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Uncle Sam Trail extension celebrated

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Uncle Sam Trail extension celebrated

TROY — City and county officials held a ribbon-cutting Wednesday to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the Uncle Sam Trail extension, which effectively lengthens a preexistent, underutilized bikeway in Lansingburgh and North Central more than three miles south to the Menands Bridge.

The new route deploys a variety of on- and off-road bicycle infrastructure, ranging from sharrows (painted arrows that remind motorists to share the road with cyclists) to two-way lanes lined with removable bollards.

“With this connection, people in the city of Troy will be able to access the Watervliet-Albany trail without having to put the bike on the car and schlep it over to Watervliet, unpack it, and ride down,” Mayor Patrick Madden said.

Planned for more than a decade, the partly federally funded project “is a terrific example of citizen engagement,” the mayor added, specifically mentioning former TAP director Joe Fama, Collar City Ramble organizer Jim Lewis, Transport Troy, the Troy Bike Rescue, Capital Roots (formerly known as Community Gardens), the Complete Streets Advisory Board, and individual cycling enthusiasts. “Committed residents working hand-in-hand with the city administration brought this to fruition today.”

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin also attended the ceremony, taking the opportunity to tout his support for a bike trail that would connect Troy to the city of Rensselaer (and perhaps farther, to Castleton-on-Hudson and Schodack, he said).

Asked after the ceremony about future intentions, planning commissioner Steve Strichman said immediate next steps include Community Development Block Grant-funded renovations on short stretches of the route on First and Second streets in South Troy and route construction delayed by the ongoing seawall repairs and new hotel project near the Hedley building.

Strichman said he’d also like to focus on extending the riverfront portion of the trail all the way north to Middleburgh St. The route currently has cyclists sharing River St. with motorists between Middleburgh and the Flanigan Square building, where it turns and travels along the Hudson.

“There’s a couple of little obstacles in there, but most of the owners are agreeable,” Strichman said.

The city is also eyeing a “short riverfront trail” between 123rd St. and the Waterford Bridge, the planning commissioner said.

“The flat area of Troy is just ideally suited to ride a bike,” Mayor Madden told The Alt after the ceremony. “It’s really important, I think, if the geography is right…that we take advantage of this and build as many bike lanes and/or bike pathways that we can so people can enjoy the city, explore new areas—maybe even commute to Albany.”

A “Unity Ride” of the now-officially-open route, organized by the Troy Bike Rescue, is scheduled for this (Thursday) evening. Interested parties should meet at Riverfront Park at 5:30 P.M.

Below is the Troy Bicycle Connections Plan (Jan. 2018), a document prepared by Parks & Trails New York for the city of Troy and the Capital District Transportation Committee.

 

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