite some awkward swerving as I got used to the new ride, we were off.

Back home in Kingston, I’m usually a super-aware, rules-abiding cyclist. In Amsterdam, I was out of place. Stop sign? What stop sign? Forget staying to the right – the cars will just have to wait! I began to realize that all the dedicated bike lanes and bike paths aren’t so much to keep the cyclists safe; they’re the only way to contain them! Otherwise, they’d just take over the whole road!

Slowly over the course of the next two days, as I grew more and more comfortable in the fact that bikes – not cars – are the king of the road, I started to go with the flow. Remember the feeling that first time you rode your bike on your own? That feeling of unfettered mobility? That’s how it felt again. Sort of like putting on an old shoe – so comfortable and natural.img_4511

Now that I’m back in Kingston, I have a new appreciation for the work we have ahead of us. I’m still a zealous advocate for better bike infrastructure. But that’s not enough. Over time we need to work to create a culture that accepts people on bikes, even encourages them. We all should feel safe and comfortable using our public streets, whether on foot, in a car, in a bus, or on a bike. And when that dream comes true, you’ll find me cruising on my Omafiet, sans helmet, with a smile plastered on my face. Until then, though, I’ll be wearing a helmet; it’s a tough world for a cyclist.

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The Kingston Greenline has been greenifying Instagram since early May… And it’s been going FAB! We’re getting tons of new followers daily and people are tagging and hashtagging us constantly – THANK YOU! It’s been a terrific way to show you the existing Greenline trails, the parts that are under construction, the South Pine Street City Farm and other great locations in and around Kingston.

We hope this will encourage you to get out and about in Kingston, on its trails and share your awesome photos. We’d love to see you! Please FOLLOW us… @kingstongreenline

#kltgreenline #kingstongreenline #kingston #kingstonisbeautiful

Kingston Greenline

Weekend Wander: Sept (BIKE) Edition

Join us for the 5th edition of this season’s Weekend Wander series… WITH YOUR BIKE! In this Wander, we’ll be riding bikes along the northern end of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail to the Rosendale Rail Trail Café and back. #KLTWander #WeekendWander

WHO: Kingston Land Trust
WHAT: Weekend Wander – August (BIKE) Edition
WHEN: Saturday, September 24, 9:30AM – 12:30PM
WHERE:
WHY: Easy Ride with epic views, lakes and caves.

A leisurely, 16 mile bike ride along the northern section of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. We’ll take a break at Williams Lake then off to the Rail Trail Café and back. Keep checking our site for more details on future hikes. #KLTWander #WeekendWander

Weekend Wander: Sept Bike Edition Route (Wallkill Valley Rail Trail)

An Interview with Matt Allen of Saratoga Associates

We’ve been waiting in anticipation for the Kingston Point Rail Trail to become a reality. It’s been shrouded in some mystery…but no longer. It’s happening, and soon! We were so excited to chat with Matthew Allen from Saratoga Associates, the firm tasked with designing the Kingston Point Rail Trail – one part of the overall Kingston Greenline – to find out all the important details about his firm and this great new addition to our lovely city of Kingston… Go Kingston Greenline!

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Hasbrouck at Delaware Trail Node Design

Tell us about your team – who’s involved in a project like this, and what do they do?
The project team is led by Saratoga Associates (“Saratoga”), a multi-disciplinary professional firm with four decades of experience in providing landscape architectural, architectural, planning, and engineering services throughout the Northeast. Our firm employs best management practices for sustainable design for a variety of urban project types including transit oriented development, complete streets, pedestrian and bicycle greenways, and downtown development. Saratoga Associates’ Principal-in-Charge of the this project, Matthew Allen, authored the successful Economic Development (Empire) Zone application for the City of Kingston two decades ago, and more recently provided concept design for AVR Realty’s Hudson Landing waterfront promenade.

