SARATOGA SPRINGS – The 2.8-mile Geyser Road Trail officially opened Thursday, the culmination of an effort that began 15 years ago with Geyser Crest residents and was subsequently taken up by the city. The city had been looking to increase off-road recreational opportunities and alternative ways to come downtown.
The ribbon-cutting at Veterans Memorial Park was an Earth Day celebration of the $3.8 million project, which is the product of years of planning to design, secure funding and rights-of-way, and construct. The bulk of construction on the 8-foot-wide trail, which runs on the north side of Geyser Road from the Milton town line to state Route 50, was completed last year. Construction began at the end of 2019. Mayor Meg Kelly, the third mayor to work on the plans over the last decade, said it was a major achievement. It is open to pedestrians, bicyclists and runners, providing an alternative to using the shoulder of Geyser Road, which is traveled by more than 5,500 vehicles per day.
“One of my goals coming in as mayor was to bring this over the finishing line, and we’re doing it,” Kelly, who is not seeking re-election after four years in office, said at a City Council meeting on Tuesday.
“In the past months, more and more people are choosing to exercise outdoors to stay safe while being active and connecting to nature,” Kelly said in a statement issued ahead of the ribbon-cutting. “The city is proud of our commitment to improve healthy recreation and transportation opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.”
This trail creates a safe space for residents to go outside with their families and walk, bike, snowshoe, or run to Veterans Memorial Park, the Saratoga Spa State Park, and downtown with its variety of shopping and dining venues. We are so excited to celebrate its opening with the community.”
The Route 50 end of the trail is at the entrance to Saratoga Spa State Park, close to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The Capital District Transportation Authority will be installing a new bus stop as part of improvements being made around the intersection of Geyser Road and Route 50.
Geyser Road is used by about 5,500 vehicles per day west of the Grande Industrial Park, and more than 11,000 vehicles in the short section between the industrial park and Route 50, which includes a bridge over railroad tracks. Much of the added traffic near the industrial park is heavy truck traffic.
The amount of traffic, along with the railroad tracks separating Geyser Crest from the rest of the city, prompted residents to call for construction of an off-road trail for them to get to Saratoga Spa State Park and the rest of the city.
“It looks great out there. I’ve ridden it several times and it’s fantastic,” said Saratoga County Supervisor Matthew Veitch, who lives in Geyser Crest and was among the earliest public advocates for the trail, even before he first ran for elected office in 2007.
Alane Ball Chinian, regional director of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said the state developed about 1,000 feet of new trail to link the Geyser Road/Route 50 intersection with the state park’s trail network, with an investment of $125,000.
Funding came primarily through the city, state Department of Transportation-administered grants, and the Capital District Transportation Committee.
The trail is one of the early pieces to be developed of the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail, which when completed will have the entire city circled by 23 miles of mostly off-road recreation trail.
The Saratoga County Department of Public Works, meanwhile, is going to be repaving the city section of Geyser Road this spring, with work expected to be completed before the end of May.
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Saratoga County