Practically every week, there’s news about the progress of the Empire State Trail network, with broken links in the mid-Hudson being reconnected. The City of Kingston, with most of its original rail infrastructure still in active use, has lagged behind the rest of the region somewhat, in terms of piecing together a coherent rail trail system. Some of the long-planned Greenline will always have to utilize “shared streets” through parts of the city; but great strides forward are happening nonetheless.
A milestone in that process will be marked on Friday, September 6 at 4 p.m., when Kingston mayor Steve Noble and other dignitaries cut the ribbon for Phase #1 of the Kingston Point Rail Trail, then lead a brief tour. This 1.11-mile paved public path stretches from East Chester Street at Jansen Avenue to Garraghan Drive and 9W at Rondout Gardens, using a restored 19th-century railroad tunnel beneath the 9W arterial to create an automobile-free connection for pedestrians and cyclists between Midtown and the Rondout waterfront. The opening ceremony will take place at the Jansen/East Chester entrance. Remaining projects on this segment of the Greenline – not yet open to the public as of presstime – which include installing a raised sidewalk across Delaware Avenue, paving additional sections, finishing trailhead construction and planting flower and shrubs, are expected to be completed by the first week in September.
The City’s grants office recently announced that it has applied for $850,000 in funding from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to construct Phase #2 of the Kingston Point Rail Trail, which will pass behind the Trolley Museum to the East Strand, creating a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists paralleling the trolley tracks that lead out to Kingston Point. Funding award announcements are expected in December.
Plans for future phases in the development of the greater Kingston Greenline are most easily grasped by viewing the map downloadable at www.kingston-ny.gov/kingstongreenline. Currently in the planning and design phases are pathways that will eventually link up to the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail at Route 32 and the O & W Rail Trail at Route 209, as well as making connections in Midtown via Broadway, Greenkill Avenue and the Catskill Mountain Railroad right-of-way. It’s going to take several more years for it all to fall into place; but in time, the Greenline will become a hub for non-motorized transportation and tourism from four different directions in the county, including the Empire State Trail.
Kingston Point Rail Trail Phase #1 Grand Opening, Friday, Sept. 6, 4 p.m., free, East Chester St./Jansen Ave., Kingston