KC Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. (“KC”), a certified Disadvantaged and Minority Business Enterprise (D/MBE), assisted the team with land surveying, civil engineering, and regulatory compliance. Poughkeepsie-based KC is a diversified, multi-disciplined consulting engineering firm providing comprehensive engineering and surveying services including civil, structural, geotechnical, traffic and transportation engineering, and complete survey and right-of-way mapping. KC’s Project Manager, Nancy Clark, PE, is an Ulster County resident who has been actively involved in planning and preparation activities for the Kingston Point Rail Trail (KRPT).

Hone Strategic, LLC (“Hone”) served as the team’s liaison with City officials and community stakeholders, as well as providing valuable background and insight into the existing conditions and integration of the City’s various plans in connection with the KPRT project. Hone, a local business based in Kingston’s historic Rondout District, specializes in urban planning, adaptive reuse, and facilitation of community outreach and participation. Hone’s principal, Jennifer Schwartz Berky, specializes in a variety of community planning projects including a wide range of successful projects, such as the adaptive reuse of many types of structures, historic waterfront community planning, commercial district revitalization, infrastructure and site planning and development, and several major grant awards for capital projects.

Please take a moment to explain the Kingston Greenline project you’re working on?
In recent years, the City of Kingston has enthusiastically pursued a vision of a connected community. These efforts have resulted in several State and Federal grants for the Kingston Connectivity Project (KCP), which envisions an interconnected, multi-modal cityscape with Complete Streets and the Greenline – a network of trails on repurposed rail beds, bike paths, complete streets, and linear parks converging in Midtown Kingston as a hub of an extensive regional trails system.

The City government has undertaken a number of initiatives, including the KCP, to support Kingston’s social, environmental, and economic fabric through strategic initiatives and partnerships in business, arts, education and technology. The development of connectivity through trails and Complete Streets and is a critical aspect of livability, public health and “complete communities.”

The Kingston Connectivity Project is an important implementation phase of the larger Greenline plan. The KCP provides a shared road bikeway and dedicated rail trail connecting Midtown Kingston with the Rondout and Kingston Point waterfront. The key component of the KCP is the construction of the long planned Kingston Point Rail Trail. The Kingston Point Rail Trail will be the first trail to be implemented in the Greenline network and represents a significant opportunity to become a model for connectivity for trails and streets throughout the city.

What’s the most exciting part of the project?
The best part of participating in the Kingston Connectivity Project is that it will be constructed in the very near future. So often our work falls into the category of long range planning. While we are always excited to design for a more livable community, it is particularly rewarding to work on projects that we can bring our families and friends to immediately. I very much look forward to bringing my bike to Kingston to ride along the path our team helped create.

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Jansen Avenue Trailhead Design

Are there any other linear park projects in existence that are inspiring your designs for the Kingston Greenline?
The design for the Kingston Point Rail Trail and shared road system draws off of the best characteristics of a number of urban bikeways. There is really no single project that is used as a model. The focus of the design was creating trailheads and park nodes along the pathway that serve as gateways into the trail system and double as public gathering places and neighborhood scale parks along the way. Street furnishings, amenities and signage reflect the historic characteristics of the City and remain consistent with the best aspects of recent streetscape and park improvements in the City.

What is the most significant planning issue currently facing the Kingston Greenline? What is the solution?
The Kingston Connectivity Project was funded through a grant awarded by The NYS Department of State. This grant allows for design and construction of this component of the multi-phase Greenline program. The challenge going forward is for the City to continue to pursue additional public and private grants to build upon the success of this first phase. Fortunately, the Kingston Greenline Conceptual Plan represents a significant investment in multi-modal community planning. Combined with implementation of the Kingston Connectivity Project the City is well positioned to compete successfully for additional grant-based funding sources.

