Plans for rail-trail link to be presented in New Paltz

The completed trail will link the Wallkill Valley and Hudson Valley rail trails. Clockwise from top left: Walkway Over the Hudson, the rail trail bridge over the Wallkill in New Paltz, bicyclists on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in Lloyd, and a view of the ridge from Springtown Rd. Photos by Will Dendis except top-right, by Katy Silberger

Plans for the last leg connecting the Wallkill Valley and Hudson Valley rail trails will be unveiled by the state Department of Transportation Tuesday, May 15 in New Paltz. When complete, the link will allow bicyclists and pedestrians to travel freely from Walkway Over the Hudson to and from New Paltz, Kingston and Gardiner.

The meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the New Paltz Community Center, 3 Veterans Drive, New Paltz. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the project, and the public is encouraged to drop in any time during the open house and review the preliminary plans, ask questions, and provide input.

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Part of the new trail link runs along an old rail bed along New Paltz Rd. (Will Dendis)

 

South Riverside Rd. in Lloyd is closed… (Julie O’Connor)

You can see why! A portion of the road was removed and a tunnel is being constructed. The concrete forms are visible on this photo. (Will Dendis)

The state, county and town of Lloyd are each handling part of the link. Lloyd has a .7-mile stretch of trail from Tony Williams Park to the area where New Paltz Rd. meets Rt. 299, near Highland Fire Station #2. From there, the county takes over for 1.25 miles, to the intersection of South St. and Rt. 299, near Lowe’s. The path on this section follows the rail bed for the old Penn Central Railroad where possible, and the right-of-way along Rt. 299 where not.

From South St., the state will take over, with a new trail running alongside Rt. 299, and a street-route through the denser part of New Paltz to the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, which runs north and south along the Wallkill River. The exact route will be announced at the May 15 meeting, according to Department of Transportation spokeswoman Gina DiSarro.

The project is part of the 750-mile Empire State Trail, which will stretch from New York City to the Canadian border near Lake Champlain, and from Albany to Buffalo. It’s scheduled for completion in 2020.

The Hudson Valley portion of the trail is called the Hudson Valley Greenway Trail. Here’s a map:

The light-green portion under the “Hudson Valley Rail Trail” label is now under construction and the violet portion will be discussed at the May 15 meeting.

A separate project, also currently under construction, will link the Mohonk Preserve with the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in New Paltz. The six-mile “River to Ridge” trail is being built by the Open Space Institute, and is scheduled for completion this year.

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