The Albany-Hudson Electric Trail

Albany Hudson Electric Trail Kinderhook segment

One of the photos from the project presentation showing a portion of the proposed route in Kinderhook.

The proposed plan for the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail -- which aims to connect Rensselaer and (almost) Hudson via a (mostly) shared-used bike path -- is out. And there's a public meeting about it Tuesday evening in East Greenbush.

Here are a few details...

What is it?

The Albany-Hudson Electric Trail would run 35 miles (roughly) along the path of an old trolley track from downtown Rensselaer to just north of Hudson. Blurbage from the project book (pdf p. 6):

The proposed trail route for the AHET Trail runs through two counties, passing through eight towns, two cities, and three villages in Upstate New York. The proposed route primarily follows the alignment of the historic Albany-Hudson Electric Trolley line. Beginning in the City of Rensselaer, the AHET Trail starts on Broadway near the Dunn Memorial Bridge and ends at Stottville Park in Stottville, just north of the City of Hudson. In areas where there are substantial challenges to building the trail off-road, a number of on-road routes have been proposed and evaluated as alternatives. In total, the proposed trail has 25 miles of off-road routes and 10 miles of on-road facilities.
This plan proposes two cross-sections for the shared-use path portions of the AHET Trail: A twelve-foot wide asphalt trail to be used in the urban/suburban areas of the alignment where higher trail use is expected as well as in locations which present a risk of erosion; and a ten-foot wide stone dust trail for the more rural and less heavily used sections.

The corridor is owned by National Grid -- power lines run along it now -- and it's indicated it will allow Hudson River Valley Greenway to build the path along the right of way. (National Grid will retain ownership.)

The trail would also serve as a portion of the planned Empire State Trail, the 750-mile multi-use path that the Cuomo admin would like to stretch from NYC to the Adirondacks and from Albany to Buffalo.

Map

Albany Hudson Electric Trail draft map

Timeline

The timeline laid out in the project book:
+ Project planning and design would be finished in October 2018
+ Construction start April 2019
+ Path opens November 2020

Cost

The estimated cost for the project is $35-$40 million (pdf p. 8). There's state money in play right now because of the Empire State Trail, though local governments would be responsible for maintenance costs. [TU]

Public meetings

There are two public meetings to discuss the project scheduled for this week:

+ Tuesday, August 8 at Columbia High School in East Greenbush, 6-8 pm.

+ Thursday, August 10 at Ichabod Crane High School in Kinderhook, 6-8 pm.

You can also submit comments online.

The slide deck for those meetings is embedded above. It includes photos of some of the points along the proposed route.

Connecting it all together

One quick thought: If the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail does end up being built, there would be three bike/hike trails that more or less intersect at the Albany/Rensselaer riverfront: the AHET, the Mohawk-Hudson Bike/Hike Trail, and the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail.

That would make some sort of bike/pedestrian-friendly crossing for the Hudson River even more valuable. Something to think about for the Livingston Avenue Bridge replacement.

Trolleys?

capital district trolley system 1911

[From Trolley Trips Through New England 1915, via Fordham University Libraries Digital Collections]

A trolley from Albany to Hudson? Yep. The greater Capital Region once had an extensive trolley system that stretched across the region. That map above is from 1911.

The line that once rain along this right of way operated from 1899 to 1929. You can still see signs of it today -- maybe you've spotted the small buildings that look like they should be next rail lines in places such as North Chatham or Kinderhook.

Earlier

+ The plan to connect two major bike paths at the Albany waterfront

+ High traffic spots on the area's walk/bike trails

Comments

Ahh, trolley lines. Doesn't it make you a bit sick to your stomach to know that it was potentially EASIER to get around without a car in this area literally a century ago? From a quick glance at the map, I'd be able to make my home to work commute as well as trips to the gym and the grocery store by trolley. I'd probably not have purchased a car.

How much of the trail is next to / under the bigger supply lines that crackle, pop, and make you get leukemia?

Let's ensure that trail gets connected to the waterfront - and from there across the river so it's connected to the statewide network that extends north and west!

Justin: thanks. But it is a government report...

Ace - throw out the cell, don't eat microwaved food, don't listen to the radio, stop watching TV, don't use an EZ-pass, don't shop at a store with any electric security, don't drive, and for god sakes don't use a PC!!!!

How can a trail possibly cost $40M??

RE: "Let's ensure that trail gets connected to the waterfront - and from there across the river so it's connected to the statewide network that extends north and west!"

Yeah right... $40 million for a trail and it will end a the Dunn Bridge where cyclists supposedly have to walk their bikes across the river.

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