In addition, the City recognizes that one of the most challenging planning issues is the connection of the Greenline on streets in a way that maintains the continuity and brandings of the trail design, is safe, and meets the needs of all street users.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be when it comes to building it?
The Kingston Point Rail Trail had a couple if interesting engineering challenges. The 250-foot long Hasbrouck Avenue tunnel is a unique structure in rail trail design. While structurally sound, the dark tunnel needed to be improved so that users would feel safe passing through this confined corridor. To minimize the tunnel length the ceiling will be removed for a 50 foot long section at the east end, opening the corridor to daylight. A lighting system has also been designed that will illuminate the tunnel and provide direct visibility across its length. The lighting design uses decorative light fixtures that project consistent down lighting. The lighting system will also project upward to create patterns of shade and light on the tunnel’s historic stone walls and barrel vault ceiling. The tunnel also required an engineered paving system and surface flow drainage that will keep the trail dry, even during heavy precipitation.

The current rail bed also includes three abandoned historic steel trestles adjacent to the Rondout Gardens Apartments. We were able to include renovation of two of the three bridges by engineering a new timber deck and railings. However, engineers determined that the third bridge as highly deteriorated and unsafe for trail use. For this reason, the trail will divert for now after the second trestle and ramp back down to street level. The City is planning to work with Saratoga Associates more on the final design to extend the trail past the third trestle so that the trail can continue to its next destination at the Trolley Museum. The next challenge will be connecting the trail from the Trolley Museum out to Kingston Point.

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Rondout Gardens Trailhead Design

Will you be collaborating with any local designers or artists on the project? Explain?
Saratoga Associates provided bike rack design specs to the O+Festival, which is facilitating an O+ Bike Rack Art Competition for the 2016 Festival.  The O+Festival was funded by an American Planning Association grant managed by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County through the Live Well Kingston coalition to develop the competition. The 2016 competition will be for the “Cornell Street Bike Rack.” Saratoga is incorporating locations for the bike racks into the street design. When O+ announces the winning bike rack, it will hopefully be produced locally and installed on Cornell Street, which is part of the Complete Streets hub of the Kingston Greenline.

Are there ways in which your design reflects the natural and cultural history of Kingston?
The design incorporates street furnishings including light fixtures, bollards, kiosks and signage that draw from the historic vernacular of the City. Opportunities exist to install interpretive stations along the trail route that highlight Kingston’s unique natural history and cultural heritage. The City will be working with the Trolley Museum of New York on the final design of the Trolley Trailhead. The Trolley Museum has expressed interest to incorporate kiosks for interpretation to include the story of public transit in Kingston.

How do you see the Greenline project affecting Kingston’s growth?
Kingston’s historic rail lines offer an extraordinary adaptive reuse opportunity for the community. The design and implementation of a trail network connecting residents and visitors to the Hudson River waterfront will raise the city’s profile as a livable, walkable community and a vibrant destination.

Not only do trails provide connections, they also become the lifeblood of communities. Each place where they intersect streets, nodes, and public spaces, they become opportunities for transformation, landscape restoration, and economic development.

What is your design approach for the various trailheads? Are they each unique or do they share some cohesive elements?
The Kingston Point Rail Trail includes trailheads at the Jansen/East Chester and Rondout Gardens access points. The trailheads are designed as small park nodes that highlight the trail gateway and double as public gathering places and neighborhood scale parks along the way. A small pocket park is also included where the rail trail crosses Delaware Avenue and Murray Street. This park takes advantage of a triangle shaped parcel at the intersection offering a mid-trail rest spot. Each trailhead/park uses the same design elements including pavers, lighting benches, bollards, kiosks and signage to maintain consistency throughout the corridor. These trailheads will not be built with the initial phase of construction, but the City will continue to seek funding to complete the trailheads. They recently submitted a Consolidated Funding Application for construction of the trailheads.

What comes next? What can people expect as the project continues
We expect that the plans for the Kingston Point Rail Trail will go out to bid this fall or early spring 2017. The City has created a new partnership with the Trolley Museum of New York. This partnership is essential to eventually extending the trail from its current planned terminus at Rondout Gardens all the way to the Trolley Museum and East Strand Street. From here it is an easy connection to the recently constructed pedestrian path along the trolley route to Kingston Point.

Over the longer term, the City, along with its community partners, will continue to pursue grant opportunities to implement other components of the Greenline Plan to progressively build the integrated and complete trail network throughout Kingston.