Saratoga County

Engineer: Geyser Road trail feasible

A long-planned walking and bicycling trail along Geyser Road moved a small step toward reality this

A long-planned walking and bicycling trail along Geyser Road moved a small step toward reality this week with the presentation of a feasibility study and a price estimate of $1.58 million.

The Southwest Neighborhood Association, which includes Geyser Road and the sprawling Geyser Crest neighborhood, has been discussing the need for a safe, off-road walking and bicycling trail on Geyser Road for more than five years.

The paved trail would extend nearly two miles from the Milton town line down Geyser Road to the Route 50 intersection.

“It would provide pedestrian and bicycle access to the city for this whole region,” said Devin Dal Pos, president of the Northwest Neighborhood Association.

The proposed multi-purpose trail would “provide a safe passage for kids who want to walk or bike” to the Saratoga Spa State Park, the Saratoga YMCA or Saratoga Springs High School, Dal Pos said.

Fred Mastroianni, an engineer with Greenman-Pedersen Inc. of Albany, presented a feasibility study for the trail at this week’s Saratoga Springs City Council meeting. He said the mostly off-road trail is feasible and would cost about $1.58 million.

The engineer said state and federal grants are generally available to pay for a significant portion of such trail projects.

He said the trail would have a 10-foot-wide asphalt surface and run in the right-of-way off Geyser Road up to Cady Hill Road, where the bike trail would then run about one-half mile along the side of the road with a sidewalk on one side of the road ending at Route 50.

He said the trail would include at least four crosswalks. He suggested these be marked with electronic crosswalk signs that can be activated by pedestrians wishing to cross.

City Supervisors Matt Veitch and Joanne Yepsen have been working with the association to move the trail project along.

Veitch said the Ball Metal Container Corp. has donated $10,000 to the project and state Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, was able to obtain a member item of $25,000 several years ago for the project.

Local banks and other businesses have also donated money. Veitch said this is how the association has paid the Greenman and Pedersen engineering firm to do the study.

Veitch, who lives off Geyser Road, said he started realizing the need for the off-road pedestrian trail after he had his first child. He said the traffic was so fast and heavy on Geyser Road that he decided to take his car to a nearby city park on Geyser rather than walk his child across the road in a walker.

Veitch said the next step is a survey of the right-of-way along Geyser Road, which is a county road. Mastroianni said unofficial surveying lines showed that most of the off-road trail would be in the county right-of-way and not on private property.

But a professional survey of the 1.8-mile trail distance is needed. Veitch said the Greenman-Pedersen study cost about $20,000. He hopes the survey could be done by this fall. The engineering design work on the trail could be done over the winter so the project is “shovel ready” and may be eligible for state and federal grant money.

Molly Gagne, the first president of the Southwest Neighborhood Association, said 20 percent of the city’s population lives in the Geyser Crest area.

“We would like to be connected [to the city],” Gagne said about the need for the trail.

She added that the proposed trail would also connect to new sidewalks the town of Milton is building along Geyser Road so walkers and bicycle riders could take the off-road trail to the sidewalks and shop at stores in Milton. Gagne said Saratoga PLAN (Preserving Land And Nature), a nonprofit agency, is helping the neighborhood association by holding and managing the contributions toward the trail, among other things.

Gagne said it’s unfortunate that it has taken so long to move the trail plan along.

Veitch said the city, which is currently facing a budget shortfall, has paid nothing toward the project so far. He hopes state and federal grants will cover almost the entire cost of the multi-use trail.

Categories: News

Leave a Reply