Sunday, September 24, 2017

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Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail project to begin


Proposed Fjord Connector

COLD SPRING – Construction of the Breakneck Connector is expected to begin later this fall aimed at improving visitor access to Breakneck Ridge from Metro-North to Route 9D.

“The Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail effort has always been envisioned as more than just a trail. It’s really a comprehensive congestion management initiative to help address critical safety needs and safeguard the quality of life and natural environment in the Hudson Highlands,” said Amy Kacala, senior community planner with Scenic Hudson, the project manager who heads a public-private coalition of 16 volunteer groups, nonprofits, state agencies and municipalities that have been working on the project since 2008.

Growing concern in the local community, particularly Cold Spring, initiated the project. The issues included the safety of pedestrians walking to trailheads along Route 9D, a 55-mile-per-hour state highway with little to no shoulder; high and growing use of all trails, but particularly Breakneck Ridge as social media helped spread word of the hike; and parking congestion along Route 9D, where cars squeeze in ways dangerous to both pedestrians and oncoming traffic.

The Breakneck Connector will take steps to address these and other concerns. The project will:

• Create a pedestrian and bicycle path connection between the Breakneck Ridge Metro-North train stop and the Breakneck Ridge trailhead to keep pedestrians out of the roadway.
• Replace the Breakneck Ridge train platforms with ADA-accessible platforms that will decrease the time hikers need to exit the train, avoiding delays on the Hudson Line caused by the current platforms.
• Demarcate on-street parking and emergency vehicle staging along Route 9D in the half-mile section north of the Breakneck tunnel, and eliminating nose-in and other dangerous parking conditions.
• Pave and stripe the current dirt parking area, including designated space for three emergency vehicles, bathroom facilities and a trolley stop.
• Reduce the speed limit on Route 9D from 55 to 40 mph and add enhanced pedestrian crossings and other features to improve safety.
• Add a new welcome center for NY-NJ Trail Conference trail orientations at the Breakneck Ridge trailhead, including new trailhead signs and other wayfinding.


 

 

 


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