Letter: Make scenic Route 299 West safe for cyclists & pedestrians


The newly paved shoulder, just before Butterville Rd. (Photo by Will Dendis)

Thanks to all of you who signed our petition on Change.org (http://chn.ge/2dqCkSE)! As a testament to Gaby O’Shea’s indomitable spirit, we far surpassed our goal of 500 signatures. More than 2,100 people are demanding safer conditions for cyclists and pedestrians on Route 299 West in New Paltz and Gardiner so that none of us will have to hear about— or experience — the type of trauma and injuries that Gaby has suffered.

And our collective efforts have clearly paid off! Although Ulster County turned down our demand for buffered bicycle lanes (securing the right-of-way for six-foot-wide bicycle lanes would be a long and costly process), they did pave shoulders from the Carmine Liberta Bridge up to Butterville Road — and they did this in just two days! We have been asking for this work to be done for more than ten years, and after a strong public outcry, the paving was completed in less than 48 hours. Incredible!


But the work is not done and neither are our efforts. Ulster County still needs to pave shoulders the whole way up to Route 44/55 – a section of which includes the stretch where Gaby was hit. County officials have said that this work will be completed in 2017, and we need to hold them accountable for their promise. So if you have not done so already, please call, e-mail or write to Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and: (1) thank him for moving so quickly to pave the shoulders up to Butterville Road; and (2) tell him how important it is that the shoulder work be finished in 2017, as promised. Here’s Ulster County Executive Mike Hein’s contact information: (845) 340-3800; exec@co.ulster.ny.us; 6th Floor County Office Building, 244 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401.

Want to get more involved in this effort? Please join us at Water Street Market in downtown New Paltz on Sunday, October 23 from noon until 4 p.m. for Bicycle Awareness Day! We will be promoting greater respect between motorists and cyclists/pedestrians, and we will have letter-writing tables set up to respectfully demand the completion of the shoulders on Route 299 West. All proceeds from Bicycle Awareness Day will go to defray Gaby O’Shea’s astronomical medical expenses.

Thank you, once again, for honoring Gaby by getting involved in this important campaign to make our roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Please continue to stay informed and involved.


Peter Kaufman
Chair, New Paltz Bicycle Pedestrian Committee

There is one comment

  1. Town Town

    Agree – the same short-term solution of shoulder paving needs to happen up and over Mohonk down to RT. 6 outside of High Falls. But as noted, this is short-term.

    I do want to say…however…that all to often when there are pairs or groups of cyclists they cluster or clump into the traffic travel lanes and it is a bit of a lopsided expectation for vehicles traveling the posted speed limit in our increasing local traffic to be able to stop suddenly or pass cyclists with enough room for safety – drivers are often faced with oncoming trucks and cars and have to make very quick and often dangerous decisions. (The same is true for New Paltz Crosswalks…but that’s for another time).

    There is a shared responsibility on our roads, and both constituents in this discussion share some of the blame and the burden. I’d like to also see the local and regional cycling community get a GoFundMe page started and help to raise the funds, invest their personal time, physical energy, in funding bike lanes and even building and maintaining those bike lanes.

    Similarly, I’d like to see the entire New Paltz Gateway discussion grow up and move beyond fighting a CVS/5 Guys and actually plan for alternative transportation right of way by getting developers and community activists to help fun a seperate ped/bike trail from Ohioville Road
    to Putt Corners – and as a part of that fund-raise to build a ped/bike metal truss bridge across the Thruway (similar to the one that crosses Mohonk Mtn road on the western side of the ridge). Too many of us have to walk along side busy traffic, have no safe crossing over the Thruway and making a $ contribution from all development proposals part of the source to fund this.

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