Bicycling in many parts of Saugerties isn’t for the faint of heart. A new program aims to make it easier.
Six new bike racks and 17 road signs have been installed along Saugerties’ three bike routes through a partnership with the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Road markings depicting a bicycle silhouette with arrows (called “sharrows”) are also planned for the one of the community’s three bike routes, but they’re on hold for summer repaving.
The program is being funded with $10,000 from the New York State Health Department. There is no local contribution. There are no plans for city-style dedicated bike lanes or road-widening, just signage urging motorists to share the road.
A joint town and village committee, the Saugerties Transportation Advisory Council, had the choice to focus on bicycle or pedestrian improvements. It chose the former.
The council was in existence previously. This new initiative brought it back to life, with many new members and regular meetings. The council is now doing an inventory of Saugerties’ various building projects with eye toward making recommendations concerning transportation. We can expect to see it pop up during the review process for projects public and private in the years ahead, making suggestions about how transportation for pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchairs, public transit, and other alternatives can be addressed.
Kristen Wilson, senior educator for the Cooperative Extension’s Healthy Communities, has been working with the Saugerties group. She’s impressed.
“One thing that Saugerties really has going for it is it has a very enthusiastic crew of people who are coming to meetings regularly,” she said. “They’re excited, they want to make a difference, and not just for bicyclists, they’re looking at parking issues, they’re looking a pedestrian issues, they’re looking at safe routes to school. It’s a good group.”
The 14-member council is chaired by two Partition St. business owners: Rae Stang of Lucky Chocolates and Matt Gleason of Brine Barrel Pickles.
Wilson will be working with the council through September. Her job has been to help get it up and running as a functioning advisory board. She thinks it’s already there. Like other town and village advisory boards, the council’s role will be to make recommendations to the town and village boards, and their planning boards.
Wilson has worked on similar projects in Kingston and other local communities. It’s not a decision-making body.
Comparing Saugerties with Kingston, she said the village is a better environment for bicyclists and pedestrians than the city, but the town has many rural roads that lack wide shoulders. Bicycling on them can be scary. In Saugerties, many of the main roads are county and state roads, so local officials don’t have the power to implement new infrastructure projects themselves.
But at this point, Saugerties is a long way from undertaking a major project. When it comes to transportation infrastructure, notes Wilson, $10,000 is a drop in the bucket.
The three bike routes are:
(A) Historic Village Route: Includes the Kiersted House, the public library, Lighthouse, Seamon Park, Cantine Field, Roger Donlon Veterans Park and Tina Chorvas Park. Three miles. This route will include the sharrows.
(B) Hudson River Route: Includes scenic views of the river. From the village, it proceeds to Malden and Bristol Beach on the Hudson, then heads west to Kings Highway, looping back to the village via Malden Tpke. and Sparling and Canoe Hill roads. 14 miles.
(C) Mountain View Route: From the village, it goes all the way to Blue Mountain Rd. and back. 18.7 miles.