South End Bikeway Link

south end bikeway proposal diagram clip

Here's an interesting idea: The South End Bikeway Link -- a proposal to connect Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail with the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and Albany waterfront.

A coalition of local bike, rail trail, and neighborhood group is supporting the idea. And there's a public meeting this evening (Wednesday) at the Albany Public Library main branch at 6 pm to share info and rally support.

Press release blurbage:

The proposed bike link would extend the existing Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail further south and tie into the new Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail. This much-anticipated "Rails to Trails" route will stretch 9.3 scenic miles to the Village of Voorheesville from the South End. The link will be wildly popular with bicyclists, runners, and walkers when the final Bethlehem-South Albany segment opens in late October 2015.
South Enders will be able to reach the Albany Corning Preserve and the amphitheater via the bikeway along Broadway. The link also provides them off-road access to the Rail Trail, to the Normanskill Gorge under the Thruway Bridge, and to stores in Delmar and Elsmere Plaza. Adventurous through-riders could access the Mohawk Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, cycle north up the Hudson River Estuary towards Troy, reach Rotterdam Junction on the Mohawk River, and even journey the 380-mile Erie Canalway Trail to Buffalo! ...
The Task Force calls for SEBL improvements to be ready in time for the Rail Trail's Fall 2015 inauguration. There is a common concern that trail users - absent the protected link - would have to contend with motorists on busy commuter Route 32 [South Pearl Street]. A key part of the link is the conversion of part of I-787's Exit 2 northbound service lane that boarders the Port of Albany's Kenwood Rail Yard.

Here's the project's Flickr stream, which includes a bunch of images and diagrams explaining the idea.

Zooming out a bit, this bikeway proposal is part of a larger set of ideas/hopes to reshape the I-787 corridor in Albany. At the direction of a group of local governmental orgs, the engineering firm CHA Consulting is currently studying how 787 could be rebuilt to be less of barrier between the river and Albany.

Bike link proposed route:

The South End Bike Link would start at the rail trail's parking lot on Rt. 32/South Pearl Street. "The Link" intersects with Albany's South End Ezra Prentice Homes and Mt. Hope Drive neighborhoods. The route cuts between the Kenwood Rail yards and I-787's over-built Exit 2 northbound service road and crosses the CSX port entry rail line at Church Street. From the rail crossing, it runs to Island Creek Park on the Hudson with its 12-car parking lot and then heads directly up Broadway behind a barrier past the U-Haul Building to the USS Slater dock. At that point, the City of Albany is constructing an $8 million multi-use path as part of its Albany Corning Preserve Transportation enhancements. This project, funded and underway, includes a "Complete Streets" makeover of Quay St. along the edge of Corning Preserve and then runs the multi-use path to Colonie St. where it joins the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Path and the Erie Canalway Trail.

Earlier on AOA: A walkable Livingston Avenue Bridge

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I'd love to see a WPA style painted mural there that celebrates the communities between Albany and Voorheesville that the trail connects, with a nod to the different kinds of transportation (train, now bike, feet) that trail has supported.

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