The fate of the entire Trans-Hudson project rests on access to the Village of New Paltz’s water system

The Trans-Hudson project at the Putt Corners intersection in New Paltz is in the same position as the Walmart proposed in the 1990s: the fate of the entire project rests on whether access to the Village’s water system will be granted or not. In a letter to trustees, Daniel Schniedwind suggested using this leverage to get the plan changed, largely for the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. Instead, trustees are sending their own letter to state transportation officials, asking them to take another look. Both Town and Village elected officials have frequently made comments at public meetings about the lack of response to transportation concerns at the state level.

What Schniedwind and board members agree upon is that there are problems with the current site plan. While the cycling portion of the Empire State Trail will be routed through the back of the property and out onto North Putt Corners Road, the pedestrian alternative is along Route 299 into the heart of the Village. That’s also a route that cyclists may choose if they have a destination elsewhere. An entrance into the site off of 299 will involve people in automobiles and people not in automobiles crossing paths, resulting in worries about the most dangerous intersection in town becoming even more dangerous.

Related to this is how the EST is plotted on the Trans-Hudson site plan. It runs through a buffer that many people don’t think should be disturbed at all. In writing that clause of the gateway zoning, planning Susan Blickstein purportedly intended it to provide protection from the sound and air pollution coming off the Thruway; that was a major source of concern from the moment this project was first proposed some eight years ago. That intent wasn’t worded clearly enough in the code that was passed for building inspector Stacy Delarede to forbid sticking an eight-foot paved surface with mowed lawn on either side in the middle of it, however, and building inspectors are the only people with the authority to interpret zoning code. Schniedwind notes in the letter that the number of parking spaces will have to be reduced, making room to reroute the trail. Presumably removing the 299 entrance would also increase flexibility in locating the trail.

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